Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe

Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe: Can Caldarelli and Mapelli Clinch Sprint Title At Hungaroring? (05.09.19)

The 2019 Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe reaches its final round on September 7 – 8 when a 28-car grid visits the Hungaroring for the second successive weekend of two one-hour contests.

16 entries will contest the Pro category with seven entries in the Silver Cup category, four in the Pro-Am Cup class and one entry in the Am Cup category.

There are five changes to grid following the Nürburgring the previous weekend. Dorian Boccolacci replaces Nyls Stievenart in the #24 Sainteloc Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3, converting the Pro-Am entry to a Pro entry. Dinamic Motorsport has entered its #54 Porsche 911 GT3 R, winner at Monza in the opening round of the 2019 season, to be driven in Hungary by Giorgio Roda and Sven Müller.

Jean-Luc Beaubelique returns to the AKKA ASP Team’s #87 Pro-Am Cup Mercedes-AMG GT3 entry to partner Jim Pla while Felipe Fraga joins Timur Bogulavskiy in the team’s #90 Silver Cup Mercedes, replacing Fabian Schiller.

The #111 KESSEL RACING Am Cup Ferrari F488 GT3, driven at the Nurburgring by Stephen Earle and Rory Penttinen, will not be on the grid in Hungary.

The Orange 1 FFF Racing Team driver pairing of team principal Andrea Caldarelli and teammate Marco Mapelli, pilots of the #563 Lamborghini Huracán GT3, took victory in the opening race at the Nürburgring over the weekend of August 31 – September 1 and took a solid podium in Race Two to move into an eight-point lead at the top of the World Challenge Europe drivers standings.

Orange 1 FFF Racing Team by ACM Team Owner Fu Songyang was delighted at the team’s performance in Germany and is looking forward to the final round.

“What happened in Germany was incredible,” said Fu Songyang. “We knew the car could have a good pace but what the guys did was unbelievable. We had one of the fastest pit stops in the race, as already had happened in the previous races, and all our drivers have shown amazing moves, like Andrea’s overtake in race One, which is the best moment of the year!

“All this brought us, and Lamborghini Squadra Corsa, the second win of the year. Moreover, we are also for the first time leading the World Challenge Europe and we’re back on top of the Overall Drivers’ championship. I can’t be prouder of what we have done together, especially if I think who are our opponents. This is the best way to approach this new experience.”

In second place currently is the #4 BLACK FALCON Mercedes-AMG GT3 driver line-up of Luca Stolz and Maro Engel. The German pairing endured their least successful weekend of the season in the sprint championship with an eighth and fourth place finishes.

Photo: Blancpain GT Series

Currently third in the World Challenge Europe standings is the #63 GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracán GT3 pairing of Mirko Bortolotti and Christian Engelhart. 17.5 points behind the BLACK FALCON duo, Bortolotti and Engelhart also found the Nürburgring challenging, a second place in in Race One being followed by an eighth place in Race Two. The GRT Grasser Racing Team pilots, barring a miracle, must surely be out of the running to take the drivers titles in 2019.

In World Challenge Europe Silver Cup drivers standings, Nico Bastian and Thomas Neubauer, teammates in the #89 AKKA ASP Team Mercedes enjoy a lead of just 2.5 points ahead of the #56 Attempto Racing Audi crew of Milan Dontje and Mattia Drudi. The #89 Mercedes duo had a tough weekend at the Nürburgring, netting just two seventh place finishes in class while Dontje and Drudi came way from the Eifel mountains with a victory and fourth place finish.

Just four points behind Dontje and Drudi in the standings is the #62 R-Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 crew of Hugo De Sadeleer and Aaro Vainio, the duo having earned sixth and third place finishes in Germany. De Sadeleer and Vainio will certainly feel confident going into the final round and, as a result, cannot be discounted for mounting a title challenge this weekend.

After a pair of second place finishes at the Nurburgring, Orange 1 FFF Racing Team’s #519 pairing of Hiroshi Hamaguchi and Phil Keen have an 8.5 point lead in the Pro-Am drivers standings ahead of Rinaldi Racing’s Rinat Salikhov and David Perel. Salikhov and Perel won on Race One in Germany and finished fourth in Race Two so both crews will feel that the title is within their grasp as they approach the Hungaroring.

The weather forecast for the Hungaroring is suggesting rain and thunderstorms for the race weekend, which will make conditions challenging.

Track action for the Blancpain GT World Challenge grid at the Hungaroring gets underway at 10:25 local time on Friday September 6 with Free Practice and qualifying starts at 10:30 local time on Saturday September 7. The lights go out for Race One at 15:10 later that afternoon with Race Two getting underway at 13:45 on Sunday September 8.

Live streaming can be found at GT World, the series’ YouTube channel, with live timing will be available via the Blancpain GT Series website.