Poles, victory and titles: the 2019 season comes to a close with another success!
The final round of the 2019 Blancpain GT Series, which took place in Barcelona in warm and sunny conditions, had more than its fair share of twists, turns and surprises. As far as the AKKA-ASP clan was concerned, one more pole position, followed by another Silver Cup victory, confirmed the team’s supremacy in the category throughout the season. Nico Bastian and AKKA-ASP are the 2019 Overall Silver Cup Champions while the team also claimed the Team titles in Endurance and World GT Challenge Europe. As far as the drivers were concerned, Nico Bastian, Timur Boguslavskiy and Felipe Fraga won the Endurance Silver Cup while Nico Bastian and Thomas Neubauer were victorious in the World GT Challenge Europe Silver Cup. During this final three-hour race, Raffaele Marciello, Michael Meadows and Vincent Abril (#88) were up in the Top 5 and then in the Top 3. Unfortunately, contact, followed by a puncture, forced the crew to retire fifteen minutes from the chequered flag, depriving the team of a likely podium. For the trio in the #87, Jim Pla, Mauro Ricci and Jean-Luc Beaubelique, they claimed another pole in the Pro-AM category but were not able to convert this into a podium during a race full of incidents. The curtain now comes down on the 2019 Blancpain GT Series 2019, an intense season which was once more crowned with success for Team AKKA-ASP.
Having won at the Catalan circuit in 2016 and 2017, Team AKKA-ASP would have liked to reconnect with victory in 2019, and this final round of the 2019 Blancpain GT Series started off in the best conditions.
During free practice, the trio at the wheel of the #88, Raffaele Marciello, Michael Meadows and Vincent Abril, set the third-fastest time, promising a fine battle at the front. As competitive as usual, the crew of the #90 Nico Bastian, Timur Boguslavskiy and Felipe Fraga, were up in the Top 5, leading the Silver Cup, while in Pro-AM, Jean Luc Beaubelique, Mauro Ricci and Jim Pla were second fastest and 12th overall.
During pre-qualifying, the #88 was 5th, the #90 was 15th and the #87th third in Pro-AM.
On Sunday morning, qualifying started off at a high pace, and Raffaele Marciello made his ambitions clear by setting the fastest time in Q1. Lap after lap, the drivers applied themselves with determination.
At the end of the session, the average of the times set by each driver was to give the verdict. The #88 was eighth, to start from the fourth row of the grid. Remarkably competitive, the crew of the #90 set the pole position in the Silver Cup, 10th overall. Pole in Pro-Am went to the #87, 31st overall after a magnificent Q1 performance from Jim Pla (P4). Everything was looking good…
On Sunday afternoon, at three pm, the skies were blue, temperatures were summery and there was no sign of clouds. No fewer than 46 cars lined up on the grid. At this circuit, where overtaking is complicated, the race and tyre management was going to be of strategic importance.
The race started at a blistering pace. At the front, the first few metres were already hotly disputed. A major incident took place even more the first lap had finished, meaning that the safety car came out after only three minutes! This might have been the first safety car intervention, but it was far to be the last…
Final round - BARCELONA
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