The first sprint of the season has its winner: Neil Verhagen

The first sprint of the season has its winner: Neil Verhagen

BMW junior factory driver Neil Verhagen hosted at Racing Trevor team at Oschersleben and demonstrated why the German brand took him under its wings. The 22-year-old American won Saturday’s qualifying and performed flawlessly in Sunday’s sprint.

Verhagen and Filip Salaquarda with Audi started from the front row, followed by Libor Milota with Mercedes and Jáchym Galáš with Lamborghini from the GTC category. The third row belonged to Michal Pavlíček and Piotr Wira.

Verhagen made the best start and maintained the lead ahead of Salaquarda and Milota. Pavlíček went off the track in the first turn and dropped to the back of the field. Although the opening moments of the race were trouble-free, the safety car had to be deployed in the second lap when Miro Konopka went off with his Lamborghini. At the same time, Predrag Šainovič crashed with his Mercedes AMG GT4. During the yellow flags, Petr Lisa stopped in the first sector with his KTM GTX and did not continue.

The safety car released the field in the fifth lap, and racing resumed. Verhagen kept the lead ahead of Salaquarda, and Milota and Wira circled behind them with Galáš and Waszek starting to push on Wira. Immediately after the race resumed, there was a battle for the lead in the GT4 category. Leader Zénó Kovács defended his position against Bastian Hein. As Oschersleben does not provide many opportunities for overtaking, Hein looked for a gap to overtake in every turn.

Jáchym Galáš and Piotr Wira also had similar problems with overtaking. The Mercedes versus Lamborghini duel eventually went in favor of the Italian car, and Galáš moved up to fourth place overall. Now it was Pavlíček’s turn, who managed to get ahead of Wira a few laps later, although it was not without a slight contact.

Meanwhile, the leaders were driving in close proximity without a fight. Verhagen and Salaquarda were separated by only half a second, and as in Saturday’s endurance race, a potential mistake by one of the drivers was the only way for the position change. However, it did not come, and BMW factory driver Neil Verhagen won his debut race in the ESET Cup sprint. Filip Salaquarda finished second, and Libor Milota third.

In the GTC category, Jáchym Galáš from the Mičánek Motorsport team triumphed in his racing premiere with Lamborghini. His teammate Matěj Pavlíček finished a close second behind Galáš. Dennis Waszek finished third in GTC.

Piotr Wira finished seventh overall and fourth in the GT3 category, and Petr Brecka was classified eighth overall and fourth in GTC.

Kovács and Hein duel lasted throughout the race, and it seemed that Kovács would maintain the first place. However, in the last lap, Hein got ahead of Kovács and won the second event for the RS24 Racing Team after Saturday’s endurance race. Antonín Herbeck with Pagani Zonda finished behind them and became the winner in the GTX category.

Results – Race 1