The first race weekend of the all new Fanatec GT2 European Series is in the books – and the show put on by the teams with their super sports cars from Audi, Ferrari, KTM, Lamborghini and Porsche in the royal park of Monza was well worth to watch in both races, so the tough opening test can be described as extremely successful.
A close battle between the brands and teams was already apparent in qualifying on Friday afternoon, with the first ten drivers within less than two seconds in the first session. Best KTM driver was veteran Hans-Joachim "Strietzel" Stuck, who was able to put his Reiter Engineering KTM X-BOW GTX in fifth position on the grid, closely followed by Swiss Christoph Ulrich in the Sportec KTM X-BOW GTX. The best True Racing KTM X-BOW GTX was qualified by Klaus Angerhofer for grid position eight, while the two Pro-AM cars (Sehdi Sarmini for True Racing and Rupert Atzberger for Reiter Engineering) were unfortunately relegated to the last two grid positions due to a misunderstanding within the team, the pilots were at the wheel of their KTM X-BOW GTX in the wrong session in each case. The same was true for the second qualifying session, which meant that Peter Kox and Stefan Rosina found themselves at the end of the grid, although they would have taken first and second place in qualifying. Thus Kris Rosenberger for Reiter Engineering held second place on the grid, Adrian Spescha was right behind him in third place, while KTM board member Hubert Trunkenpolz took ninth place on the grid.
The premiere race on Saturday offered thrilling GT racing over a distance of 50 minutes, in which the KTM teams also fought for the podium places in both classifications. Best KTM X-BOW GTX was the True Racing pairing of Sehdi Sarmini/Stefan Rosina, who secured fifth place overall and third in the Pro-AM classification with a strong finish. The AM classification was particularly close. There, the Swiss pairing Christoph Ulrich/Adrian Spescha were the fastest KTM X-BOW GTX duo, closely followed by Hubert Trunkenpolz/Klaus Angerhofer, which meant that two of three KTM teams were on the podium in the AM classification. Hans-Joachim Stuck/Kris Rosenberger, on the other hand, were unable to turn their good grid position into a success after "Strietzel" spun off the track in spectacular fashion at the Variante Ascari shortly before the start of the pit stops, hitting the guard rail very lightly. Stuck managed to get the KTM X-BOW GTX back into the pits, but a broken tie rod marked the end of his and Rosenbergers race.
The second and final race of the weekend followed on Sunday morning - with excellent grid positions for the KTM X-BOW GTX from Reiter Engineering and Sportec: already qualified for second and third place on the grid, the two were able to start without any competitors in front of them after the pole sitter had to bring his Lamborghini into the pits with a technical problems even before the start. What followed was a KTM X-BOW GTX spectacle in a class of its own: Kris Rosenberger and Adrian Spescha engaged in a hard-fought duel on and off the track that lasted several laps and made the hearts of the Sportec and Reiter-Engineering team members stop several times. The duel was temporarily decided by a spectacular spin - once again at the exit of the "Variante Ascari" - by Spescha, who was able to miraculously catch his KTM X-BOW GTX and immediately bring it back under control without hitting anything. Rosenberger handed over to "Strietzel" Stuck at the mandatory pit stop, but the duo lost a lot of time there and fell far behind. Unfortunately, the three other X-BOW teams did not perform much better, albeit for different reasons. Sportec had minimally undercut the minimum pit stop time and was sanctioned with a Stop&Go penalty, while both True Racing cars were given a drive-through penalty for pitlane speeding. Unfortunately, this left the duo Sehdi Sarmini/Stefan Rosina in fifth place in the Pro-AM standings. Things looked better in the AM classification after 50 minutes of racing though: There, the Sportec team with Christoph Ulrich and Adrian Spescha led a KTM one-two-three ahead of Hans-Joachim Stuck/Kris Rosenberger (Reiter Engineering) and Hubert Trunkenpolz/Klaus Angerhofer (True Racing).
KTM board member Hubert Trunkenpolz was not completely satisfied with True Racing's results, but was very positive overall: "The start has been made, and extremely impressively so. We have seen spectacular racing with great cars in both classes. Together with SRO and Audi, Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche we have opened a new chapter in GT racing this weekend. Many thanks to Stephane Ratel and our competitors, I am convinced that the GT2 European Series will have a great future ahead."
The next round of the GT2 European Series will follow in less than a month, when the field of spectacular super sports cars will make its appearance at the next traditional race track, more precisely at the Motodrom of Hockenheim on 14th and 15th of May 2021.