Alexander West and Jonny Adam are celebrating their closest win yet after taking victory in the GT World Challenge Europe Sprint Cup race at Misano in Italy today. West crossed the line in the #188 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 just 0.001s ahead of the competition to take the Pro-Am class victory. This result extends the overall Pro-Am championship lead for West, Adam and the Garage 59 team.
An incident-filled Race 1 on Saturday produced a podium finish for West and Adam in the #188 Vantage. West started the race from fourth place in the Pro-Am class and just a few laps in, two of the Pro-Am protagonists ended up in the gravel, allowing Alex to move up to second place in class. He held this position until the pit window opened and it was time to hand over the Vantage to Adam, who brought it home in second, just shy of the class winner.
Tuomas Tujula started Race 1 in the Silver Cup entered #159 Vantage and his impressive opening stint saw the Finn move from seventh to fifth in the super competitive Silver class before the pit window opened. Nicolai Kjærgaard jumped in to continue to fight but tangled with the #107 Bentley a few laps later, with the resulting damage forcing the #159 Vantage to retire from the race.
The big results came for the Garage 59 team on Sunday, starting with a stunning lap from Jonny Adam in Qualifying, which took the outright pole position; the first time a Pro-Am runner has done this in Sprint Cup. The fact that this was the Scot’s first trip to Misano makes this performance all the more impressive.
When the lights went green for Race 2, Adam bolted and didn’t look back, taking command of the race from the start. It was an outstanding drive from the Scot who pulled out a comfort gap from the chasing pack and held the lead until he pitted with 25 minutes to go to hand the #188 Vantage over to Alexander West.
West joined the race in 12th position, the drop from first place explained by the fact that Pro-Am class cars have to stop for a minimum time at the handover, which will always be longer than the Pro class runners who have no minimum. He set off on the drive of his life to keep the Vantage in the class lead and bring it home for the win. On the final lap of the race the second-placed Mercedes of Valentin Pierburg caught the Garage 59 Aston Martin. Despite having his mirrors full of Mercedes, West kept his cool and crossed the line as the winner, by just one-thousandth of a second!
“I actually made a small mistake at the last corner,” said West. “I could see Valentin (Pierburg) coming up on the side, getting closer and closer. Jonny did a fantastic job to give us the lead that I need so it was fantastic teamwork. Now we can look ahead to the 24 Hours of Spa, which is so important for our championship battle.”
“It was a drag race at the end,” said Adam. “I haven’t seen a finish like that in a long time. I’m so happy for the team and for Alex; to get our first Sprint Cup win this weekend has been superb. The team have worked so hard on the car and when I went out to qualify this morning the car just came alive so I want to thank them for all of their work.”
In the Silver Cup class #159 Aston Martin, Nicolai Kjærgaard and Tuomas Tujula were determined to improve on their sixth place qualifying position. They fought hard on every lap and finished a very creditable 13th overall, which was fifth in the Silver class.
“I think we got the maximum out of where we started from,” said Tujula. “The team did a mega job on the pit stop and we had strong race pace. Hopefully we can smash Qualifying at the following Sprint Cup rounds; the car clearly has the potential as Jonny showed today! Now we turn our full focus onto the 24 Hours of Spa.”
Next up for the team is the big one: the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa, which gets underway on 31 July.