Mercedes dominates Suzuka 10 Hours, GruppeM squad leads one-two

Mercedes dominated the first running of the Suzuka 10 Hours, with the GruppeM squad leading a one-two finish for the German manufacturer

Mercedes dominates Suzuka 10 Hours, GruppeM squad leads one-two

The #888 trio of Raffaele Marciello, Maro Engel and Tristan Vautier moved into the lead at the start of the second hour and were unchallenged for victory thereafter, ending Audi's unbeaten streak in the 2018 Intercontinental GT Challenge season.

Lewis Williamson, Maxi Gotz and Alvaro Parente finished second in the #43 Strakka Mercedes, while Absolute Racing claimed the final podium spot with its factory #6 Audi - driven by Markus Winkelhock, Christopher Haase and Kelvin van der Linde.

The polesitting #28 HubAuto Corsa Ferrari led the field in the first hour, only to drop out of contention when it was handed a drive-through penalty for a start procedure infringement.

Mechanics were seen working on the Pro-Am Ferrari after the formation lap had begun and although it was released before the final car had moved off the line, it still breached the rule that states that no personnel are allowed on the grid after the 15-second board is shown.

HubAuto's early troubles allowed the #888 GruppeM Mercedes to seize the lead, with the #43 Strakka Mercedes making headway in the first half of the race to catapult into second position.

The #6 Absolute Audi and #66 WRT Audi of Christopher Mies, Dries Vanthoor and Frederic Vervisch did one more stop than their rivals, with those strategies allowing them to finish as Mercedes' closest challengers in third and fourth respectively.

Good Smile Racing with Team Ukyo finished as the highest classified Super GT team, with ex-Formula 1 driver Kamui Kobayashi and Nobuteru Taniguchi and Tatsuya Kataoka propelling the #00 anime-liveried Mercedes from 21st to fifth at the chequered flag.

Vincent Abril, Andy Soucek and Maxime Soulet gave Bentley's new-generation Continental GT a successful first outing in Japan, taking the chequered flag in sixth position in the factory-supported, M-Sport run #08 entry.

Maxi Buhk, Oliver Rowland and Adrien Tambay were seventh in the #44 Strakka Mercedes, ahead of the #21 Audi Hitotsuyama car driven by Richard Lyons, Ryuichiro Tomita and Alessio Picariello, which was recovered from an early spin to end up eighth.

Sheldon van der Linde, Stuart Leonard and Jake Dennis finished ninth in another Audi, the #17 WRT factory entry, while the top 10 was completed by the #75 Sun Energy 1 Mercedes of Kenny Habul, Mikael Grenier and Luca Stolz.

Nissan was the lead Japanese manufacturer in a race dominated by German marques, until the #23 KCMG of Edoardo Liberati, Richard Bradley and former Audi LMP1 star Oliver Jarvis stopped on track just before the halfway mark.

The race, which replaced the Suzuka 1000km event, had just one safety car intervention, which came when the #07 M-Sport Bentley and the #58 Garage 59 McLaren collided in the fifth hour.

Factory McLaren driver Come Ledogar was attempting a move when he was pitched into a spin at 130R, with the 650S GT3 getting beached in the gravel and forced into retirement.

The Bentley, which was in hunt for a podium finish early-on, also retired after nearly running out of fuel and then suffering a spin at Degner the lap after it exited the pitlane.

It was also handed a drive-through penalty for a separate collision with the #27 HubAuto Corsa Ferrari.


shares
comments
Ferrari gets pole for Intercontinental GT Challenge Suzuka 10 Hours

Previous article

Ferrari gets pole for Intercontinental GT Challenge Suzuka 10 Hours

Next article

Aston Martin will 'never sacrifice' GT programme for other projects

Aston Martin will 'never sacrifice' GT programme for other projects
Load comments

About this article

Series GT
Teams GruppeM Racing
Author Rachit Thukral
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