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GT World Challenge Europe: three podiums for BMW M Team WRT at Brands Hatch Sprint Cup opener.

The BMW M Team WRT has made a great start to the Sprint Cup season in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS (GTWC). In Sunday’s two races at Brands Hatch (GBR), the team chalked up a total of three podium finishes in the overall standings and a class win in the Gold Cup.

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Brands Hatch. The BMW M Team WRT has made a great start to the Sprint Cup season in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS (GTWC). In Sunday’s two races at Brands Hatch (GBR), the team chalked up a total of three podium finishes in the overall standings and a class win in the Gold Cup. Defending GTWC champions Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts (both BEL) finished both races in third place. Valentino Rossi (ITA) celebrated second place in race two together with his team-mate Maxime Martin (BEL). It was the first GTWC podium for Rossi in his second season and also represented his best race result in the BMW M4 GT3, topping his third place at the 24 Hours of Dubai (UAE) in January.  


In both races, BMW M Team WRT made excellent pit stops that regularly enabled them to make up a few positions. That helped Vanthoor and Weerts move up from fifth on the grid to finish third in the first race. In race two, the duo made up even more ground after a weaker qualifying performance, reaching the podium from 13th on the grid. In that second race, Rossi took his place in the cockpit of the #46 BMW M4 GT3 in second place, replacing Martin who had started from third on the grid. In the second half of the race, he was able to hold out as Weerts applied plenty of pressure in the team’s #32 car. All four BMW M works drivers who competed in the Sprint Cup were then able to celebrate together after crossing the finish line. Rossi and Martin finished race one in 14th place.


Niklas Krütten (GER) and Calan Williams (AUS) also reached the rostrum as Gold Cup class winners in race two. This season, the two drivers are competing in the privateer #30 BMW M4 GT3 running for Team WRT. In race one, Krütten and Williams claimed fourth place in the Gold Cup. In the Pro category, Thomas Neubauer and Jean-Baptiste Simmenauer (both FRA) crossed the line in 13th and 15th positions in the #31 BMW M4 GT3.


Reactions after the races.


Andreas Roos (Head of BMW M Motorsport): “Congratulations to BMW M Team WRT on making such a great start to the season in the GT World Challenge Europe Sprint Cup, and especially to Valentino Rossi on the occasion of his first podium in this top-quality race series! It is really impressive to see how quickly he has adjusted to the new surroundings of the BMW M4 GT3 and how he manages to drive at the same level as the GT3 pros who have been doing this for years, although it is only his second season competing in race cars. That proves just how outstandingly talented and committed he is. He gives his all in his pursuit of success and I am delighted that he is being rewarded with good results. Maxime Martin also gave an excellent performance and laid the foundation for today's success of the #46. Congratulations are also in order for Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts, who scored some valuable points in the overall standings with their double podium, and for the Gold Cup class winners Niklas Krütten and Calan Williams. Many thanks to all the members of the team and to my colleagues at BMW M Motorsport for doing such a great job!”


Vincent Vosse (Team Principal BMW M Team WRT): “Reaching the podium today almost feels like winning the title. Sometimes, winning almost feels too easy but here at Brands Hatch we perhaps didn't have the fastest car in term of pure pace, but the BMW M4 GT3 worked perfectly in the race, the pit stops were superb and the drivers gave a faultless performance. It is extremely satisfying to reach the podium with such a fantastic team performance. The Sprint Cup is a top-notch competition and a huge challenge. We are very competitive and we will now continue to work on this very good foundation.”


Dries Vanthoor (#32 BMW M4 GT3): “The two third-places are fantastic results for the first sprint weekend. Before the races, we were speculating that we might finish in the top five, maybe even reach the podium, but we would never have expected to make up so much ground from 13th on the grid in the second race. The safety car did help us a bit and then the guys did a really brilliant job during the pit stop. In terms of the season as a whole, these are really important points. I am sure that the Sprint Cup will be a major challenge, but I am looking forward to it.”


Charles Weerts (#32 BMW M4 GT3): “I am delighted with the results this weekend. To be honest, we did not expect to get a double podium here at Brands Hatch, but we did the best we could with our opportunities, especially the mechanics who prepared perfectly for the new car and did a fantastic job. Many thanks to the whole team and to BMW M Motorsport for providing us with such a great car!”


Valentino Rossi (#46 BMW M4 GT3): “I am very proud and absolutely delighted with my first podium in the GTWC! We worked hard for this over the whole weekend, with particular focus on practising driver changes. That paid off in our fast pit stops. Maxime did a great job in qualifying and handed the car over to me in a very good position. I found a good pace pretty quickly and was able to finish in second place. This is an important podium for me as we came close a few times last year, just like at Monza a few weeks ago. This time it worked out. Many thanks to the to the team and to Maxime!”


Maxime Martin (#46 BMW M4 GT3): “I am delighted with my first podium in the Sprint Cup and with a first-ever GTWC podium for Valentino. He made no errors whatsoever and finished in second place, defending that after taking over from me in our very good pit stop. That is a good start to a season that will hopefully see us record plenty of great results.”

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