Valentino Rossi closes 15th after a spin, the Audi of Weerts-Vanthoor wins at Zandvoort

In the first sprint race in Zandvoort, the Netherlands, the Audi R8 of the reigning champions dominates and wins. Rossi started 23rd after qualifying, and during the first driving stint he ends up in a spin; Vervisch makes a comeback and closes 15th

Giulio Masperi

– Milan

Thrills and twists throughout an hour-long sprint race, never predictable up to the checkered flag. In Zandvoort, the Netherlands, reigning champions Charles Weerts and Dries Vanthoor in an Audi R8 take victory in race-1, the fifth round of the GT World Challenge Europe championship. Second at 2 ” 8 Jules Gounon and Jim Pla in Mercedes-Amg GT. Valentino Rossi, author of a spin in the middle of the race, paired with Frédéric Vervisch, ends in 15th position after starting from box number 23. The event in the Netherlands on the same track that also hosts the Formula 1 GP ends with race- 2, Sunday 19 June, from 2 pm.


The demanding Dutch track, with continuous ups and downs, gradient changes, and low-grip asphalt, is the scene of a race-1 full of emotions for the 25 GT3 class cars entered in the test, which is part of the Sprint Cup. In the first part The Audi R8 number 32 of Weerts and Vanthoor – the first was at the wheel in the first stint – immediately stands out, starting from pole position, with the Ferrari 488 (AF Corse) of De Pauw and Jean number 53, registered in Silver class, second (took 3rd). Third Gounon and Pla in the number 88 Mercedes, who recovered two positions in the opening stages. In the first stint of the race on Mercedes number 89 (Akkodis) Boguslavskiy, author of the 14th time in qualifying, lost a couple of positions and on the occasion of the obligatory pit stop he gave the wheel to Raffaele Marciello (the crew is the leader in the standings ) which, at the end of the round of stops, is 15 °. In the second part of the race we see a lot of tussle, with the Audi number 32 holding its head firmly. Marciello and Mattia Drudi (Audi) put on a show for the 12th position: at this juncture a contact between the two causes the Mercedes driver to end up in the gravel, puncturing the front right: back in the pits for the replacement, he will close in last position.


For the Rossi and Vervisch crew, race-1 at Zandvoort began “uphill”: the nine-time world champion rider had signed the 20th time in qualifying, on Saturday morning, but suffered a three-position penalty for obstructing another car. Rossi, at the wheel in the first stint, then started from box number 23 on the grid, managing to recover some positions in his half hour of racing: the overtaking earned him 21st position against Mercedes number 93. 40 minutes from the end, however, the “Doctor” hit the internal curb in a right-hand bend, losing grip and ending up in a spin. After the spectacular 360 ° spin, Rossi took the asphalt escape route and returned to the track, penultimate 44 ” behind the leader, Weerts. Once the number 46 Audi was entrusted to Vervisch, with the pit stop 29 minutes from the checkered flag, the Belgian driver climbed back up the slope, showing a good pace and finishing 15th at 21”723 from the head.


“It is very difficult to start from behind, as it happened to us today – said Valentino Rossi after the first race -, then I had a good pace, but in turn 8 I unfortunately made a mistake, and for this I lost a lot. I knew that this weekend was going to be very difficult for me, and that making mistakes is very easy. But in the second stint Fred did very well, recovering many positions, and so we managed to finish in the top-15 ”.


  1. C. Weerts-D. Vanthoor, Audi (Wrt) number 32, 28 laps
  2. J. Gounon-J. Pla, Mercedes (Akkodis) number 88, + 2 ” 812
  3. S. Gachet-C. Haase, Audi (Tresor) number 11, + 5 ” 166
  4. U. De Pauw-P. Jean, Ferrari (AF Corse) number 53, + 8”604
  5. A. Panis-P. Niederhauser, Audi (Sainteloc) number 25, + 8 ” 944

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