Class podium for SPS automotive performance at round two of the International GT Open

Dexter Müller and Yannick Mettler (both SUI) confirmed their good form at round two of the International GT Open at Circuit Paul Ricard: The Swiss duo finished third in the PROAM class in Saturday’s race to claim their second podium in this class at this early stage of the season. 

20 cars lined up at the circuit in the south of France, of which almost half were in the PROAM class. In Saturday’s qualifying session, Dexter Müller finished sixth in the class in the #54 Mercedes-AMG GT3. However, he started the race from one place further up the grid, as a rival car was demoted after the end of qualifying. 

The start of the 70-minute race was turbulent, with many changes of position throughout the field before the cars even made it to the first turn. Start driver Müller had to let two cars past, in order to avoid contact. As the race progressed, the field spread out a little. However, they bunched back together again following a safety car phase with 50 minutes remaining. 

The pit stop window opened shortly after. Many competitors opted to come in for an early driver changeover, including Müller, who handed the #54 car over to Yannick Mettler in P13. A quick stop allowed the team to gain one position, so that Mettler rejoined the race in P12. By the time all the cars had completed their mandatory pit stops, the SPS automotive performance Mercedes-AMG GT3 had climbed to P10. 

Mettler produced a strong performance in his stint and moved into eighth place overall with roughly 20 minutes of the race remaining. Shortly after, he managed to pass another two cars, meaning he went into the final few laps in P6. The Swiss was embroiled in a thrilling battle with the car in front in the final stages of the race, and finally overtook him on the last lap. That meant Mettler crossed the finish line in an outstanding fifth place overall after 33 laps of racing – a result that also earned the duo third place in the PROAM class. This is already the second podium in this class for the Swiss duo in this season’s International GT Open.

The start of Sunday’s race was more orderly than the previous day. Mettler, who had qualified seventh – P5 in the PROAM class – climbed two positions in the first two laps. However, he was then forced off the track by another car and dropped back to eighth overall. He then became involved in an intense battle with the car ahead of him, which lasted several laps, but was initially unable to overtake his rival. When the car in front came into the pits, Mettler stayed out and pulled off an overcut to take seventh place. 

Shortly before the end of the pit stop window, Mettler handed the #54 Mercedes-AMG GT3 over to his compatriot Müller. He performed solidly in his stint, but dropped two positions. Müller ended the race in ninth place overall and sixth in the PROAM class.

The third race weekend of the International GT Open takes place from 17th to 19th June 2022 at the legendary Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.

Stephan Sohn, team principal SPS automotive performance: “I am very proud of how our whole team performed. Two class podiums just two rounds into the season is not to be sniffed at. We have scored valuable points. We will now turn our focus to the endurance race in the GT World Challenge Europe in two weeks’ time, which is also here in Le Castellet.”

Yannick Mettler, #54 Mercedes-AMG GT3: “As in the opening race in Portimão, we again claimed a podium result in our class, so we are happy. We were not very lucky in the Sunday race, but fought hard to the finish and ended the weekend in sixth place in our class. We travel to Spa with optimism and will give it our all to finish on the on the podium again.”