20-year-old Niklas Krütten started in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe at Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia last weekend. The driver from Trier and his Australian team-mate Calan Williams showed impressive pace in their BMW M4 GT3 at the 4.005-kilometre track in the east of Spain. However, collisions in the early stages of both races, through no fault of their own, put an early end to any hopes of victory.
Despite this, Krütten still tops the table in the Gold Cup.
The duo made a very promising start to the race weekend in Spain, and were the fastest Gold Cup car in the opening free practice session. In qualifying they proved again, with second place for race one and third for Sunday’s race, that they were among the weekend’s fastest Gold Cup drivers. Unfortunately, however, they were plagued by bad luck in both races: after a collision in the Saturday race, for which Krütten was entirely blameless, the young German had to retire from the race with a damaged suspension on the WRT team’s BMW M4 GT3. In the second race, another contact with a rival resulted in a puncture, which dashed any hopes of winning. This time, however, the team was able to continue after the unscheduled pit stop, and Williams handed over the wheel to Krütten at the halfway point of the race. He then demonstrated his fighting spirit, showing good pace and climbing several positions. After 36 laps, the former ADAC Stiftung Sport driver crossed the finish line in fourth place in his class and 18th overall. Despite the relatively meagre haul of points in Valencia, Niklas Krütten and Calan Williams continue to lead the Drivers’ Championship in the Gold Cup.
Niklas Krütten: “It was a very tough weekend for us. It started well, as we had very good pace compared to the opposition. In Q1, we were actually the best-placed BMW. Unfortunately, a rival made contact with an Audi, which then skidded into my car. The damage to the suspension was unfortunately too severe and our Saturday race was over in the first corner. In race two, we suffered a puncture right at the start, which cost us a lot of time. The misfortune in Valencia means that our lead in the overall standings has shrunk, but we are still battling for the title.”
The next round of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe takes place from 29th September to 1st October 2023 in Barcelona (Spain). Krütten lines up in the Nürburgring Endurance Series with Walkenhorst Motorsport this coming weekend (22nd and 23rd September).