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Juncadella wins Mercedes Stars and Cars event in Germany

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Dani Juncadella has won the annual Mercedes Stars and Cars event in Stuttgart, Germany after beating DTM champion Pascal Wehrlein 2-0 in the final.

Stars and Cars is Mercedes’ annual motorsport event that acts as a competitor to the Race of Champions, pitting Mercedes-backed drivers from a number of different championships up against each other in a head-to-head challenge.

DTM racer Juncadella entered Stars and Cars for the first time in 2015 at the Mercedes-Benz Arena as the German marque reflected on its most successful year of racing after amassing 19 titles in Formula 1, DTM, F3 and GP3 among other series

Mercedes F1 drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg drew much of the attention from the bumper crowd in Stuttgart, but neither could make it past the semi-final stage as they lost to Wehrlein and Juncadella respectively.

Rosberg defeated Michael Schumacher’s son, Mick, and F1 safety car driver Bernd Maylander to reach the semi-finals, only to lose to Juncadella after the Spaniard had beaten DTM drivers Lucas Auer and Bernd Schneider.

Wehrlein battled past former F1 racers Jean Alesi and David Coulthard before knocking out Hamilton, but was unable to match Juncadella in the final, suffering a 2-0 defeat.

“I’m absolutely delighted. I felt really comfortable in the SLS AMG GT3 and found a good rhythm,” Juncadella said.

“Stars and Cars was a super event – there were so many fans here tonight. Simply incredible. I was nervous going into each of the races. It’s been a very special occasion.”

Despite seeing his F1 drivers lose at the hands of their DTM counterparts, Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff was full of praise for all involved in 2015’s successes.

“We’ve achieved all of our goals this year,” Wolff said. “We again won the Formula One drivers’ and constructors’ world championship with Lewis and the team. In the DTM, we bounced back this year after a tough season in 2014, and the successes of the guys in the other series put the icing on the cake.

“There is no silver bullet in motor racing. You have to make the right decisions and mould the best drivers and engineers into a team. Having the right team spirit is often underestimated, however, but it’s especially important.

“Our team spirit was outstanding this year. We all pulled together and, as a team, experienced the most successful motor racing year in the history of our brand.”

Porsche pulls GTLM cars from Mid-Ohio because of COVID-19 positives

Porsche Mid-Ohio COVID-19
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Porsche will skip Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race with its two GTLM cars at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after three positive COVID-19 tests were confirmed during the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

That resulted in Porsche choosing to pull out of the Nurburgring 24 Hour endurance race in Germany, electing to avoid sending any team members as a precautionary measure.

Porsche Motorsport announced Tuesday that its COVID-19 decision also would apply at Mid-Ohio to its No. 911 and No. 12 teams.

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Three of Porsche’s four IMSA GTLM drivers — Laurens Vanthoor, Frederic Makowiecki and Nick Tandy — also were racing in Le Mans. The trio has remained isolated in Europe and won’t be allowed to travel.

“Based on yesterday’s decision that no employee or racing driver of our Le Mans team will participate in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, we have today decided that this ruling will also apply to the upcoming IWSC race in Mid-Ohio,” Fritz Enzinger, vice president for Porsche Motorsport, said in a release. “This means that Laurens, Nick and Fred will not be traveling to the USA.

“This is very regrettable, but we would like to emphasize that in this case as well the health of all those concerned is the prime focus of the decisions we have taken.”

The decision also affects Earl Bamber, who teamed with Vanthoor to win the GTLM championship last year in the No. 912.

Porsche said its GTLM Porsche 911 RSR-19 entries will return for the Oct. 10 race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

That will reduce the GTLM class to four cars — two Corvettes and two BMWs — this weekend at Mid-Ohio, in what could be somewhat of a 2021 preview. Porsche Motorsport announced earlier this year that it will leave IMSA after the 2020 season because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.