Baku FIA GT: Rast and Mayr-Melnhof win qualifying race for WRT Audi

WRT Audi drivers Rene Rast and Niki Mayr-Melnhof claimed victory in the qualifying race in the FIA GT Series finale on the streets of Baku

Baku FIA GT: Rast and Mayr-Melnhof win qualifying race for WRT Audi

The duo's Audi R8 LMS ultra dominated a race that started behind the safety car and was interrupted by another yellow-flag period and then a race stoppage after a track blockage.

Rast, who had qualified on pole, pulled away from team-mate Laurens Vanthoor in the opening stages, opening a gap of more than eight seconds before the mandatory mid-race pitstops.

Mayr-Melnhof resumed in the lead, but an advantage of 19s over Stephane Ortelli in the second WRT Audi disappeared when the safety car came out while a stranded car was retrieved.

A red flag followed almost immediately when Cesar Campanico in the Novadriver Audi crashed at Turn 5 and dislodged a stack of tyres.

Just under 15 minutes were left on the clock when the race resumed.

Mayr-Melnhof was able to pull away from Ortelli, who fought a rear-guard action to stay ahead of Rob Bell in the Hexis McLaren MP4-12C he shared with Kevin Estre.

Rast said: "The car was just amazing. Though the corners, it was like a knife going through butter."

Mayr-Melnhof added: "There was a lot of pressure on me. I tried not to overdo it and stay calm."

Watch the Baku FIA GT races live on AUTOSPORT

Ortelli hung on to second, finishing 1.2s down, to extend his and Vanthoor's championship lead ahead of the season-closing championship race this afternoon.

Bell and Estre took third ahead of the best of the Boutsen McLarens shared by Stef Dusseldorp and Alexander Sims.

The result means that Ortelli and Vanthoor's series lead now stands at eight points.

They scored six points for second, but their nearest title rivals and WRT team-mates Edward Sandstrom and Frank Stippler took three points for finishing fourth of the registered Pro Cup entrants in eighth place overall.

The invitational entries from Hexis, Boutsen and Marc VDS, which finished third, fourth and fifth, are not eligible for points at this event.

HTP Gravity Charouz drivers Andreas Simonsen and Sergei Afanasiev (pictured) took the Pro-Am class in their Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG with seventh place overall to seal the title.

Results - 32 laps (inc red flag): Pos Drivers Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Mayr-Melnhof/Rast WRT Audi 1h14m26.088s 2. Ortelli/Vanthoor WRT Audi +1.226s 3. Bell/Estre Hexis McLaren +2.190s 4. Sims/Dusseldorp Boutsen McLaren +2.787s 5. Catsburg/Martin Marc VDS BMW +5.710s 6. Loeb/Parente Loeb McLaren +6.859s 7. Afanasiev/Simonsen Gravity Charouz Mercedes +7.761s 8. Stippler/Sandstrom WRT Audi +7.986s 9. Khodair/Bueno Brasil BMW +8.606s 10. Winkelhock/Ide Phoenix Audi +9.317s 11. Tandy/Holzer Trackspeed Porsche +10.498s 12. Vervisch/Vandoorne Boutsen McLaren +11.819s 13. Buhk/Day Gravity Charouz Mercedes +12.215s 14. Cunha/Stumpf Rodrive Lamborghini +22.513s 15. Webb/Hetherington Fortec Mercedes +40.205s 16. Zonta/Jimenez Brasil BMW +40.324s 17. Demoustier/Albuquerque WRT Audi +46.554s 18. Sdanewitsch/Leo AF Ferrari +1m16.134s 19. Thomas/Melnikov MRS McLaren +1 lap 20. Hassid/Beltoise TDS BMW +2 laps 21. Sladecka/Rosina Grasser Lamborghini +4 laps Retirements: Campanico/Ammermuller Novadriver Audi 21 laps Baumann/Proczyk Grasser Lamborghini 13 laps Ragginger/Watts Trackspeed Porsche 8 laps Charouz/Janis Gravity Charouz Mercedes 8 laps Soucek/Turvey MRS McLaren 8 laps Zuber/Parisy Loeb McLaren 4 laps 
shares
comments
Baku FIA GT: Races delayed after further issues

Previous article

Baku FIA GT: Races delayed after further issues

Next article

Baku FIA GT: Stephane Ortelli and Laurens Vanthoor win race, title

Baku FIA GT: Stephane Ortelli and Laurens Vanthoor win race, title
Load comments

About this article

Series GT
Author Gary Watkins
How Ferrari's F1 protege became a Mercedes GT prodigy Plus

How Ferrari's F1 protege became a Mercedes GT prodigy

Raffaele Marciello once appeared to be Ferrari’s next Italian F1 star, but is now under the pay of its German arch-rival in GTs – and he’s very happy with his life

GT
Apr 8, 2021
Why GTE's future is a conundrum with no easy answers Plus

Why GTE's future is a conundrum with no easy answers

The convergence between the World Endurance Championship and IMSA over LMDh regulations offers a bright future for sportscar racing, but the imminent demise of IMSA's GT Le Mans class creates wider issues to which no catch-all solution exists

GT
Feb 3, 2021
How Tandy joined an exclusive club of endurance legends Plus

How Tandy joined an exclusive club of endurance legends

Victory at last year's Spa 24 Hours meant Nick Tandy had completed the unofficial sextuple crown of the world's six biggest endurance races, becoming the first Briton to do so. Ahead of his fresh start with Corvette Racing, he explains how he did it

GT
Jan 23, 2021
Why a lost F1 hope is still in demand aged 65 Plus

Why a lost F1 hope is still in demand aged 65

There's a saying among retired folk that life begins at 60, but endurance specialist Alain Ferte has never used the 'R' word. Some 40 years since his crowning glory in F3, he's still a driver in demand and gunning for more 24-hour racing success this weekend

GT
Jan 15, 2021
How a BTCC veteran conquered the summit in British GT Plus

How a BTCC veteran conquered the summit in British GT

After two decades in touring cars, Rob Collard had an uphill battle to unlearn the tools needed to be quick in tin-tops and understand how to hustle a GT3 car. But he did so with aplomb to prevail alongside Sandy Mitchell amid a challenging year for the series

GT
Dec 17, 2020
The high-power solution to counter a dying breed Plus

The high-power solution to counter a dying breed

SRO boss Stephane Ratel was worried about the disappearance of the amateur - or 'gentleman' - drivers who used to be the bedrock of GT3. So he invented a new category that brings back a familiar name from the past

GT
Dec 6, 2020
The Dutch oddity that was too niche for its own good Plus

The Dutch oddity that was too niche for its own good

Despite (briefly) having its own F1 arm, Spyker's period in international sportscar racing was spent mostly propping up the grid. Its C8 Laviolette GT2-R stands as one of the last underfunded factory GT efforts that never got a helping hand from BOP

GT
May 21, 2020
How a "fragile s***box" conquered a sportscar classic Plus

How a "fragile s***box" conquered a sportscar classic

It was rare to see anything other than a Ferrari or a Porsche winning GT2 races in the mid-2000s, but TVR's victory in the 2005 Spa 1000km was all the more remarkable given it first had to last the full six hours

GT
Apr 22, 2020