Chris Froggatt and Eddie Cheever claimed their third win of the season in the Pro-Am class of the GT World Challenge Europe Sprint Cup in the first of two races on Saturday at Zandvoort. The Sky Tempesta Racing crew enjoyed a perfect outing, finishing in ninth overall, while the AF Corse crew of reigning champions Bertolini-Machiels came fourth.
Choice. The low temperature – just 10 degrees – and the wet track set the scene for the sixty-minute race, although the rain soon gave way to the sun. This situation led some teams to opt for slicks, betting on the draining capacity of the Zandvoort asphalt. However, the Ferraris of Machiels and Froggatt made a convincing start in wets with the Belgian climbing to sixth overall ahead of the British driver, even though the AF Corse man was more effective than his Sky Tempesta Racing rival in the early stages. However, the situation changed fifteen minutes in when Froggatt upped his pace to close the gap on Machiels, passing him to take the class lead with thirty-five minutes to go. Three minutes later Bertolini replaced Machiels in no. 52 and kept the rain tyres while Cheever, who took over from Froggatt, decided to mount slicks.
Return. The explosion of the left rear tyre on Giacomo Altoè’s Lamborghini left debris in the middle of the straight, removed during a swift Full Course Yellow. After the restart, Bertolini engaged in a spectacular duel with Albert Costa’s Lamborghini for fourth place overall. The Italian also tried to hold off a comeback from Nick Foster’s Mercedes which was significantly faster with slicks, while Cheever clocked similar times to Bertolini. Bertolini had to give way fifteen minutes from the end as his wets didn’t allow him a comparable pace to the slick drivers. Indeed, Eddie Cheever caught the group and emerged victorious out of an exciting four-man battle with the Italian driver, Foster, Gounon and Neubauer. Three minutes from the chequered flag, after countless swapping of positions, wheel-to-wheel cornering and changes of trajectory, Eddie Cheever passed Foster to take the lead in the Pro-Am class and ninth overall. The chequered flag froze the standings with the championship leaders on the top step of the podium for the third time, while Andrea Bertolini and Louis Machiels finished the race in fourth.
Appointments. Race-2 is scheduled to start at 1:45 pm today.