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


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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