Black Falcon Mercedes drivers win '18 Blancpain Endurance Cup title

Black Falcon Mercedes drivers Maro Engel, Yelmer Buurman and Luca Stolz claimed the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup title with a narrow victory in the Barcelona finale

Black Falcon Mercedes drivers win '18 Blancpain Endurance Cup title

Buurman crossed the line less than two seconds up on the Auto Sport Promotion Mercedes-AMG GT3 shared by Raffaele Marciello, Daniel Juncadella and Tristan Vautier, who had started the race equal on points with the eventual championship winners.

Engel had built up a lead of more than 20 seconds in the opening stint of the three-hour race, only for a series of safety cars to eradicate his advantage.

The fourth safety car of the event turned the race into a winner-takes-all sprint to the flag over the final five minutes.

"The tricky thing was that the safety car was going so slow that we got a lot of pick-up, which made the first couple of corners at the restart a bit tricky," Buurman said.

"After the first restart, I felt more confident and after the second one, a bit more so."

Buurman was just four tenths up on Vautier as the race went green, before edging away over the final four laps.

Engel and his team-mates had claimed the point for pole position to move level on points in the Endurance Cup standings with ASP's Marciello, with his Mercedes only sixth on the grid.

The Black Falcon Mercedes built up its substantial lead while the rest of the field was backed-up behind the R-Motorsport Aston Martin V12 Vantage driven by Nicki Thiim.

Marciello had moved up to third by the time the first round of refuelling stops began, but Juncadella just failed to get ahead of Jake Dennis in the Aston during the pit cycle.

Vautier moved ahead of the Aston Martin during the second round of stops as Matthieu Vaxiviere took over, but the Mercedes driver was never able to get close enough to Buurman to mount a victory bid through a final hour interrupted by three safety cars.

Second place for Marciello was enough to give him the overall BGTS title to go with the Sprint Cup crown he claimed at the Nurburgring earlier in the month.

Third place at Barcelona went to the SMP Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 driven by Davide Rigon, Mikhail Aleshin and Miguel Molina.

Molina was running sixth in the final hour before Dries Vanthoor in the best of the WRT Audi R8s nerfed Vaxiviere off the track.

The Aston retired as the result of its trip through the gravel, while the Audi that Vanthoor shared with Christopher Mies and Alex Riberas was penalised for avoidable contact.

Molina was subsequently able to pass the Emil Frey Jaguar G3 driven by Mikael Grenier to take the final spot on the podium.

The Silver Cup class-winning Jaguar, which Grenier shared with Adrian Zaugg and Alex Fontana, moved into an unlikely lead early in the third hour when it made its final pitstop under virtual safety car conditions.

Grenier's lead was short-lived, but it held on to take fourth overall in what is the last race for the XK-based car.

The Pro-Am Cup class went to the Lazarus Racing Lamborghini shared by Miguel Ramos, Fabrizio Crestani and Giuseppe Cipriani, the former boss of the Il Barone Rampante team of the early 1990s.

Race result

Pos Driver Team Car Laps Gap
1 M.Engel, L.Stolz, Y.Buurman Mercedes-AMG Team Black Falcon Mercedes 92 3h01m21.935s
2 T.Vautier, D.Juncadella, R.Marciello Mercedes-AMG Team Akka ASP Mercedes 92 1.733s
3 M.Aleshin, M.Molina, D.Rigon SMP Racing Ferrari 92 6.046s
4 A.Fontana, A.Zaugg, M.Grenier Emil Frey Jaguar Racing Jaguar 92 6.806s
5 V.Abril, A.Soucek, M.Soulet Bentley Team M-Sport Bentley 92 7.685s
6 R.Giammaria, E.P.Companc, M.Mapelli GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini 92 8.908s
7 F.Fraga, O.Rowland, C.Vietoris Strakka Racing Mercedes 92 9.435s
8 J.Krohn, P.Eng, A.Sims Rowe Racing BMW 92 11.109s
9 T.Blomqvist, J.Klingmann, N.Catsburg Rowe Racing BMW 92 11.677s
10 R.Dumas, D.Werner, F.Makowiecki Manthey Racing Porsche 92 13.131s
11 K-L.Schramm, A.Fjordbach, C.Schmid Attempto Racing Audi 92 13.838s
12 R.Monti, A.Rizzoli, A.Frassineti Ombra Racing Lamborghini 92 14.468s
13 M.Bortolotti, C.Engelhart, A.Caldarelli GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini 92 15.173s
14 D.Bulatov, A.Korneev, M.Meadows SMP Racing by AKKA ASP Mercedes 92 16.310s
15 D.Vanthoor, C.Mies, A.Riberas Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi 92 16.576s
16 J.Szymkowiak, J.Manchester, N.Bastian Akka ASP Team Mercedes 92 23.451s
17 M.Gotz, A.Parente, M.Buhk Mercedes-AMG Team Strakka Racing Mercedes 92 28.856s
18 M.Beretta, S.Mitchell, M.Kodric Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini 92 35.568s
19 D.Baumann, M.Kirchhofer, M.Martin R-Motorsport Aston Martin 92 39.124s
20 G.Cipriani, M.Ramos, F.Crestani Daiko Lazarus Racing Lamborghini 92 56.597s
21 J.Pepper, J.Gounon, S.Kane Bentley Team M-Sport Bentley 92 1m26.087s
22 A.Al Harthy, E.McKay, C.Eastwood Oman Racing Team with TF Sport Aston Martin 91 1 Lap
23 M.Parry, A.Buncombe, J.Mardenborough GT Sport Motul Team RJN Nissan 91 1 Lap
24 M.Winkelhock, M.Rostan, N.Stievenart Sainteloc Racing Audi 91 1 Lap
25 D.Cameron, L.Bontempelli, M.Griffin AF Corse Ferrari 91 1 Lap
26 A.Watson, B.Barnicoat, C.Ledogar Garage 59 McLaren 91 1 Lap
27 R.Salikhov, A.Mattschull, D.Keilwitz Rinaldi Racing Ferrari 91 1 Lap
28 A.Santamato, T.Sowery Daiko Lazarus Racing Lamborghini 91 1 Lap
29 A.Amstutz, L.Machitski, R.Abra Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini 91 1 Lap
30 J.Liebhauser, F.Scholze, L.Ludwig HB Racing Ferrari 91 1 Lap
31 D.Parhofer, A.Forne, F.Stippler Car Collection Motorsport Audi 90 2 Laps
32 J.Haring, E.L.Brauner, W.Triller Herberth Motorsport Porsche 90 2 Laps
33 E.Debard, F.Barthez Akka ASP Team Mercedes 90 2 Laps
34 R.Oeverhaus, H.Walkenhorst, I.Vinke Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW 90 2 Laps
35 K.Lendoudis, S.Al-Faisal, R.Aguas Black Falcon Mercedes 90 2 Laps
36 P.Niederhauser, L.Marioneck, M.Siljehaug Reiter Young Stars Lamborghini 88 4 Laps
37 A.West, C.Harris, C.Goodwin Garage 59 McLaren 88 4 Laps
38 R.Yoon, P.Ehret, R.Penttinen Rinaldi Racing Ferrari 87 5 Laps
39 C.Buncombe, N.Leventis, L.Williamson Strakka Racing Mercedes 84 8 Laps
40 M.Vaxiviere, J.Dennis, N.Thiim R-Motorsport Aston Martin 81 11 Laps
41 R.L.Vos, T.O.-Cole RAM Racing Mercedes 77 15 Laps
42 C.Noble, R.Sanchez, S.Moore GT Sport Motul Team RJN Nissan 75 17 Laps
43 D.Pierce, R.Smith, S.Morris Team Parker Racing Bentley 65 27 Laps
44 A.Al Faisal, H.Haupt, G.Piana Black Falcon Mercedes 65 27 Laps
45 R.Feller, S.Gachet, C.Haase Sainteloc Racing Audi 64 28 Laps
- S.Leonard, S.van der Linde, R.Frijns Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi 62 Retirement
- M.Palttala, S.Ortelli, N.Siedler Emil Frey Lexus Racing Lexus/Toyota 57 Retirement
- N.Jamin, M.Ricci, J-L.Beaubelique Akka ASP Team Mercedes 46 Retirement
- P.Keen, R.Ineichen, F.Perera GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini 40 Retirement
- N.Hommerson, L.Machiels, A.Bertolini AF Corse Ferrari 34 Retirement
- M.Broniszewski, A.P.Guidi Kessel Racing Ferrari 21 Retirement
- M.Seefried, C.Klien, A.Costa Emil Frey Lexus Racing Lexus/Toyota 9 Retirement
- K.van der Linde, S.Schothorst, P.Schothorst Attempto Racing Audi 0 Withdrawn

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