LP Racing take historic 1-2-3 for Audi on Fanatec GT2 Portimao debut

LP Racing take historic 1-2-3 for Audi on Fanatec GT2 Portimao debut

Henry Hassid and Anthony Beltoise seize second win of the season in the Algarve
True Racing KTM’s Sehdi Sarmini and Klaus Angerhofer claim Am victory as class leader Krabec forced to retir

It was a sensational Fanatec GT2 European Series race debut at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve this afternoon, with Henry Hassid and Anthony Beltoise coming out on top of the championship’s thrilling first encounter at Portimão.

Their victory aboard the #67 LP Racing Audi sealed a historic weekend for the Italian team, which celebrated their first Fanatec GT2 1-2-3 finish. An equally stellar performance from Stéphane Ratel and Mattia di Giusto, after the latter’s brilliant battle to overhaul the #61 Akkodis ASP Mercedes-AMG, brought the #88 sister car home in second.

The final place on the Pro-Am podium was deservedly taken by Pierre Kaffer and Michael Doppelmayr, thanks to Kaffer’s awe-inspiring charge through the field from ninth to snatch third on the final lap of the 50-minute race.

True Racing’s Sehdi Sarmini and Klaus Angerhofer, meanwhile, took their second Am-class win this term, ahead of Ebimotors’ Leonardo Gorini.

Portimão plays host to thrilling first Fanatec GT2 encounter

The first Fanatec GT2 European Series race to be staged in Portimão was a thriller from the moment the lights switched to green. Pole-sitter Peter Guelinckx nailed the start to sweep into the lead at turn one, followed by Jan Krabec who managed to squeeze his #89 KTM up the inside of Hassid’s Audi to secure second.

But the PK Carsport driver’s dream of taking victory in the Algarve was soon cut short when the #1 Audi picked up a puncture on lap two, leaving Krabec to pick up the mantle. The KTM’s lead was also short lived, as Krabec also sustained a puncture barely two laps later.

With the Pro-Am leader heading into round four, Nicolas Saelens also tipped into a spin on the opening tour, Hassid was able to drop the hammer and pull out a comfortable lead which team-mate Beltoise was able to maintain to the chequered flag.

While Hassid made good his escape, Gorini was doing a superb job to keep the hard-charging KTM of Angerhofer at bay until the Porsche pit at the 24-minute mark. The pair of Akkodis ASP Mercedes-AMGs, meanwhile, were fighting toe-to-toe for fifth.

The compulsory pitstops then shook up the order even further, by dint of success seconds carried over from the race two success last time out at Dijon, as the Pro drivers took to the track. Consequently, it was Benjamin Ricci that emerged behind Beltoise, now in the lead Audi. 

The #61 Mercedes-AMG, however, soon had its mirrors full of di Giusto’s Audi, triggering a relentless fight for second, which was only interrupted by a brief safety car period.

When racing resumed for a final 10-minute charge to the flag, Ricci and di Giusto picked up where they left off, the latter trying every which way to find a way to pass until a sublime move up the inside finally secured di Giusto second place with three minutes to go.

The safety car played perfectly into the hands of Kaffer who was on a mega mission from the back of the pack, helping the #18 LP Racing Audi to pick off a trio of True Racing KTMs to lie fourth heading into the final tour. But there was time for one more move and Kaffer managed to take the Mercedes-AMG for third to complete an all LP Racing Pro-Am podium.

While Ricci took a well-earned fourth position, Sarmini picked up where Angerhofer left off to secure a second Am-class win this term for the #16 KTM fifth overall, ahead of Stefan Rosina in the #15 sister car.

With the Am-class championship leader, Krabec forced to retire, Gorini took strong points for second in class, while Christophe Bourret and Jean Luc Beaubelique celebrated their series debut with third in Am aboard their new #87 Akkodis ASP Mercedes-AMG.  

The Fanatec GT2 European Series action continues in the Algarve with qualifying at 09.00 setting the grid for the final race of the weekend at 10:55 – all streamed live via GT World on YouTube or the series website www.GT2EuropeanSeries.com

Related Motorsport Articles

84,741 articles