Blancpain GT World Challenge: Wins for Lamborghini, Audi at Misano
Orange1 FFF Racing’s #563 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 and Belgian Audi Club Team WRT’s #2 Audi R8 LMS were the victorious cars in two one-hour races of the Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe’s round at World Circuit Misano Marco Simoncelli.
The victory in Saturday’s race went to Lamborghini’s Andrea Caldarelli and Marco Mapelli. On Sunday, the winners were Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts.
In the first race of the weekend that took place under the lights on Saturday evening, Andrea Caldarelli and Marco Mapelli secured the first win on European soil for the Chinese team Orange1 FFF Racing but also secured a celebration for the Italian brand in the Italian round of the championship. On a way to victory, Caldarelli started the race from P2 and immediately attacked pole-sitter Charles Weerts in an Audi. Caldarelli finally took the lead in the third lap, staying in front until he handed the car to Marco Mapelli.
Behind the leading Lamborghini, Weerts spun into the gravel and caused the Safety Car intervention. Later in the race, the #88 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG progressed to the second place after Vince Abril handed a car to Raffaele Marciello. One more Safety Car intervention interrupted race after Markus Winkelhock’s accident. At the restart, Mapelli defended the lead from Marciello’s attacks and took the victory. Behind the leading duo, Black Falcon’s #4 Mercedes-AMG crossed the finish line in the third place, driven by Maro Engel. His partner was Luca Stolz.
In the second race, on Sunday afternoon, Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts secured the first win of the season for Audi. The 18-year-old Weerts became the youngest overall race winner in Blancpain GT Series history – beating the record set by teammate Dries Vanthoor at the Hungaroring in 2017.
Vanthoor started the race from P2, behind Raffaele Marciello in the #88 Mercedes. The Italian managed to hold the lead and to build a gap of two seconds, which was wiped when the safety car was deployed to allow marshals to clear debris from the circuit. Unfortunately for Akka ASP team, they had problems in the pits, not only losing a lead but dropping to P23. The two leaders stopped at the same time, but while there were no problems for the WRT squad, the French team ruined Marciello’s effort and his co-driver Vincent Abril returned to track at the back of the field.
The #25 Sainteloc Racing Audi had moved into the second spot, with Simon Gachet chasing leader Charles Weerts. Gachet took over a car from Christopher Haase. With nine minutes left, Andrea Caldarelli made a move for second place on Gachet and after that, the first three positions remained unchanged.
Behind the leading trio, the #4 Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG took fourth. After two podiums in the first round at Brands Hatch, including one victory, Luca Stolz and Maro Engel collected valuable points at Misano to stay in the championship lead.
Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe will return to action in two weeks at Zandvoort. Before this, many of the drivers who competed at Misano will head straight for Belgium to contest two days of official testing (2/3 July) ahead of the season’s marquee event: the Total 24 Hours of Spa.
Photos: SRO/Patrick Hecq, Dirk Bogaerts,