Audi Pro-Am rivals score a victory apiece at Misano to ignite title fight.
Target Racing Lamborghini celebrates maiden win on debut outing.
Am points leader Ulrich extends lead, with team-mate Spescha rising through the order.
High Class Racing and PK Carsport by Heinz’s Audis scored a victory apiece in the Fanatec GT2 European Series at Misano this weekend (2-3 July) to ignite their Pro-Am title fight, whilst Target Racing’s Lamborghini also won on debut.
A comfortable victory for Mark Patterson and Anders Fjordbach in the opener gave way to a thrilling dice between the pair and chief rivals Peter Guelinckx and Bert Longin in the series first-ever evening race on Saturday.
Longin soaked up the early pressure from pole before Fjordbach found a way past, but Guelinckx was on a charge after the stops and a move around the outside of Quercia meant the lead changed hands again.
A second win of the campaign for PK Carsport moves them back to within striking range of the High Class Audi, the margin between them now 26 points.
In the Am battle, Target Racing recovered from the disappointment of having a debut victory snatched away in Race 1 at the hands of a mechanical problem by ending the weekend on the top step of the podium, the #63 Lamborghini the class of the field in the finale in the hands of Christoph Ulrich and Adrian Spescha.
Ulrich and Spescha had won the earlier race, ensuring the former opens up a 39-point lead at the top of the standings, with Spescha rising to fourth.
R1: High Class and Sportec victorious to extend respective championship leads
High Class Racing’s #33 Audi put in a superb second stint to rise through the order and win the first of two races at Misano in the early afternoon sunshine.
The result made it four victories from five starts for driver pairing Mark Patterson and Anders Fjordbach, and with the #7 Sportec KTM of Christoph Ulrich and Christoph Lenz victorious in the Am battle, it was good news for both class championship leaders.
Starting on the fourth row, Patterson made gradual progress past chief title rival Peter Guelinckx’s #81 PK Carsport Audi, then inherited the Pro-Am lead after a spin into the gravel from the #16 True Racing KTM of Sehdi Sarmini at Turn 13, moments after a similar incident for Einar Thorsen’s #23 Reiter-run entry at the same corner.
Fjordbach was, in truth, never challenged after the stops, powering clear to take the chequered 15.5 seconds clear of the rest, with Luca Pirri and Stephane Ratel second in the #88 LP Racing Audi.
Pirri’s pace in the latter stages paid off, the Italian able to pressure the #5 Speed Factory Porsche into a mistake, Michael Vergers skating wide across the gravel on the penultimate lap. Though he re-joined, both the #88 and #81, now with Bert Longin at the wheel, were able to slip by into the final two podium positions.
In the Am stakes, Ulrich and Lenz lost the lead in the pit stops to series newcomers Target Racing, but the #63 Lamborghini of Mauro Casadei and Cedric Leimer had to pull off circuit with an issue just a few laps into the second stint, handing the #7 challenger a reprieve.
That left them a clear path to a third win of the campaign, with Hubert Trunkenpolz completing a strong recovery for the #17 True Racing KTM in second, Klaus Angerhofer having dropped back with a wide moment earlier in the race.
Hans-Joachim Stuck and Kris Rosenberger completed the podium; Rosenberger put up a stern defence of his pole position but fell behind Ulrich at the five-minute mark. That, plus a slow stop for the #24 versus its rivals dropped them out of contention for a first Am win on this occasion.
R2: Guelinckx stars as PK Carsport Audi returns to winner’s circle
When Fjordbach’s early pressure on Longin looked to have paid off with a switch for the race lead after ten minutes of the final contest, the expectation was that the Dane, who pitted with a comfortable margin to hand over the reins to Patterson, had done enough to set High Class on their way to a fifth win in six races.
It was not to be however, due in no small part to a superb performance from Guelinckx. Once released to chase down Patterson, the Belgian was unstoppable, reducing the gap lap after lap until the two ran nose-to-tail with less than ten minutes to go.
Patterson moved to defend the middle of the road at Quercia, with Guelinckx instead placing the #81 Audi on the outside line to complete the move on the exit, promoting him back into the race lead.
From there, Guelinckx managed the gap back to Patterson to take a much-needed second win of the season for PK Carsport, and in doing so they keep touch with the #33 at the top of the Pro-Am standings.
Stefan Rosina and Sehdi Sarmini ended a run of bad luck with a solid run to third in the #16 True Racing KTM, the pair taking a first podium finish since the Monza season opener. Fourth in Pro-Am was the #88 LP Racing Audi of Luca Pirri, then Stephane Ratel as the duo rounded out another consistent weekend to cement fourth in the standings.
Aurelijus Rusteika enjoyed a superb battle on-track with eventual Am winner Mauro Casadei in the #5 Speed Factory Racing Porsche in the final stint and was fifth in class, whilst a problem on the right-front for Peter Kox in the #23 Reiter-run KTM forced them out of the race before the stops.
Arguably, the #63 Target Racing Lamborghini was set for a maiden victory on their debut outing in the series earlier this afternoon, only for a mechanical problem to force Cedric Leimer to pull off-circuit in the final stint.
The pair made no mistake in the dwindling light at Misano this evening, leading from lights-to-flag to deliver an immediate response to the disappointment from race one. Although their rivals were hit with compensation time, the Lamborghini was rapid regardless, with Casadei taking the fight to Pro-Am front-runner Vergers across the second stint.
Casadei eventually found a way through and powered clear to register a 4.2-second gap over second place runner Christoph Ulrich (#7 Sportec KTM) at the chequered flag. Ulrich leaves still in the Am points lead, with a margin of 39 points over Hans-Joachim Stuck and Kris Rosenberger, who finished this one in third.
Ulrich’s team-mate Adrian Spescha is now just a further point back in fourth overall, having delivered another impressive stint before the stops. Hubert Trunkenpolz and Klaus Angerhofer suffered an early setback in the #17 True Racing KTM, but duly came home to score another decent points haul in fourth.
The 2021 Fanatec GT2 European Series resumes at the famous SRO Spa Speedweek event in the Ardennes Forest over the 23-25 July.