The first moments on track allowed Raffaele Marciello (#88) to set the third best time overall. In the afternoon, in the second session, the #88 driven by Jules Gounon slid into P5 overall (P3 Pro). The #87 finished the session P11 (P6 Pro) and the #89 P35 (P10 Bronze Cup).
The next day, Jules Gounon (#88) was P2 Pro (P3 overall), only 0.176s off the leader. In the #87, Lorenzo Ferrari finished P14 Pro (P26 overall), while the Brazilian Baptista trio (#89) finished 13th in the Bronze Cup.
The pre-qualifying session ended up being particularly torrid, not only from the ambient temperature (29°C), but also from the level of the stakes at play. The #89, driven by Thomas Drouet, took second place in the session, just 0.029 seconds off the quickest. Classified P4, the #88 kept up a steady pace with a lap time of 1'41''295, set by Raffaele Marciello. In the Bronze Cup, Bruno Baptista (#89) set an exemplary session finished P15 overall, P3 in the category.
On Sunday morning, when it was time for qualifying, the thermometer already showed 24°C. At the end of the three sessions, the average of the three times saw the #88 finish 9th despite Jules Gounon’s performance as the fastest of all three sessions combined. Raffaele Marciello and Timur Boguslavskiy saw laps cancelled due to track limit violations.
The crew of the #87 had a very good performance by claiming 5th place overall. Unluckily for the #89, their times were cancelled in Q2 and Q3. The Brazilian crew ended up in last place on the grid.
At 3 PM, the lights went green. The end of the 2023 season of the Endurance Cup was near. Meanwhile, the particularly warm weather in the south of Europe would not make the race conditions any easier, impacting tyre degradation in particular. In Barcelona, the asphalt is not very abrasive, so the cars tend to slide, which causes the tyres to overheat and wear prematurely. Any attack meant that the tyres would wear faster. Everyone was on their guard...
The 54 car field took off. Raffaele Marciello (#88) and Thomas Drouet (#87) had an excellent start, respectively P5 and P6, which was already a three place gain for the driver of the #87. At the back of the grid, the #89 (Bruno Baptista) gained six places after 20 minutes. Lello went into attack mode and took a position off the #96 Porsche that found itself under pressure from the #87.
After a little less than 30 minutes of racing, the first FCY (Full Course Yellow) occurred, limiting the speeds to 80km/h and brought out the first Safety Car. At the restart, everyone held their position, P4 for the #88, P6 for the #87, and P42 for the #89. The laps went by, as did the FCY procedures (there would be 5 throughout the race).
The first refuelling and driver change was favourable to the #88. Timur Boguslavskiy went back out on track P3. Lorenzo Ferrari, who followed Thomas Drouet in the #87 was P5, while Rodrigo Baptista (#89) was in the Top 40.
Throughout his stint, Timur Boguslavskiy set great lap times and did not let up. He managed to hold off several assaults from the #71 Ferrari, resisting in a clean and efficient way. In the #87, Lorenzo Ferrari had a fright from two contacts, but managed to stay on track in P7. Rodrigo Baptista (#89) was P36 at the end of a solid stint.
After the second refuelling, Jules Gounon slid into the cockpit of the #88 Mercedes AMG GT3 to conclude this relatively delicate race, eyes glued on the progress of the #98 BMW, its closest rival. The Frenchman rejoined the track P5, while Maximilian Götz, at the wheel in the #87, was P7. Adalberto Baptista (#89) was in the Top 40 (P13 Bronze Cup).
The final stint was rather choppy due to the FCY and safety car procedures, including a long interruption to clean some fluid off the track. When the race restarted, the #89 got a drive through for having pitted for more than 65’.
The positions remained the same until the chequered flag. The #88 crossed the line P5 and the #87, P7. The #89 was P14 in the Bronze Cup.
The trio of the #88, Raffaele Marciello, Jules Gounon and Timur Boguslavskiy, took the 2023 Endurance Cup title. Raffaele Marciello and Jules Gounon, reigning champions, have doubled their score. Akkodis ASP Team, also reigning Teams champion, has added another record to its prize list. Apart from the Endurance title, Raffaele Marciello and Timur Boguslavskiy are already crowned in the overall classification (Endurance & Sprint) of the Fanatec GT World, just like Akkodis ASP Team.
Now it’s off to the Netherlands where the 2023 Fanatec GT World Sprint Cup will know its outcome on the 14th of October. Still in the running for the Sprint title, Akkodis ASP Team, Raffaele Marciello and Timur Boguslavskiy could claim more titles.