A fine performance from the impressive young duo ensured Belgian Audi Club Team WRT returned to winning ways and secured a first victory for the 2019 campaign for Belgian Audi Club Team WRT. The result was made all the more significant as 18-year-old Weerts also became the youngest overall race winner in Blancpain GT Series history, beating the record set by crew-mate Vanthoor at the Hungaroring in 2017.
It came after Weerts scored pole for Saturday’s opening contest, only to spin out of contention while running in second position.
Sunday’s Pro-Am honours went the way of Hiroshi Hamaguchi and Phil Keen in the #519 Orange1 FFF Racing Lamborghini, who finished second on the road but were promoted to first spot when the #333 Rinaldi Racing Ferrari was hit with a 30-second post-race penalty. The #519 had led early on, before David Perel took the Ferrari into the lead, but when Rinat Salikhov was punished for an on-track collision during the second stint it was the Lamborghini pair that ultimately took the win.
In the Am Cup class, HB Racing completed a perfect weekend that has seen the Austrian squad top every session with its #444 Ferrari. Having led the way in both free practice runs the team then secured a brace of Am Cup poles before taking victory in both races. Sunday’s contest saw Wolfgang Triller handle the first stint before handing over to Florian Scholze, who came home well ahead of the competition.
Sunday’s race was the second of the weekend’s Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe races after Andrea Caldarelli and Marco Mapelli secured a first win on European soil for Orange1 FFF Racing on Saturday evening.
The Italian pair delivered a masterful showing in the weekends’ opening contest under the lights at Misano and secured local brand Lamborghini top honours on home turf. FFF’s victory continues a fine run of success for the Chinese squad. After securing a string of podium finishes since moving up from a title-winning Blancpain GT Series Asia campaign, it has now earned its maiden win.
The Pro-Am category was just as competitive. The pole-sitting #24 Sainteloc Racing Audi led the opening stint thanks to Nyls Stievenart, while the #333 Rinaldi Racing Ferrari moved into P1 after the pit stop phase with David Perel at the wheel. The South African had enjoyed a useful advantage, but this was wiped out by the arrival of the safety car. This allowed Andrea Bertolini to take the #52 AF Corse Ferrari that he shares with Louis Machiels into the lead, after which the Italian ace held firm until the chequered flag.
The Am Cup battle was the most straightforward as the #444 HB Racing Ferrari of Florian Scholze and Wolfgang Thriller continued a dominant weekend with class victory. The squad took an excellent 18th overall to finish some way clear of the #13 GetSpeed Performance Mercedes-AMG.
Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe will return to action in two weeks in The Netherlands when the Zandvoort circuit makes its return to the calendar. Before this, many of the drivers who competed at Misano will head straight for Belgium to contest two days of official testing (2 and 3 July) ahead of the season’s marquee event: the Total 24 Hours of Spa.
A footnote to the weekend’s action in Italy is that a fresh deal has been agreed between Misano and the sprint-format series meaning fans can look forward to at least another three years of international GT racing at the Italian venue.