The 2021 GT World Challenge Europe Sprint Cup season wrapped up with two lively one-hour races at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia on Sunday.
For Alexander West and Jonny Adam, the first race was tough as their title challenge ended on Lap 1 but they recovered to take a determined second place in class in Race 2. Tuomas Tujula and Nicolai Kjærgaard also retired from Race 1 but regrouped and took eighth in class second time out.
West and Adam went into the Valencia weekend with a shot at winning the Sprint Cup championship. It was important for the #188 crew to take a good haul of points in Race 1 but the dream was over before the end of Lap 1 when West was side-swiped hard by another car. The race had got off to an aggressive start and West had managed to gain a few places but he was left with nowhere to go when a Ferrari hit a Mercedes, pushing that into the side of the #188 Vantage, tipping it into a spin and early retirement.
Team mates Tujula and Kjærgaard had a similarly troubled Race 1. Tujula took the start and was busy gaining positions when he was forced off the track and was unlucky to pick up a puncture. After pitting for new rubber he rejoined at the back of the field to begin his recovery drive. Just two laps later, while making a move for an overtake into Turn 1 the other car turned into the Vantage, causing another puncture so the team decided to retire the car and regroup for Race 2.
Kjærgaard finally managed to get in some race laps in Race 2, making up for lost time by gaining four positions over an equal number of laps. He handed the #159 Vantage over to Tujula at the halfway point and the Finn brought it home eighth in class.
“We suffered a lot from tyre degradation on both stints,” said Tujula. “I’m happy about the performance on the first half of my stint as we clearly had pace but the drop off was just too much for us to handle this time.”
In the #188 Vantage, Jonny Adam had a great getaway in Race 2. The Aston Martin works driver steadily made his way up through the order and actually took the lead of the race momentarily before the handover. West jumped in to continue the good work and put in a strong stint before bringing the #188 Aston Martin across the line in second place in the Pro-Am class.
“What happened in Race 1 was so disappointing.,” said Adam. “Alex was going really well and just got taken out. It took a massive effort from the team to get the #188 Vantage repaired in time for Race 2 so it was great to be able to reward them with a trophy. We’ve had seven out of 10 possible Sprint Cup podiums this year, which wasn’t enough for the championship, but it shows how far Alex has come as this was his first season of sprint racing. “
The final round of the 2021 GT World Challenge Europe is an Endurance Cup round, which takes place in Barcelona in two weeks’ time.