Forty-eight hours after winning the Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series sim race, Lamborghini factory driver Sandy sealed a battling top 10 finish in the three-hour Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe race at the Nürburgring. The 23-year-old from Forfar dominated the sim race, starting from pole position – his second of the season – and led from lights out to the chequered flag. The win not only catapulted the K-Pax Racing Lamborghini into the title picture with just one more race to go this season, but also banked five points in the main championship.
Partnered by fellow Lamborghini factory drivers, Italian Marco Mapelli and Frenchman Franck Perera in the No 6 Huracan GT3 Evo2 prepared by the California-based K-PAX team, the trio then qualified sixth on the 54-car grid for Sunday’s three-hour race at the German circuit. Perera started the race but immediately was an innocent victim as the field bunched up at the tight right-hander at Turn 1. Forced into taking avoiding action as cars ahead and alongside him concertinaed together and made contact, he emerged in 13th place with only slight body damage.
After 57 minutes the Frenchman pitted from ninth place, handing the car over to Mapelli. With 61 minutes remaining, the Italian had climbed to eighth before pitting to hand the car over to Sandy. The Scot, personally backed by Huntly-based Black Bull Scotch Whisky and Tunnocks, rejoined in 18th place. With 50 minutes of the race remaining, and after the final round of pitstops had been completed, he was back in eighth, 10.7-seconds behind the Porsche in seventh. Sandy set about hauling in the car ahead of him, rattling off a series of fast laps. With 22 minutes remaining, he was right on the rear bumper of the seventh-placed car.
“Franck and Marco both did fantastic jobs and my pace was excellent throughout my stint,” Mitchell explained. “The team did a terrific job preparing a very fast car. I caught the car in seventh, but we were in a train of cars which included a number of backmarkers all fighting for position within their classes. It’s tough to pass when cars are so evenly matched for pace because of the Balance of Performance rules, and even moreso at the Nurburgring because of the nature of the track.”
As it happened, with just seven minutes remaining and battling hard to pass a slower backmarker, he found himself completing a quick 360-degree spin which dropped him to ninth at the chequered flag.
“Given the position we found ourselves in on the opening lap when Franck was forced to take action to avoid the melee which unfolded all around him, to bag another top 10 finish is a great result,” Sandy stated. “Hopefully we can finally get the podium finish I believe our pace has merited in the final race of the season at Barcelona in a couple of months.”