The Fanatec GT2 European Series title fight is set to reach boiling point this weekend, 16-17 September, as the penultimate round of the season plays out at Circuit Ricard Tormo in Valencia, Spain.
The grid returns fresh from its summer break after a thrilling last double-header outing at Spa-Francorchamps in July, which only served to intensify both the Pro-Am and Am class title fights.
Heading into the penultimate round, just 12 points represents the biggest advantage on offer to the Am class leader. The Pro-Am points table is even closer, with three drivers tied for first and only eight points separating the top two driver pairings, whilst 24 points – less than a race win – covers the top three pairings.
That’s all without taking account of the compulsory drop scores, where each entry must subtract the lowest scoring event from their season’s points total, which is bound to throw a few curveballs into the mix.
With just four races left to settle the 2022 champions, the field now face a fresh challenge in Spain. Set in a stadium, allowing views of the entire track, Circuit Ricard Tormo will be the perfect venue to appreciate the roar of the modern era Fanatec GT2 European Series cars.
All tied up for Pro-Am lead
The True Racing by Reiter Engineering crew of Stefan Rosina and Filip Sladecka did a good job of upsetting the status-quo last time out in Spa with a pair of hard-fought victories in the #15 KTM X-BOW.
That performance promoted Stefan Rosina to the top of the Pro-Am standings, to share the class lead with PK Carsport’s Nicolas Saelens and Stienes Longin. Sladecka, having joined Rosina from the second round in Austria, sits second heading into the penultimate battle of the season.
Saelens and Longin were still in the thick of the battle in Belgium, emerging with a double podium haul of second and third-place finishes. The #81 sister Audi had a harder time, with a late-race puncture and subsequent pitstop penalty contributing to Peter Guelinckx and Bert Longin’s lowest point-scoring event of the season so far.
Buoyed by an historic first win in Misano, the Brabham Automotive Factory Racing duo of Kevin Weeda and Anders Fjordbach notched up a double podium point scoring weekend, with second and third places at Spa bumping them up the order. They now lie two points ahead of the LP Racing Audi duo of Michael Vergers and Aurelijus Rusteika, who remain a threat to steal top points from the title contenders.
Adding to the tight mid-field fight, SRO Motorsports Group Founder and CEO Stéphane Ratel and LP Racing Team Principal Luca Pirri also team up for a third time this season.
Hassid holds strong in Am
Henry Hassid has led the Am class battle since the second round at the Red Bull Ring but has so far been unable to pull out any more than the current 12-point advantage in the LP Racing Audi. A fourth win of the season at Spa helped to edge out that advantage from second-placed Gianluca Giorgi, who took race two honours in Belgium.
With the Ebimotors Porsche entry forced to sit out this weekend, Valencia could well be Hassid’s opportunity to make a breakaway for the title. His LP Racing stablemate, Leonardo Gorini, however, could be a threat to those plans. The duo had a ding-dong battle in round four, Gorini’s brace of second places moving the Porsche driver up from fifth to third, 38 points adrift of Hassid.
Elia Erhart holds steady in fourth after adding another podium to his tally with Michael Doppelmayr, who sits sixth having joined the #18 LP Racing Audi from the third round.
Separating the teammates, just two points behind Erhart is True Racing by Reiter Engineering’s Hubert Trunkenpolz and Klaus Angerhofer. With two podiums already on the board, the #17 KTM X-BOW duo will be looking for a return to the top three this weekend.
Sehdi Sarmini and Kris Rosenberger also join the list of potential podium contenders following a promising start to their partnership, and a best result of fourth, in the #16 KTM X-BOW at Spa.
For its penultimate outing of the season, the Fanatec GT2 European Series joins its sister championship and final round of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS Sprint Cup in Valencia.
The GT2 action gets underway on Friday 16 September, with one-hour practice sessions at 11:10 and 14:40, ahead of qualifying from 17:15. Racing proper gets underway on Saturday, with 50-minute races at 11:20 and 17:20 CEST.
Source. SRO Motorsports Group
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