Two weeks after a rather uneventful Kyalami race, the Friday GT Sprint Challenge organized by Racing Club International was back underway at the iconic Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain. Our two drivers in different split took on the challenge of managing tire degradation while keeping up pace that a 60 minute sprint race demands. Aenore Rose in the #56 contested in the competitive Pro split while Ruby Acosta in the #40 took on the challenge in the Silver split.
The team encountered difficulties with the car all weekend, Aenore managing to put together a seventh place starting position with a time of 01:43.217 while Ruby had her last lap invalidated, leaving her all the way down in 15th with a 01:44.677. Issues with the car were the theme of the weekend as both drivers cited a lack of rear end grip and trouble exiting the corners as fast as the competitors. Intensity was high right as Aenore barreled down the first turn, potentially coming away with three spots as she maneuvered her way around the field. However in the end she could only muster one spot over her qualifying position at the end of the first lap, battling with the shortcomings of the car while the more well-behaved machines of her competitors were able to overpower the BMW. Soon after passing fellow competitor Hamza Belhassane for fifth, there was a lull of action as she maintained her position until her mandatory pit stop.
With the conclusion of the mandatory stop the action picked right back up. While struggling with the car’s poor handling, competitor Ben Keys closed the gap to Aenore, encountering themselves with an opportunity to secure fifth place with 15 minutes to go. Unfortunately for the Nissan driver Aenore successfully stood her ground for the remainder of the race whilst two other drivers caught up with the battle, waiting in line to jump at any chance they got to improve their position.
Holding off the overwhelming challenge Aenore withstood the pressure with an emphatic display of defensive driving, crossing the line fifth and placing as the highest BMW driver of the race.
Starting all the way back in 15th position Ruby had a big task ahead of her, having to pick through a number of cars in the middle of the chaos at the start to have a good chance at scraping a good amount of points from a poor weekend. Unfortunately the chaos had come to her, being tagged by a competitor and further setting her back. With another competitor spinning in front of her with nowhere to go, she suffered front end damage and had to nurse the car for the whole first half of the race.
Electing to take the undercut to repair damage and get out of traffic, she wound up gaining a few spots on the pit cycles and took advantage of the newfound grip to further make up time on track, passing multiple cars to minimize the setbacks. Locked into a battle for 11th in the final stages of the race with Alex Hutchinson quickly catching, Ruby made a move around the outside at turn 3 right in the final lap, securing the 11th position and putting on a great recovery drive.
Aenore is placed 6th in the Pro split standings, while Ruby makes up for her DNF in Kyalami to gain 25 points for 18th. With the next round taking the team to Oulton Park staying out of trouble will be essential for a great finish. We hope to see our supporters there to help us find the strength within to fight no matter what, and we thank you all for your continuous support.
(text by Ruby Acosta, picture by Aenore Rose)