Fanatec GT World - Endurance - Nürburgring - Brilliant victory!


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Absent in 2022, the Fanatec GT Europe series was back last weekend at the Nürburgring for the before-last round of the Endurance Cup, on the 5.1km Grand Prix version of the track. Only 8 points off the title, the crew of the #88, Raffaele Marciello, Jules Gounon and Timur Boguslavskiy, winners at Paul Ricard and second at Spa, had great ambitions. Ambitions that were achieved by a magnificent pole position and a clear victory, leading the race from start to finish. It was a team effort that paid off and allowed the team and crew to take the head of the championship with an 18 point lead. In the second Akkodis ASP Team Mercedes-AMG GT3, the experienced Maximilian Götz, Thomas Drouet and Lorenzo Ferrari (#87) also distinguished themselves, placing fourth on the starting grid. Unfortunately, caught up in a collision at the start of the race, the car was damaged at the rear right and wore down as the laps went by, to finally retire with 1h35 to go. We’ll have to wait for the finale, in Barcelona on the 1st of October, for the champions to be crowned in Endurance. Akkodis ASP Team is currently leading the Overall, Sprint and Endurance championships, as is the crew of the #88. Next rendez-vous will be Hockenheim for the Sprint series, on the 2nd and 3rd of September.

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On the other side of the Eifel, at the Nürburgring, the weather strangely enough resembles what they have at Spa, where you can get the four seasons in one day. There was sun, rain and clouds at the before-last meeting of the Endurance Cup with no fewer than 54 cars on track.

Two private test sessions took place on Friday, during which Raffaele Marciello (#88) took second, then fifth in PRO, while Lorenzo Ferrari finished P13 PRO, followed by Thomas Drouet, P15 PRO in the #87.

Saturday, the 90-minute free practice session started on a damp track, then a few sunny spells followed that allowed the times to speed up. The #88 with Timur Boguslavskiy at the wheel set the best time, while the #87, driven by Lorenzo Ferrari was P8 PRO.

A few hours later, the Pre-qualifying session took place without interruption, even though the session finished in the rain. Jules Gounon set the 4th best time overall (P3 PRO) and Thomas Drouet was 16th PRO.

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Qualifying sessions: Pole position in sight!

One hour before the start of qualifying, the rain reappeared. The session started on a soaked track. In the #88, Raffaele Marciello put on an incredible performance in Q1, beating the #63 Lamborghini by 0.257s in epic track conditions. In Q2, Timur Boguslavskiy set an excellent 6th time and in Q3, despite Jules Gounon giving himself a fright in his first flying lap, he finished 8th. By taking another pole position, the #88 claimed a crucial point in the quest for the title.

The #87 also put in an excellent performance. Lorenzo Ferrari, then Thomas Drouet and Maximilian Götz placed the Akkodis ASP Team Mercedes-AMG on the second line of the grid (P4) after regular results over all three sessions, respectively P13, P7 and P9. A great result taking into account the difficult weather conditions.

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The perfect race!

After the morning’s downpour, the weather brightened and rain was not forecast for the three-hour race. The temperature was relatively fresh at 17,5°C, but it was a lot hotter under their helmets.

Raffaele Marciello (#88) managed his start perfectly and kept his advantage at the front of the race. Maximilian Götz (#87) also managed an excellent start but was the victim of a contact at the outside of the first corner, where five cars were going head to head. The rear right of the Mercedes-AMG was hit and some of the bodywork was rubbing on tyre, creating a suspicious “smoke”. The #87 went from P4 to P10 but kept a strong pace.

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At the front, Raffaele Marciello (#88) got to work putting distance to his rivals. After 30 minutes, he already had a 7-second lead. A lead that would increase to more than 26 seconds by the end of his stint. In the #87, the opposite was happening. From the unfortunate contact at the start of the race, Maximilian Götz fell down the classification, having to put up with a car that was showing signs of weakness. When he went to the pits at the end of his stint, they were P28.

In the #88, Timur Boguslavskiy started his stint, still leading, with a capital of an 11-second lead. Especially efficient in his times, he went from one lap to the next, stabilising his comfortable gap at 9 seconds. A lot more at ease and very regular since he has been taking part in both championships (Sprint and Endurance), Timur was not doubting himself.

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Lorenzo Ferrari followed Maximilian Götz in the #87, but far from improving, the state of the car deteriorated with each passage. Falling further down the classification, with still 1h35 to go, the #87 headed to the pits and would not leave them again. It was a great disappointment as the crew had been in with a chance, taking their performance into account.

Jules Gounon (#88) was at the wheel for the last period, taking the lead of the race at the same time. Leaving the pits just ahead of Luca Stolz in the #777, the duel between the two Mercedes-AMG cars began. The two know each other well and Luca Stolz put the pressure on Jules. The gap shrunk to a half-second, but the Frenchman did not let up. During the final 30 minutes, the gap increased with the traffic and overtaking manoeuvres to reach 4.5s with 10 minutes to go.

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Finally, as the sun was shining on the finish line, Jules Gounon took the win for the sixth time in Endurance (equalling Maxime Martin’s record). Akkodis ASP Team has taken another success which has given them the lead of the Endurance championship, one round before the finale (Barcelona on the 1st of October). Jérôme Policand’s team is now leading the Overall, Sprint and Endurance championships, as is the crew of the #88.

It’s now time for the summer break, and the Fanatec GT Europe will be back on the 1st and 2nd of September at Hockenheim for the first of the last three rounds of the Sprint championship.

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