First World GT1 win for Mercedes SLS with Marc Basseng and Markus Winkelhock at Algarve

The All-Inkl Mercedes squad took its first victory of the 2012 FIA GT1 World Championship at the Algarve circuit in Portugal on Saturday

First World GT1 win for Mercedes SLS with Marc Basseng and Markus Winkelhock at Algarve

Marc Basseng and Markus Winkelhock claimed a clear win in the qualifying race at the wheel of their Mercedes SLS AMG. They finished eight seconds up on the Vita4One BMW Z4 shared by Michael Bartels and Yelmer Buurman, which was a similar margin ahead of the WRT Audi R8 LMS ultra driven by Oliver Jarvis and Frank Stippler.

Winkelhock, who started third, moved up to second ahead of the AF Corse Ferrari 458 driven by Francesco Castellacci on lap four and then emerged in the lead after the mandatory pitstops that followed a short safety-car period. Basseng doubled an initial four-second advantage over the second half of the race.

Basseng, who also manages the All-Inkl team, said: "We were not expecting this result on this track, but the pace was there and the guys again did a really good pitstop."

The best of the BMWs dropped as low as 13th after Bartels was muscled down the order at the start, but the safety car and a quick turnaround by the Vita4One squad put Buurman fifth after the pitstop sequence was complete. The Dutchman then moved past Gregoire Demoustier's Hexis McLaren and then team-mate Mathias Lauda.

Buurman subsequently spent three laps behind Stippler in the WRT Audi before successfully making the pass to take second into Turn 1.

The second Hexis entry was another beneficiary of the safety car. The McLaren MP4-12C, in which Stef Dusseldorp had battled with Bartels early on, emerged in sixth place after the stops. Frederic Makowiecki was then able to move past team-mate Demoustier and Lauda on the way to fourth position, just half a second down on Stippler at the chequered flag.

The pole-winning Ferrari 458 Italia led to the pitstops in Filip Salaquarda's hands, but a problem with the ignition switch meant Toni Vilander rejoined outside the top 10.

Results - 32 laps: Pos Drivers Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Basseng/Winkelhock Munnich Mercedes 1h00m08.853s 2. Buurman/Bartels Vita4One BMW + 8.460s 3. Stippler/Jarvis WRT Audi + 16.763s 4. Makowiecki/Dusseldorp Hexis McLaren + 17.267s 5. Lauda/Mayr-Melnhof Vita4One BMW + 20.851s 6. Pastorelli/Jager Munnich Mercedes + 25.431s 7. Cressoni/Pavlovic SUNRED Ford + 27.080s 8. Demoustier/Parente Hexis McLaren + 30.707s 9. Parisy/Zuber Exim Porsche + 33.854s 10. Ortelli/Vanthoor WRT Audi + 34.486s 11. Ide/Castellacci AF Corse Ferrari + 51.276s 12. Vilander/Salaquarda AF Corse Ferrari + 56.962s 13. von Thurn und Taxis/Rosina Reiter Lamborghini + 1 lap Retirements: O'Young/Kox Reiter Lamborghini 10 laps 
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Toni Vilander leads all-AF Corse Ferrari front row for Algarve GT1 World qualifying race

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All-Inkl Munnich Mercedes one-two in Algarve GT1 World Championship race

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Series GT
Author Gary Watkins
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