At the final round of the International GT Open at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Mikaeel Pitamber (RSA) and Dominik Baumann (AUT) in the #20 Mercedes-AMG GT3 celebrated the second win of the season for the Willsbach-based team in an extremely exciting race. In the PROAM category, Dexter Müller and Yannick Mettler (both SUI) in the #54 car finished the season in a good fourth position.
The team created a good starting position for the first race on Saturday. Yannick Mettler in the #53 Mercedes-AMG GT3 started from fourth overall, while Mikaeel Pitamber in the #20 sister car started the race from 10th place. Mettler made an exceptionally good start on the Spanish Grand Prix circuit. The Swiss turned into the first corner with the #54 in the lead. However, he was hit by a competitor who had received a blow when braking. Mettler spun off the track and was hit in the side by another car. This unfortunately ended the race prematurely for the #54 Mercedes-AMG GT3. The sister car was also the victim of an incident shortly afterwards. Mikaeel Pitamber at the wheel of the #20 tried to avoid a car in turn three, which spun off the track after contact with another competitor. Pitamber’s silver Mercedes-AMG GT3, unfortunately, was hit and also had to retire from the race after a short time.
The team managed to recover both Mercedes-AMG GT3s for the second race day. In qualifying for the Sunday’s second race, Dominik Baumann, who replaced Reece Barr in the #20 at short notice, drove to second on the grid. Team-mate Dexter Müller started the second race of the weekend from eighth on the PROAM category grid. At the start, Baumann defended his second position before the race was neutralised for an extended period in the first half by several safety car periods. Baumann handed over the #20 Mercedes-AMG GT3 in second place to Mikaeel Pitamber, who thus tackled the final stint of the season. At the end of the pit stop window, Pitamber was in the lead in the standings. Afterwards, an extremely exciting battle for the leading position developed over long periods. Pitamber brilliantly fended off all attacks from his competitors. After another safety car phase shortly before the end of the race, the final heat was released for another two laps. Here, too, Pitamber successfully defended himself and took the second win of the season for SPS automotive performance in 2023. In the PROAM category, Dexter Müller as the starting driver in the #54 initially drove to seventh position and fought with his competitors for positions. After the obligatory driver change, Yannick Mettler moved up a few positions with a strong performance. In the turbulent final phase, Mettler fought for the podium positions in the PROAM class in the last laps. At the end of the one-hour race, Mettler was finally classified in a good fourth position.
Mikaeel Pitamber, #20 Mercedes-AMG GT3: “A really crazy race. Dominik handed the car over to me in a very good position. It was really hard to resist the attacks. But a big compliment to the whole team who worked all night after yesterday’s incident to bring the car back. Thanks to everyone who has supported me.”
Dominik Baumann, #20 Mercedes-AMG GT3: “This weekend was the first time I’ve been back in a race car in a year. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to drive in race conditions yesterday. I did my best to hand the car over to Mikaeel in the good position. Mikaeel did an incredibly good job afterwards and defended the lead. I’m very happy about this great result, it was also a good comeback for me.”
Stephan Sohn, team principal SPS automotive performance: “We are really happy about the victory at the end of the season. The team did an exceptional job to get the cars ready to race again after the incidents yesterday. The drivers also showed a very strong performance today. With a race win and fourth place in the highly competitive PROAM class, we can be very happy this weekend.”