Can Caldarelli and Mapelli Extend Series Lead In the Dutch Dunes?
The 2019 Blancpain GT Series returns to Circuit Zandvoort, Netherlands for Round Six and the third weekend of the Blancpain GT World Europe, a series that has produced some sparkling competition since the season opened at Brands Hatch in May.
Currently leading the overall Blancpain GT Series is the #563 Orange 1 FFF Racing Team pairing of Team Principal Andrea Caldarelli and Marco Mapelli, the Italian duo sitting 18 points ahead of the #4 BLACK FALCON crew of Maro Engel and Luca Stolz.
The two crews are evenly matched, both having one victory so far in the season and the #563 pairing having three second-placed finishes and one third place while the BLAK FALCON duo have secured one second place and two third-place finishes.
Qualifying results also show the two pairings to be evenly matched with the #563 crew having secured six top-six starts over the season with the #4 pairing having started in the top six five times, Stolz and Engel having taken pole for Race One at Brands Hatch in May.
In the overall World Challenge Europe standings the German duo hold a six-point lead over Marco Mapelli and Andrea Caldarelli so there will be a lot on the line at the race in the dunes.
Nico Bastian, driver of the #89 AKKA ASP Team Mercedes-AMG GT3 he shares with Thomas Neubauer, currently the Silver Cup drivers standings, both overall and in the World Challenge Europe series. The 29-year-old German driver has enjoyed a stellar season in 2019 with wins at Monza, Brands Hatch twice, Circuit Paul Ricard and Misano. Bastian currently has a 22.5-point advantage at the head of the overall drivers standings with AKKA ASP teammate Timur Boguslavskiy in second place on 109 points while he and Neubauer also lead the World Challenge Europe Silver drivers standings on 57.5 points.
The Pro-Am drivers standings are close with AKKA ASP Team’s Jim Pla heading the table on 76.5 points, 9.5 points ahead of the #52 AF Corse Ferrari F488 GT3 pairing of Andrea Bertolini and Louis Machiels. Both pairings have had up-and-down seasons so far with the #87 crew having taken the class win at Circuit Paul Ricard and a brace of podiums at Brands Hatch while the AF Corse crew has won at Silverstone in the Endurance Cup and at Misano.
The World Challenge Pro-Am Drivers standings are led by the #519 Orange 1 FFF Racing team Lamborghini driver pairing of Phil Keen and Hiroshi Hamaguchi who currently sit seven points ahead of the #333 Rinaldi Racing pairing of David Perel and Rinat Salikhov. Keen and Hamaguchi have two wins to their name so far this season compared to the one victory of the #333 crew. The Pro-Am World Challenge will be closely fought to the end of the season.
Although a field of modest size, the Am Cup drivers battle is still close. HB Racing’s Florian Scholze heads the overall standings, eight points ahead of Barwell Motorsport’s Adrian Amstutz, Leo Matchitski and Miguel Ramos, courtesy of the German driver’s full-season entry. In the World Challenge Europe standings, Scholze and teammate Wolfgang Triller have a significant advantage over Adam Osieka and Denis Remenyako.
There are five changes to the entry list for Zandvoort. Belgian Audi Club Team WRT returns with two entries having compete at Misano with just the #2 Audi R8 LMS GT3. For Round Six Ezequiel Perez Companc returns with Dries Vanthoor in the #1 car while Charles Weerts rejoins Christopher Mies in the sister #2 entry.
The two guest entries for Misano are not on the entry list at Zandvoort which means Andrea Fontana and Pierre Kaffer in the #7 Audi Sport Italia entry and the #15 Am Cup Boutsen Ginion Racing Lamborghini piloted by Claude-Yves Gosselin and Pierre Feligioni will be absent in The Netherlands.
There are, however, two additional entries. GRT Grasser Racing Team has entered its #19 Lamborghini which will be piloted by Michele Beretta and Rolf Ineichen whilst Aurelién Panis and Jack Hawksworth will share the driving duties in the #23 Tech 1 Racing Lexus RCF GT3.
Misano saw two highly competitive races with overall wins going to Caldarelli and Mapelli in the #563 Lamborghini and the young Charles Weerts and Dries Vanthoor in the #2 Audi. SRO Motorsport’s Balance of Performance will ensure another weekend of close racing at the circuit first raced on in 1948.
Track action begins at 09:00 local time on Friday July 12 with Free Practice 1 with qualifying getting underway at 09:00 local time on Saturday July 13. The lights go out for Race One later that day at 14:35 local time with Race Two starting at 14:15 on Sunday July 14.