Baku FIA GT: Stephane Ortelli and Laurens Vanthoor win race, title
|By Gary Watkins||Sunday, November 24th 2013, 12:38 GMT|
WRT Audi drivers Stephane Ortelli and Laurens Vanthoor sealed the FIA GT Series title with victory in a dramatic championship race on the streets of Baku.
Ortelli took the lead at a confused start in which team-mate and first race winner Niki Mayr-Melnhof was taken out of contention.
The WRT Audi R8 LMS ultra subsequently dropped to third shortly before a prolonged safety-car period to remove damaged kerbing at one of the chicanes, before Vanthoor resumed in second after the mandatory mid-race pitstops were complete.
The Belgian driver edged towards race leader Alon Day, who shared his Gravity Charouz Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG with Maximilian Buhk, and then took to the front when the Merc temporarily lost power.
Championship runners up Frank Stippler and Edward Sandstrom could only finish 13th and fifth of the registered points scorers in the Pro Cup after a slow pitstop.
The French Hexis Racing McLaren squad, which is set to close its doors after this race, claimed second place with its solo MP4-12C driven by Rob Bell and Kevin Estre, despite falling to the back of the field after Bell sustained a puncture on the opening lap.
Estre lay in eighth place after the pitstops, but quickly moved up the order and then took second in a dramatic incident at the first hairpin when he moved past Alvaro Parente's Loeb McLaren and Day in the Charouz Merc in one manoeuvre.
Day managed to hold off Parente, who shared his McLaren with team boss Sebastien Loeb, to take the final podium spot.
Pro-Am honours went to the fifth-placed Grasser Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 shared by Hari Proczyk and Dominik Baumann.
Results - 30 laps: Pos Drivers Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Ortelli/Vanthoor WRT Audi 1h00m39.010s 2. Bell/Estre Hexis McLaren +1.313s 3. Buhk/Day Gravity Charouz Mercedes +5.312s 4. Loeb/Parente Loeb McLaren +5.755s 5. Baumann/Proczyk Grasser Lamborghini +31.029s 6. Sladecka/Rosina Grasser Lamborghini +39.168s 7. Campanico/Ammermuller Novadriver Audi +39.464s 8. Sims/Dusseldorp Boutsen McLaren +39.884s 9. Soucek/Turvey MRS McLaren +41.553s 10. Hassid/Beltoise TDS BMW +46.205s 11. Stippler/Sandstrom WRT Audi +1m03.310s 12. Winkelhock/Ide Phoenix Audi +1m10.829s 13. Sdanewitsch/Leo AF Ferrari +1m23.156s 14. Cunha/Stumpf Rodrive Lamborghini +2 laps 15. Mayr-Melnhof/Rast WRT Audi +2 laps 16. Thomas/Melnikov MRS McLaren +2 laps Retirements: Zonta/Jimenez Brasil BMW 15 laps Tandy/Holzer Trackspeed Porsche 14 laps Vervisch/Vandoorne Boutsen McLaren 11 laps Charouz/Janis Gravity Charouz Mercedes 7 laps Zuber/Parisy Loeb McLaren 3 laps Webb/Hetherington Fortec Mercedes 2 laps Khodair/Bueno Brasil BMW 1 lap Catsburg/Martin Marc VDS BMW 0 laps Afanasiev/Simonsen Gravity Charouz Mercedes 0 laps Demoustier/Albuquerque WRT Audi 0 laps