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GT World Challenge Europe: impressive series of podiums for the BMW M Motorsport teams comes to an end at the Nürburgring.

An impressive series of podiums for the BMW M Motorsport teams came to an end at the Nürburgring (GER), in the sixth event of the season in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS. The three-hour race, the fourth event in the Endurance Cup, saw no BMW M4 GT3 reach the top 3 in the overall standings for the first time this season.

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Andrea Schwab
BMW Group

Nürburgring. An impressive series of podiums for the BMW M Motorsport teams came to an end at the Nürburgring (GER), in the sixth event of the season in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS. The three-hour race, the fourth event in the Endurance Cup, saw no BMW M4 GT3 reach the top 3 in the overall standings for the first time this season. Previously, ROWE Racing had secured two wins in the Endurance Cup (Monza, ITA, and Spa-Francorchamps, BEL) and one third place (Le Castellet, FRA). In the four previous Sprint Cup races at Brands Hatch (GBR) and Misano (ITA), the BMW M Team WRT had celebrated one win, one second place and four third-place finishes. This time, the #32 BMW M4 GT3 recorded the best result in seventh place.

 

Starting from 17th on the grid after a challenging qualifying session in the rain, WRT drivers Charles Weerts, Dries Vanthoor (both BEL) and Sheldon van der Linde (RSA) put on a strong chasing performance to reach seventh place. The second-best BMW M Motorsport crew was the BMW Junior Team, in eleventh position with BMW M works drivers Dan Harper (GBR), Max Hesse (GER) and Neil Verhagen (USA). They had battled their way up from 31st on the grid.

 

Spa winners Philipp Eng (AUT), Marco Wittmann (GER) and Nick Yelloly (GBR) endured an unfortunate race. Having started from tenth place, Wittmann bumped into several cars after being boxed in at the first corner. He battled on and was later clipped by a spinning Lamborghini. This resulted in damage to the left side of the bodywork and the diffuser, robbing the car of much of its pace. The trio did manage to reach the finishing line in 15th place. Missing out on the points has cost Eng, Wittmann and Yelloly the lead in the overall standings for the Endurance Cup. They are now aiming to return to the top at the season finale in Barcelona (ESP) on 1st October.

 

Augusto Farfus (BRA), Maxime Martin (BEL) and Valentino Rossi (ITA) finished empty-handed at the Nürburgring. They suffered radiator damage after colliding with a lapped car.

 

No-one reached the rostrum in the overall standings but there was one podium to celebrate in the Gold Cup. Niklas Krütten (GER), Jean-Baptiste Simmenauer (FRA) and Calan Williams (AUS) crossed the line in third place in their class in the #30 BMW M4 GT3 for the WRT team. The #31 BMW M4 GT3 with BMW M works driver Jens Klingmann (GER), Darren Leung and Lewis Proctor (both GBR) at the wheel, secured sixth spot in the Bronze Cup. The #35 car from Walkenhorst Motorsport, driven by Thomas Neubauer (FRA), Anders Buchardt (NOR) and James Kell (GBR) finished the race in 14th place in the Bronze Cup.

 

Reactions after the race.

 

Dries Vanthoor (#32 BMW M4 GT3, BMW M Team WRT, 7th place): “We couldn’t have done any better with the speed we had this weekend, especially considering the start we had, where we dropped back to 30th place. Finishing seventh is a good result, and hopefully we can battle for the win again at the next race.”

 

Dan Harper (#998 BMW M4 GT3, ROWE Racing, 11th place): “To be honest, after that qualifying and being 31st on the grid, we didn’t have a chance. Generally, the BMW M4 GT3 didn’t have the pace that it showed in the previous races. However, the WRT cars also seemed to be faster than we were. The team worked perfectly and made no mistakes, so thanks very much for that!”

 

Marco Wittmann (#98 BMW M4 GT3, ROWE Racing, 15th place): “This was a disappointing race for us, as we scored no points and at the same time, the win went to our main rival for the Endurance title. Obviously, that puts us in a very difficult position for the final race in Barcelona. Our car had light damage from the start and suffered some very bad damage after the collision with the Lamborghini. The whole left side and the diffuser were smashed up. But in general, we have to admit that we could not keep pace with the speed of our rivals here.”

 

Maxime Martin (#46 BMW M4 GT3, BMW M Team WRT, DNF): “Naturally we had expected the weekend to go differently, retiring after a collision with a lapped car is disappointing. The blue flags were waving but no-one took any notice of them. As long as there is no punishment for that, similar accidents will continue to occur. That is a great shame.”

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