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AF Corse duo on the cusp of GT World Challenge Europe Sprint Cup Silver Cup title

Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS makes its annual trip to the Adriatic coast next weekend when the biggest Sprint Cup grid of the season will tackle a pair of 60-minute races at Misano.

A 27-car field has been confirmed for the 1–3 July event, which has been ever-present on the Fanatec Sprint calendar since 2015 and this year represents the penultimate round of the short-format championship. As such the stakes are increasingly high, while the presence of local superstar Valentino Rossi should ensure an especially busy weekend.

The Silver Cup title could be settled at Misano. Ulysse De Pauw and Pierre-Alexandre Jean enjoyed another fine weekend at Zandvoort, winning the opening contest before taking second spot in race 2. With four victories from a possible six the #53 AF Corse Ferrari duo enjoy a commanding 29.5-point lead, making it entirely possible that they will wrap up the championship with a round to spare. 

Two crews retain a realistic hope of stopping them. Alex Aka and Nicolas Schöll (#99 Attempto Racing Audi) can count on momentum after sealing race 2 honours at Zandvoort, while Thomas Drouet and Casper Stevenson (#87 Akkodis ASP Mercedes-AMG) have five podiums from six races, albeit without a win. Both crews know that victory at Misano is essential if the AF Corse title party is to be postponed. 

Misano is a particularly strong circuit for Audi, so its representatives should be a major factor in the battle for Silver Cup honours. Along with the title chasing Attempto crew, Team WRT (#30, Thomas Neubauer & Benji Goethe) and Saintéloc Junior Team (#26, Gilles Magnus & Nicolas Baert) also have realistic hopes of fighting for victory. 

The 2022 season has been a baptism of fire for Lamborghini squad GSM Novamarine. The Monegasque outfit will tackle the marque’s home event with Danny Kroes, who made his series debut last time out at Zandvoort, and newcomer Daan Pijl. Building further experience will be the aim of the game for the #159 Garage 59 McLaren of Manuel Maldonado and Ethan Simioni. Both have shown flashes of speed this term, though have also encountered the hurdles that face all rookie drivers.

A pair of Mercedes-AMG crews complete the Silver class. The #86 Akkodis ASP of Petru Umbrarescu and Igor Walilko showed improved pace at Zandvoort, qualifying well but ultimately slipping from the podium places. Sky Tempesta Racing also showed signs of improvement at the Dutch track, but Chris Froggatt and Eddie Cheever III ultimately endured another frustrating weekend and will continue to chase a breakthrough at Misano. 

The Zandvoort meeting saw the Pro-Am championship advantage swing towards AF Corse. Cedric Sbirrazzuoli won the opening contest alongside Stefano Costantini, the latter subbing for an unwell Hugo Delacour. Sbirrazzuoli now occupies top spot in the drivers’ standings and will have Delacour back alongside him for the trip to Misano. 

The #111 JP Motorsport McLaren of Patryk Krupinski and Christian Klien was arguably the fastest Pro-Am runner at Zandvoort, but retirement in race 2 cost the squad a potential win. Klien will miss the Misano weekend, with the equally experienced Norbert Siedler slotting in alongside Krupinski. Fellow McLaren outfit Garage 59 took race 2 honours at Zandvoort, a result that puts Miguel Ramos and Dean MacDonald firmly back in the hunt for the class title. 

Louis Machiels and Andrea Bertolini (#52 AF Corse Ferrari) also remain in contention following a pair of runner-up finishes, though securing a win on home soil is crucial if the Italian squad is to compete for the Fanatec Sprint championship. Finally, LP Racing adds a fifth Pro-Am contender and completes the Misano grid. The Italian squad, which also runs cars in the Fanatec GT2 European Series, will make its series debut with a Lamborghini for Mattia Di Giusto and Jonathan Cecotto. 

Packed Misano meeting promises more than eight hours of racing action

The upcoming weekend features a busy schedule with no shortage of action on the 4.2km circuit. Lamborghini Super Trofeo will make its annual trip home to contest the third round of its 2022 championship, while the ATCC touring car series once again features as a one-off for the Misano meeting. The Fanatec GT2 European Series and GT4 European Series also join Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS on the programme, marking the second and final time this season that all three share the same weekend. 

The event follows a standard Fanatec Sprint format, kicking off with practice and pre-qualifying on Friday. The opening qualifying session takes place on Saturday morning and is followed by race 1 in the afternoon, while this format is repeated on Sunday. From Saturday onwards, every second of the action will be broadcast live on a variety of online platforms, including the GT World YouTube channel, in English, German, French and Italian. 

The trip to Misano comes less than four weeks before the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa, with track action in the Ardennes scheduled to begin on Tuesday 26 July. Before full attention can be turned to the biggest event in GT3 racing, there is plenty of action to look forward to as the Fanatec Sprint campaign moves into its deciding stages. 

Source. SRO Motorsports Group


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