ROWE Racing Dominates GT World Challenge Europe at Monza: Full Race Recap

#98 - Rowe Racing - Philipp ENG - Marco WITTMANN - Nicholas YELLOLY - BMW M4 GT3 - PRO, Race | © SRO / Kevin Pecks 1VIER
#98 – Rowe Racing – Philipp ENG – Marco WITTMANN – Nicholas YELLOLY – BMW M4 GT3 – PRO, Race | © SRO / Kevin Pecks 1VIER
Last Updated on September 1, 2023

The 3 Hours of Monza witnessed a dominant performance by ROWE Racing, as they achieved a one-two finish and handed BMW its first Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup victory in five years.

Philipp Eng, Marco Wittmann, and Nick Yelloly led from start to finish in their pole-sitting No. 98 BMW M4 GT3, finishing 13.5 seconds ahead of teammates Dan Harper, Neil Verhagen, and Max Hesse.

It seemed that a BMW 1-2-3 result was on the cards, but an issue with the left-front Pirelli tire on Dries Vanthoor’s No. 32 Team WRT car forced it into the pits.

This promoted the No. 63 Iron Lynx Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2 of Jordan Pepper, Andrea Caldarelli, and Mirko Bortolotti to third place, with Bortolotti just managing to secure a podium finish ahead of Sainteloc Junior Team Audi driver Patric Niederhauser.

First Win for BMW M4 GT3 in GTWC Europe Endurance Cup

The race marked the first win for the BMW M4 GT3 in the GTWC Europe Endurance Cup and brought the Munich-based manufacturer to the top step of the series podium for the first time since the 2018 CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa. Eng led the season-opening race from pole position, holding off Valentino Rossi in the first chicane.

Maro Engel managed to propel the Mercedes-AMG Team Al Manar Racing from seventh to third, overtaking van der Linde and Harper in the process.

Two safety car periods impacted the opening hour of the race. The first occurred due to an accident at the start, when GetSpeed Mercedes-AMG driver Florian Scholze tangled with Samantha Tan’s Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020, causing them both to crash into the barriers.

Another interruption took place 20 minutes into the race when Iron Lynx driver Rolf Ineichen went off-line to avoid an Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II that missed its braking point into the Rettifilio chicane, which led to a collision between Lorenzo Patrese and Kay van Berlo.

Unraveling Hopes for Valentino Rossi

Engel managed to pass Rossi at the second restart half an hour into the race, but the former MotoGP star kept pace with the leaders and even set the fastest lap of the stint.

However, Rossi’s hopes of a maiden GTWC Europe podium fell apart when he ran too deep at Rettifilio, activating the anti-stall system on his BMW and costing him 12 positions.

The No. 46 car retired shortly after when Augusto Farfus encountered a left-rear puncture at the start of his turn.

Despite the setbacks, the BMWs continued their strong performance at the head of the field. Yelloly emerged from the pits with a three-second lead over Vanthoor. Although the gap closed slightly, Yelloly remained in control.

His lead suddenly increased when Vanthoor made an unscheduled stop for a new left-front tire, ensuring a one-two result for ROWE.

Comtoyou Racing Triumphs in Gold Cup Series Debut

#21 - Comtoyou Racing - Nicolas BAERT - Max HOFER - Maxime SOULET - Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II - GOLD, Race | © SRO / Kevin Pecks 1VIER
#21 – Comtoyou Racing – Nicolas BAERT – Max HOFER – Maxime SOULET – Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II – GOLD, Race | © SRO / Kevin Pecks 1VIER

In their series debut, the Gold Cup-winning Audi of Max Hofer, Nicolas Baert, and Maxime Soulet secured a win for TCR team Comtoyou Racing.

The team battled with the No. 30 WRT BMW for much of the race before pulling ahead after the final round of pit stops. The WRT team instead found themselves in a duel with Optimum Motorsport’s McLaren 720S GT3 Evo, which finished second after a Dean MacDonald move on Jean-Baptiste Simmenauer.

Comtoyou Racing also claimed victory in the Silver Cup with Loris Hezemans, Sam Dejonghe, and Finlay Hutchison.

The new Bronze Cup class saw top honors go to the Pure Rxcing Porsche crew of Klaus Bachler, Joel Sturm, and Alex Malykhin, while Barwell Motorsport prevailed in Pro-Am after Francesco Guerra was turned around by Andrea Bertolini, who received a 10-second penalty.

A Dream Sunday for ROWE Racing

ROWE Racing had a dream Sunday at Monza, with the No. 98 BMW M4 GT3 dominating the first race of the 2023 season and the Endurance Cup. While the No. 32 Team WRT BMW M4 GT3 posed a threat, a puncture on the left-front tire with less than 30 minutes remaining in the race allowed the No. 98 team to breathe easy.

With the Team WRT car out of the way, ROWE Racing managed the end of the race to secure a one-two finish with the No. 998 finishing second.

The Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2 No. 63 of Iron Lynx (Bortolotti-Caldarelli-Pepper) completed the podium, while the No. 32 eventually finished in sixth place, nearly 45 seconds behind.

This victory marks the first time since the 2018 24 Hours of Spa and the first time in a 3-hour Endurance Cup race since the Paul-Ricard 2013 (June 30) that BMW has claimed victory.

Back then, the German manufacturer was racing the legendary Z4. The Comtoyou Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II No. 21 took the win in Gold, while the No. 12 secured victory in Silver.

In the new Bronze category, Pure Rxcing (Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) No. 911) took the win, while Barwell Motorsport (Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2 No. 78) triumphed in Pro-Am.

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Full Results GT World Europe – Monza 2023

RankCarClassTeam DriverBest LapN° LapsPit Stops
198PRORowe Racing (BMW M)
Yelloly Nick
1:47.532 65942
2998PRORowe Racing (BMW M)
Hesse Max
1:47.850 68942
363PROIron Lynx (Lamborghini)
Bortolotti Mirko
1:47.540 64942
425PROSainteloc Junior Team (Audi)
Niederhauser Patric
1:47.452 91942
540PROTresor Orange 1 (Audi)
Drudi Mattia
1:48.004 20942
632PROTeam WRT (BMW M)
Vanthoor Dries
1:47.574 64943
721GoldComtoyou Racing (Audi)
Soulet Maxime
1:47.803 29942
851PROAF Corse – Francorchamps Motors (Ferrari)
Shwartzman Robert
1:47.780 22942
954PRODinamic GT Huber Racing (Porsche)
Müller Sven
1:48.007 35942
1096PRORutronik Racing (Porsche)
Preining Thomas
1:47.234 76942
115GoldOptimum Motorsport (McLaren)
Macdonald Dean
1:47.806 69942
1230GoldTeam WRT (BMW M)
Simmenauer Jean-Baptiste
1:48.035 28942
1387PROMercedes-AMG Team Akkodis ASP (Mercedes-AMG)
Drouet Thomas
1:48.301 28942
1471PROAF Corse – Francorchamps Motors (Ferrari)
Fuoco Antonio
1:47.933 60942
15911BronzePure Rxcing (Porsche)
Bachler Klaus
1:48.091 32942
1612SilverComtoyou Racing (Audi)
Dejonghe Sam
1:47.972 56942
1793BronzeSKY – Tempesta Racing (McLaren)
Cheever Eddie
1:47.991 66942
1879BronzeHaupt Racing Team (Mercedes-AMG)
Maini Arjun
1:48.505 67942
19159PROGarage 59 (McLaren)
Kirchhöfer Marvin
1:48.084 65942
2091BronzeHerberth Motorsport (Porsche)
Renauer Robert
1:47.990 62942
21188BronzeGarage 59 (McLaren)
Chaves Henrique
1:47.827 68942
2235BronzeWalkenhorst Motorsport (BMW M)
Kell James
1:47.895 41942
2357GoldWinward Racing (Mercedes-AMG)
Ellis Philip
1:48.327 88932
2444BronzeCLRT (Porsche)
Palette Steven
1:48.299 33932
2590SilverMadpanda Motorsport (Mercedes-AMG)
Perez Companc Ezequiel
1:48.862 67932
26157GoldWinward Racing (Mercedes-AMG)
Zug Marius
1:48.631 67932
2758SilverGRT Grasser Racing Team (Lamborghini)
Neary Sam
1:48.809 28932
2883BronzeIron Dames (Lamborghini)
Gatting Michelle
1:48.081 48932
2931BronzeTeam WRT (BMW M)
Proctor Lewis
1:48.386 16932
3078PAMBarwell Motorsport (Lamborghini)
Lind Dennis
1:48.285 63932
3166BronzeTresor Attempto Racing (Audi)
Pereira Dylan
1:48.322 68932
3215PAMBMW Italia Ceccato Racing (BMW M)
Guerra Francesco
1:48.737 16932
3310SilverBoutsen VDS (Audi)
Cola Andrea
1:49.238 44932
3462BronzeTeam Parker Racing (Porsche)
Jewiss Kiern
1:48.527 66932
358BronzeAGS Events (Lamborghini)
Jamin Nicolas
1:48.317 68932
3652BronzeAF Corse (Ferrari)
Bertolini Andrea
1:48.184 65932
37888BronzeCSA Racing (Audi)
Rougier Arthur
1:47.671 64935
3881BronzeTheeba Motorsport (Mercedes-AMG)
Aron Ralf
1:49.105 33923
3956SilverDinamic GT Huber Racing (Porsche)
Di Amato Daniele
1:48.320 67922
4033SilverBullitt Racing (Aston Martin)
Leroux Romain
1:49.679 36913
4126SilverSainteloc Junior Team (Audi)
Evrard Paul
1:48.338 25873
422PAMGetSpeed (Mercedes-AMG)
Walker Aron
1:48.775 63822
4355BronzeDinamic GT Huber Racing (Porsche)
Barker Benjamin
1:47.997 62673
446PROK-Pax Racing (Lamborghini)
Mapelli Marco
1:47.702 35642
4588PROAKKODIS ASP Team (Mercedes-AMG)
Boguslavskiy Timur
1:47.920 26472
46777PROMercedes-AMG Team AlManar (Mercedes-AMG)
Schiller Fabian
1:47.865 29432
4746PROTeam WRT (BMW M)
Farfus Augusto
1:47.742 17302
4824PAMCar Collection Motorsport (Porsche)
Leutwiler Niki
1:49.806 14160
4911PROComtoyou Racing (Audi)
Vervisch Frederic
1:48.618 13152
5099SilverTresor Attempto Racing (Audi)
Patrese Lorenzo
1:49.864 781
5119GoldIron Lynx (Lamborghini)
Ineichen Rolf
1:50.100 770
5285SilverGRT Grasser Racing Team (Lamborghini)
van Berlo Kay
1:50.115 770
539GoldBoutsen VDS (Audi)
Panis Aurelien
38PAMST Racing with Rinaldi (Ferrari)
Tan Samantha
3BronzeGetSpeed (Mercedes-AMG)
Scholze Florian
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