The GT4 European Series returns to Italy’s Adriatic coast with a 35-car grid for the fourth round of the season at the 4.226 km Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, the second Italian race weekend on the 2019 calendar.
It is the fifth time the GT4 European Series visits the Italian circuit and five drivers entered this weekend have claimed victories in recent years.
RN Vision STS’ Gabriele Piana and Ekris Motorsport’s Ricardo van der Ende secured two wins each on previous occasion, while Nicolaj Møller-Madsen, Liesette Braams and Jonathan Cecotto also secured class wins at the Italian track. In 2018, RN Vision STS and Equipe Verschuur shared the overall race wins. This weekend a total of 70 drivers in 35 cars will fight for victory on the flat and technical track located just outside the town of Misano Adriatico, in the Emilia-Romagna region.
EQUIPE VERSCHUUR LEADS 15-CAR SILVER CUP FIELD AT MISANO WORLD CIRCUIT
Despite a non-finish in the first race at Circuit Paul Ricard, Silver Cup leaders Equipe Verschuur will aim for the top again in Italy. The Dutch outfit won the second race one year ago and the #14 McLaren crew of Daniel McKay and Benjamin Lessennes will hope for more of the same as they seek to extend their championship lead.
The main opposition to the McLaren drivers comes from Brands Hatch Race winners Jan Kisiel and Max Koebolt (#4 Leipert Motorsport Mercedes), the #25 MDM Motorsport BMW of Alec Udell and Simon Knap, who scored a double victory at Paul Ricard, and Reinhard Kofler and Patric Niederhauser in the #16 True Racing KTM.
Ekris Motorsport’s own M4 GT4 will once again be driven by former Misano race winner Ricardo van der Ende and Euan McKay, while Phoenix Racing’s Nicolaj Møller-Madsen and Cedric Freiburghaus are eager to repeat the Dane’s 2017 victory, following a double non-finish in France. Møller-Madsen’s 2017 team, PROsport Performance, will run two Aston Martins for Florian Thoma, Akhil Rabindra, Jeremy Sarhy and David Griessner.
At the end of lap 13 Equipe Verschuur and Leipert Motorsport called their drivers in, but the extra laps didn’t help either of them of returning in front of the MDM Motorsport BMW, now driven by Alec Udell. In fact, the Ekris Motorsport team sent Ricardo van der Ende out too soon, resulting in a one-second stop and go penalty.
Pierre-Alexandre Jean will share the #9 CMR Alpine with Stéphane Lémeret in Italy, while Romain Monti and Alex Lambertz will be behind the wheel of the #66 Bullitt Racing Mercedes. Francesco Pastorelli will partner Duncan Huisman in the #69 V8 Racing Camaro again.
Completing the 15-car Silver Cup grid are entries from Street Art Racing (Darras/Vandenbalck), Academy Motorsport (Moore/Cowley), Valvoline – True Racing (Siljehaug/Hill) and MDM Motorsport (Bogaerts/Van der Aa).
LEIPERT MOTORSPORT DUO HEADS STANDINGS ON THE WAY TO MISANO
Luci Trefz and Marcus Paverud lead the Pro-Am standings at the halfway point of the season. The #2 Leipert Motorsport Mercedes crew scored in all six races this season and will be strong contenders once again at Misano.
They will face strong opposition from RN Vision STS drivers Marius Zug and Gabriele Piana, who was in excellent form during his last outings at the Italian circuit, taking home a win in 2017 and 2018, while the #35 Rédélé Competition Alpine of Gregoire Demoustier and Alain Ferté should also be in contention again at Misano.
Fresh from a win at Circuit Paul Ricard, Paolo Meloni will look to repeat that result in front of his home crowd. The W&D Racing Team driver, who lives just 20km away in Domagnano (San Marino), will share the #71 BMW with Massimiliano Tresoldi.
Allied-Racing will once again field two Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 CS MRs, with Constantin Schöll teaming up with Benjamin Mazatis in the #21 entry. Nicolas Schöll and Jan Kasperlik will race together in the #22 Porsche.
They will compete against the #61 Academy Motorsport Aston Martin of Fiona James and Tom Wood, the second Pro-Am team to have scored points in all races held this season. Schwede Motorsport’s Jan Rehnig and Dominik Schraml aim to bounce back after a disastrous weekend in France, while teammates Phillip Bethke and Marc Basseng aim to extend their points run.
Bronze-graded Jorge Cabezas Catalan joins Lluc Ibanez in the #15 NM Racing Team Ginetta, resulting in the team making its first start in the Pro-Am cup, while 2017 Misano race winner Jonathan Cecotto Jr joins 2018 Am Cup runner-up Alessandro Giovanelli in the #31 Selleslagh Racing Team Mercedes.
The 14-car Pro-Am field is completed by the #11 Borusan Otomotiv Motorsport BMW (Bolukbasi/Okyay), the #30 Selleslagh Mercedes (Dumarey/Glorieux) and the #33 Bullitt Racing Mercedes (Pattrick/Meyrick).
SIX CAR BATTLE IN AM CLASS AT MISANO WORLD CIRCUIT
Six cars will fight for honours in the Am class, currently led by the #17 Street Art Racing Aston Martin of Pascal Bachmann and Clement Seyler. Their main threat will likely be the #48 CMR Alpine of Eric Mouez and David Loger.
Liesette Braams, third in the Am standings and race winner in 2014, will once again team up with Gaby Uljee aboard the #11 Las Moras by Equipe Verschuur McLaren, while Jean-Luc Behets and Johan Vannerum will race the #32 Selleslagh Mercedes for the third time this season.
Rédélé Competition will add another car to the Am grid this weekend, having entered the #76 Alpine for Jean-Charles Rédélé and Laurent Coubard. Completing the field at Misano is the #99 razoon – more than racing KTM of Dominik Olbert and Önder Erdem.
Marcel ten Caat,
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