Tales from the paddock: Imola calling! European F1 campaign begins, plus customer sport successes from around the world

Apr 20, 2022
Stuttgart

While Formula One gears up for the first European race of the year, the Mercedes-AMG Customer Teams have been busy racking up more successes around the world

  • This is what happened: Results and facts
  • News from the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport teams
  • Social media news: What's new online?

This is what happened: Results and facts

  • GT World Challenge America: Runner-up spots for the Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the two races at Sonoma
  • Pirelli GT4 America: Two Top Three finishes for the Mercedes-AMG GT4 at Sonoma Raceway
  • British GT Championship: Three podiums for the Mercedes-AMG GT3 at Oulton Park Circuit
  • Super GT: Third place for the Mercedes-AMG GT3 at the Okayama International Circuit
  • GT4 France: Victory for the Mercedes-AMG GT4 in the second race at Nogaro

News snippets

Imola, here we come: Formula One returns to the European continent next weekend (22 ‑ 24 April 2022) with the staging of the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix at Imola. This fourth round of the 2022 campaign is the first of the year on European soil. The tradition-steeped Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari circuit returned to the F1 itinerary in 2020, with the revived fixture being designated the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix. This is now set to be contested for the third year in a row. The 4.9km circuit has previously hosted the Italian Grand Prix (1980) and the San Marino Grand Prix (1981 ‑ 2006). The record winner at Imola is Michael Schumacher with a tally of seven victories. Lewis Hamilton won the race for the first time on its return to the F1 calendar in the 2020 season. It was also the first win for a Silver Arrow at Imola. The only other victory for a Mercedes-powered car at the circuit was achieved by McLaren's David Coulthard in the 1998 season. Williams and Ferrari lead the team statistics with eight victories each. In terms of pole positions, the legendary Ayrton Senna leads the way on eight, ahead of Schumacher on five. Lewis (2021) and Valtteri Bottas (2020) each booked a pole for the Mercedes works team in the last two years. The team that has recorded the most poles (nine) is McLaren.

Mercedes-AMG starts 2022 GT World Challenge America with two podium finishes: The new GT World Challenge America season began last weekend with two 90-minute races at the 4.05km Sonoma Raceway. Four Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing teams travelled to the curtain-raiser in Northern California, bringing a total of five Mercedes-AMG GT3s to the grid. Steven Aghakhani (USA) and Loris Spinelli (ITA) driving the number 6 US RaceTronics car put in an impressive performance in Saturday's opening race to advance from fourth on the grid to second place at the chequered flag. Their result was matched in the Pro-Am class by the pairing of Colin Braun and George Kurtz (USA) in the number 4 Mercedes-AMG GT3 of CrowdStrike Racing by Riley Motorsports. In Sunday's race, the duo carried on where they had left off, finishing third and delivering another class podium for the team.

WINWARD Racing also made a successful start to the new season, thanks to their two experienced drivers in the cockpit of the number 33 Mercedes-AMG GT3. After a P5 in the general classification on Saturday, Philip Ellis (SUI) and Russell Ward (USA), went into Sunday's race from sixth position, from where they steadily worked their way forward to ultimately celebrate second place on the podium.

Three further overall podiums in the supporting programme round off a successful weekend: The season opener of GT4 America shared the billing at Sonoma Raceway last weekend. Gavin Sanders (CAN) and Michai Stephens (USA) of Conquest Racing / JWF Motorsports quickly got the tyres of their number 34 Mercedes-AMG GT4 up to operating temperature to claim the overall runner-up spot in both races and make an almost perfect start to the season.

The second round of the 2022 GT America was contested in the framework of the GT World Challenge America weekend. George Kurtz driving the number 4 CrowdStrike Racing by Riley Motorsports GT3 contributed another podium finish with a P2, while Chris Ragnazzi (USA) in the #39 Cameron Racing GT4 took an additional class podium for second place in the GT4 category.

Silver-Am class win for Team ABBA Racing at British GT opener: The father-son duo of Richard and Sam Neary (both GBR) sharing the wheel of the number 8 Team ABBA Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 got their 2022 campaign off to the best possible start: after finishing fifth in the Silver Am classification in Race 1 of the British GT Championship at Oulton Park Circuit, the duo excelled themselves in the second sprint race on Monday, taking a well-deserved victory in class with second place overall.

RAM Racing, who are fielding two Mercedes-AMG GT3s this year, one in the Pro-Am and one in the Silver-Am classification, put in a remarkable team performance to deliver three further class podiums. Making his debut in the series, Mercedes-AMG Performance driver Jules Gounon (FRA) partnered by GT veteran Ian Loggie (GBR) in the #6 car took second place in the Pro-Am classification in both one-hour races. Jamie Lee Caroline (GBR) and John Ferguson (IRL) likewise finished the first race as runners-up in the Silver-Am classification, a feat matched by SKY - Tempesta Racing's Chris Froggatt (GBR) and Kevin Tse (MAC) in Race 2.

Overall victory for AKKODIS ASP Team in GT4 France: Hugo Chevalier and Enzo Joulié (both FRA) got their GT4 France season off to a great start with an overall victory. After securing a Top Ten finish in the first of two 60-minute races at Circuit Paul Armagnac, the French pairing in the number 87 AKKODIS ASP Team Mercedes-AMG GT4 chalked up a noteworthy lights-to-flag victory in Monday's race. Thomas Drouet and Paul Evrard (FRA) in the #88 sister car narrowly missed out on the podium on both Sunday and Monday, crossing the finish line in fourth place overall in each race, which was at least enough to give them second place in the Silver classification in Race 1.

In the coming weeks, we can look forward to yet more high-calibre racing as the ADAC GT Masters and the DTM get their new seasons underway. To mark the DTM season opener in Portimão (Portugal) on 30th April, internet sports channel ran.de will be showing a three-part documentary about Haupt Racing Team and Maximilian Götz's (GER) path to the 2021 DTM drivers' championship title. Ran.de will show the first 15-minute episode on 23rd April, with parts two and three to follow on 26 and 29 April respectively.

Social Media News

#Imola: Imola, here we come. Reigning F1 Esports champion Jarno Opmeer talks through how to master a hot lap of the Imola F1 track!

Watch video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tMHMApIiO0

#4 Mercedes-AMG GT3, 2 Seas Motorsport
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#6 Mercedes-AMG GT3, RAM Racing
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Lewis Williamson and James Cottingham, #4 Mercedes-AMG GT3, 2 Seas Motorsport, and Ian Loggie and Callum MacLeod, #6 Mercedes-AMG GT3, RAM Racing
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Gavin Sanders and Michai Stephens, #34 Mercedes-AMG GT4, Conquest Racing / JWF Motorsports, at the podium ceremony
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#87 Mercedes-AMG GT4, AKKODIS ASP Team
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#34 Mercedes-AMG GT4, Conquest Racing / JWF Motorsports
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#15 Mercedes-AMG GT3, 2 Seas Motorsport
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#77 Mercedes-AMG GT4, NM Racing Team
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Hugo Chevalier and Enzo Joulié, #87 Mercedes-AMG GT4, AKKODIS ASP Team
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#04 Mercedes-AMG GT3, CrowdStrike Racing by Riley Motorsports
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#88 Mercedes-AMG GT4, AKKODIS ASP Team
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#39 Mercedes-AMG GT4, Cameron Racing
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#6 Mercedes-AMG GT3, US RaceTronics
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#6 Mercedes-AMG GT3, US RaceTronics, und Mercedes-AMG GT3, WINWARD Racing #33
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#63 Mercedes-AMG GT3, DXDT Racing
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#04 Mercedes-AMG GT3, CrowdStrike Racing by Riley Motorsports
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