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Ramos & Chaves are Sprint Cup runners-up

Miguel Ramos and Henrique Chaves took the runner-up spot in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Bronze Cup Sprint Championship for Garage 59, after finishing third and fifth in class in the #188 McLaren in a double-header of races in Valencia.

In the #159 McLaren, Benjamin Goethe and Nicolai Kjærgaard earned a pair of Pro Cup Top 10 finishes, with ninth place overall on Saturday and 10th in class on Sunday.

It was Henriques Chaves behind the wheel of the #188 McLaren for the start of Race 1. The Portuguese driver had qualified the car in a creditable eighth place overall, which was third in Bronze Cup. A chaotic start further back meant that the Safety Car was deployed on Lap 1 and, as the order settled, Henrique came around in 10th place, still third in class but stuck behind Christian Klien in the #10 McLaren. Fighting in identical machinery always makes it harder and Chaves had to bide his time until Klien peeled off when the pit window opened. After pitting to hand the car over to Miguel, the #188 rejoined in 18th place, still third in class. Ramos set his sights on the second-placed Bronze Cup car but a 5-second post-race penalty for track limit infringements stunted his charge as the Top 3 Bronze cars were covered by just one-second in the closing laps. A lunge just wouldn’t have been worth the risk so the #188 McLaren crossed the line third in class.

Over in the #159 McLaren, Nicolai Kjærgaard had made a clean start but the usual pushing and shoving had dropped him one place to eighth in class when the Safety Car came out. When the race went green he got stuck in, holding his position until the switch to Goethe. Benji also had a strong run and brought the car home in ninth place overall, which was also ninth in the Pro Cup order.

The day dawned wet on Sunday for Race 2 but after a soggy Qualifying session, the race itself was run in dry conditions.

It was Benji’s turn to start in the #159 McLaren and he lined up in 15th overall, which was eighth in the Pro Cup class. Miguel was behind the wheel of the #188, back in 29th but in third place in Bronze Cup. Just as in Race 1, the Safety Car had to be deployed on Lap 1 as not everyone made it through the first few turns unscathed but the Garage 59 McLarens were off and running.

Both drivers made good progress during the opening stint before handing over to their team mates. Once all the cars had completed a pit stop and the order settled, Kjærgaard was 14th in the #159, while Chaves was 23rd in the #188, second place in Bronze Cup and trying everything he could to catch and pass the #911 Porsche, the championship leader. Ultimately the Portuguese driver ran out of time and when another car ran into the back of him on the final lap he was forced to run wide, which let a few cars through and then he was hit again at the final corner! He finished fifth in class.

Chaves said: “We tried everything as a team and pushed the limits on everything we could but we were just not competitive compared to the Porsches. Obviously, the goal wasn’t to be runner-up but that’s what we got. We have to look at the positives and take heart from the fact that we gave it everything we could. With the championship being so short this year there was no room for error and we had a bad weekend at Hockenheim but we will keep our heads up and look forward to finishing on a high in Barcelona!”

Next up for Garage 59 is the penultimate round of GT World Challenge Europe, an Endurance round, held in Barcelona on October 1st.


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