SPS automotive performance recorded a points finish with both cars at the penultimate event in the Endurance Cup of the GT World Challenge Europe at the Nürburgring. After a turbulent final phase, Valentin Pierburg (GER), Dominik Baumann and Martin Konrad (both AUT) crossed the line in sixth place in the Pro-Am category in the Mercedes-AMG GT3 #20. In the Silver Cup, Yannick Mettler, Miklas Born (both SUI) and Jordan Love claimed seventh spot in the #40 car.
The penultimate race in the Endurance Cup of the GT World Challenge Europe took place in perfect conditions at the weekend. The qualifying session on the Grand Prix circuit of the legendary Nürburgring was once again a tight affair, characterised by heavy traffic that made it difficult for any drivers to post a good lap time. In the Pro-Am class, the Mercedes-AMG GT3 #20 with Valentin Pierburg, Dominik Baumann and Martin Konrad started the three-hour race from seventh on the grid, while Yannick Mettler, Miklas Born and Jordan Love had to be content with starting from tenth with the Mercedes-AMG GT3 #40 in the Silver Cup.
Dominik Baumann made a magnificent start in the Pro-Am class. It took just a few laps for Baumann to get the black Mercedes-AMG GT3 into the leading group and he managed to take the lead in the Pro-Am category just before the end of his stint, after a lap spent battling his rivals, before handing over to Valentin Pierburg during the pit stop. Pierburg stubbornly defended the lead but was forced back one spot eventually, heading for the pits in second place. The final stop saw Martin Konrad take the wheel of the black Mercedes-AMG GT3 #20 for the last stint. Konrad, competing in just his second race of the season for the team from Willsbach, continued to battle for a podium finish in the Pro-Am category. In a tumultuous final phase, which saw two appearances for the safety car, Konrad unfortunately slipped out of the podium positions to cross the finishing line in sixth position after completing 86 laps.
In an extremely competitive and hard-fought Silver Cup, starting driver Miklas Born overcame some minor incidents during his stint to make up two places in his class before handing over to Jordan Love. During his stint, Love was also continuously involved in battles for position with his rivals. Yannick Mettler, driving the silver Mercedes-AMG GT3 #40 for the final third of the race, slotted into ninth place after the last pit stops. Mettler improved by one position in his stint, but the two safety car phases prevented him from mounting an attack on the cars in front. The Swiss driver completed the three-hour race in eighth place in the Silver Cup. A retrospective time penalty then saw the trio classified in seventh position.
This result means that SPS automotive performance was able to score more valuable points in both classes in the Endurance Cup of the GT World Challenge Europe. A points finish will once again be the aim at the final race of the Endurance Cup season in Barcelona. Before that, the final races in the sprint championship are set to take place in Valencia on 25th and 26th September. Valentin Pierburg and Dominik Baumann still have a good chance of claiming the title in the Pro-Am standings.
Dominik Baumann, Mercedes-AMG GT3 #20: “Firstly, I have to say that I have never experienced such good weather at the Nürburgring for four straight days. The conditions were just perfect. I am very pleased with the weekend. In qualifying, I was able to reach P5 in the overall standings in my section. It felt good to do that again. We then adapted the strategy in the race so that I was the starting driver this time. This tactic paid off. I was battling for the lead for a long time – that was a lot of fun – and I was able to hand over the car in P1 in the class. Sadly, the safety car phases didn’t do us any favours towards the end and we slipped out of the podium positions. But we did show what is possible and we are approaching the final races of the season in a positive frame of mind.”
Yannick Mettler, Mercedes-AMG GT3 #40: “The weekend was a mix, with plenty of positives and some disappointment. In terms of pace, we were closer to the front than ever before. In the practice sessions, we were really competitive in the Silver Cup. Unfortunately, we were not able to convert those good performances into the results we had hoped for in qualifying. We will have to take another look at that to see what caused it. Apart from that, the car felt really good. If we can make everything come together in Barcelona, anything is possible.”