Nurburgring Blancpain GT: HTP Mercedes wins, Lamborghini penalised

Blancpain Sprint Cup leaders Franck Perera and Maximilian Buhk extended their championship lead to seven points with a thrilling qualifying race win at the Nurburgring

Nurburgring Blancpain GT: HTP Mercedes wins, Lamborghini penalised

The HTP Mercedes duo were not the first to cross the line, failing to overcome a stunning defensive drive from Ezequiel Perez Companc, but a penalty for the Grasser Lamborghini then handed Perera and Buhk victory.

For large portions of the race, it looked as though in-form pair Dries Vanthoor and Marcel Fassler would take a comfortable win and seize the points lead.

But the race would turn on its head thanks to rapid mandatory pitstops from several crews.

While Vanthoor pitted instantly within the pitstop window, the Grasser Lamborghini of Andrea Caldarelli ran four laps longer and that allowed team-mate Perez Companc to come out narrowly ahead of Fassler.

WRT Audi driver Fassler looked marginally quicker, but Perez Companc's defence then created a four-way battle for the win, allowing the points-leading pair to seize their chance.

Buhk had started the race in fourth, before a rapid stop allowed the Mercedes to claw back several seconds on the race leader as Perera joined the fray.

The Audi/Lamborghini battle then gave the platform for Perera to pass Fassler for second and hound Perez Companc.

But the battling had allowed the Bentley of Maxime Soulet to grab an opportunity to further demote Fassler and he soon dispatched Perera too.

Perez Companc then made a mistake heading into the Coca-Cola chicane and a defence deemed too robust on Soulet incurred a one-second penalty.

With Soulet caught out by Perez Companc's move, the HTP Mercedes crew picked up a win that boosted its chances of the Sprint Cup title in Sunday's finale.

The penalty relegated Perez Companc and team-mate Caldarelli to second, while Soulet could only finish fourth behind Fassler.

Fifth went the way of Will Stevens and Markus Winkelhock, as the WRT Audi duo recovered from 20th in two strong stints, finishing ahead of the sister #17 car.

Overall Blancpain GT championship leaders Mirko Bortolotti and Christian Engelhart had a nightmare race, finishing 19th after an early spin.

Race one result

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 F.Perera, M.Buhk Mercedes-AMG Team HTP Motorsport Mercedes 1h01m28.374s
2 E.P.Companc, A.Caldarelli GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini 0.617s
3 M.Fassler, D.Vanthoor Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi 2.482s
4 A.Soucek, M.Soulet Bentley Team M-Sport Bentley 2.780s
5 M.Winkelhock, W.Stevens Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi 13.752s
6 S.Leonard, R.Frijns Team WRT Audi 14.282s
7 J.Klingmann, A.F.da Costa Rowe Racing BMW 14.634s
8 J.Kane, S.Schothorst Strakka Racing McLaren 15.115s
9 J.Szymkowiak, F.Schiller HTP Motorsport Mercedes 16.442s
10 M.Palttala, J.Krohn Rowe Racing BMW 16.744s
11 S.Kane, V.Abril Bentley Team M-Sport Bentley 17.578s
12 P.Schothorst, J.Dennis Team WRT Audi 17.978s
13 M.Meadows, R.Marciello Akka ASP Team Mercedes 22.817s
14 E.Ide, F.Vervisch Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi 26.624s
15 R.Ineichen, T.Dillmann GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini 28.323s
16 R.Bell, A.Watson Strakka Racing McLaren 28.534s
17 M.Kodric, L.Williamson Strakka Motorsport McLaren 28.907s
18 A.Mattschull, D.Keilwitz Rinaldi Racing Ferrari 29.359s
19 C.Engelhart, M.Bortolotti GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini 34.496s
20 S.Gachet, P.Terting Sainteloc Racing Audi 41.789s
21 I.Tutumlu, M.van Splunteren Attempto Racing Lamborghini 50.456s
22 A.Costa, S.Ortelli Emil Frey Lexus Racing Lexus 51.110s
23 D.Baumann, J.Eriksson HTP Motorsport Mercedes 55.136s
24 R.Salikhov, M.Malucelli Rinaldi Racing Ferrari 1m02.076s
25 N.Pohler, F.Crestani Orange 1 Team Lazarus Lamborghini 1m07.953s
26 P.B.-Bhakdi, C.van Dam Kessel Racing TP12 Ferrari 1m19.766s
27 J-L.Beaubelique, T.Vautier Akka ASP Team Mercedes 1m23.067s
28 S.Earle, D.Perel Kessel Racing Ferrari 1m59.874s
29 C.Bourret, J-P.Belloc Akka ASP Team Mercedes 2m00.450s
- F.Serralles, D.Juncadella Akka ASP Team Mercedes Retirement
- K.Ceccon, F.Stippler ISR Audi Retirement
- B.Barnicoat, C.Ledogar Strakka Racing McLaren Retirement
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