- True Racing by Reiter Engineering KTM takes pole-to-flag win, sealing second Pro-Am honours of the season
- Henry Hassid takes last-lap Am class victory for LP Racing
- More Fanatec GT2 action to follow at Spa with race two streamed live at 17:00
Filip Sladecka and Stefan Rosina returned to their winning ways in the first Fanatec GT2 European Series race of the weekend at Spa-Francorchamps, recording the first pole-to-flag victory of any team this season in the True Racing by Reiter Engineer KTM X-BOW.
The Am title fight was a close affair thanks to a race-long battle between the two LP Racing entries of Leonardo Gorini and Henry Hassid, the latter snatching victory on the final tour of the first 50-minute battle of the weekend.
#15 KTM converts pole to second season win
Following an impressive qualifying effort to secure a dominant race one pole position yesterday, Filip Sladecka made clear his winning intentions from the start of the first Fanatec GT2 European Series encounter. A blistering start and clear run down to La Source ensured the #15 KTM took the lead before making good its escape.
The battle for second was a different story, with the two PK Carsport Audis rubbing into the first turn before the #81 car claimed second. With Kris Rosenberger soon following suit, the current Pro-Am championship-leading #11 Audi dropped from second to fourth by the end of lap one.
But Nicolas Saelens was swift to recover, soon piling the pressure on the #16 KTM throughout the opening stint until a run wide from Rosenberger allowed the Audi to move back up order to third ahead of the pitstop window.
Whilst Sladecka looked uncatchable out front, the Am class battle again produced some of the most thrilling battles of the field as Am championship leader, Henry Hassid harried LP Racing team-mate, Leonardo Gorini’s Porsche for lap after lap of the Ardennes circuit. Although the pair pitted at the same time, with an additional 10 seconds to serve by dint of his Misano win, Hassid would have it all to do again.
With the mandatory pitstops complete and Stefan Rosina now out front in the #15 machine, the battle was on for second – this time between the two respective PK Carsport Audis of father and son, Bert and Stienes Longin.
Looking to join that party was the hard-charging Brabham BT63 GT2, now in the hands of Anders Fjordbach following Kevin Weeda’s solid start. Inaugural Fanatec GT2 European Series Champion with the High Class Racing Audi last year, Fjordbach posted consecutive fastest laps in his bid to slash the eight second deficit and join the fight for a place on the podium.
Just as the order looked to settle, drama unfolded approaching the final five minutes with the #81 Audi picking up a puncture that would force Bert Longin back to the pits for a replacement. That left son, Stienes, to take second at the flag, in-turn promoting the Brabham to third to score the team’s second podium finish of the season so far.
The Am class battle, meanwhile, continued to rage with Hassid never far from the #911 Porsche’s rear bumper. Despite a brilliantly defensive drive, a run wide from Gorini on the final tour was all the invitation Hassid needed to take a fourth class win of the season.
Gorini deservedly hung for second in class, fifth overall, ahead of Michael Vergers in the High Class Racing Audi.
Race one winners at Misano, Elia Erhart and Michael Doppelmayr overcame a challenging early stint to fight their way back up to third in Am. Alessandro Baccani, meanwhile, sealed an impressive debut in the #7 Ebimotors Porsche alongside Giorgi with fourth in Am, eighth overall.
Luca Pirri and Stéphane Ratel picked up more Pro-Am points for fifth in class, while the #81 PK Carsport Audi rounded out the top ten following a stop-go penalty for a pit stop infringement, ahead of the #17 and #16 KTMs.
There’s still more Fanatec GT2 European Series action to come here at Spa-Francorchamps for SRO Speed Week, with race two scheduled for 17:00 CEST, streamed live via the series website or GT World on YouTube.