Ex-DTM champion Bruno Spengler secures the GT title in Italy with Robert Ravaglia’s BMW team and Jens Klingmann: nerves were on edge at the finale in Imola
After Timo Glock and Jens Klingmann failed by a hair’s breadth last year, Bruno Spengler clinched the Sprint Cup title in the Italian GT Championship on Sunday with the Ceccato team of touring car legend Roberto Ravaglia and team partner Klingmann. “It was a fight until the very last minute, but in the end it worked out,” said a relieved former DTM champion Spengler about the star turn in Imola.
Spengler and Klingmann, who was intensively involved in the development of the M4 GT3, went into the championship finale with a five-point lead over the Italian VS Racing Lamborghini duo of Mattia Michelotto and Edoardo Liberati.
But then the title still threatened to slip away on Saturday: Spengler collided with title rival Michelotto, of all people, shortly before the end on his way to a podium finish and ended up in the gravel trap, leaving the Lamborghini in second place.
Nevertheless, the five-point lead in the overall standings did not change, as Michelotto and Liberati were relegated to eleventh place by a 25-second time penalty for the collision, leaving them equally without points.
As a result, it was clear that second place would be enough for Spengler and Klingmann to win the title at the eighth and final race of the season. And the BMW works drivers’ nerves held as they both fulfilled exactly their target on Sunday, finishing second behind their Lamborghini rivals and crowning themselves champions with 98 points in the overall standings and their fifth podium finish of the season.
The better individual results tipped the scales in the end, as Spengler and Klingmann were level on points with Michelotto and Liberti. “It was a huge pleasure for me to be Jens’ teammate,” says a delighted Spengler. Adding, “He did a mega job and I really hope we race together again in the future.”
Klingmann returns the compliment: “A big thank you to BMW Italia Ceccato Racing and Bruno for a super job. Now we enjoy and celebrate our triumph. “