Vanthoor takes Intercontinental GT Challenge title with Sepang win

Outgoing Audi driver Laurens Vanthoor claimed the inaugural Intercontinental GT Challenge title after taking a second successive victory in the Sepang 12 Hours

Vanthoor takes Intercontinental GT Challenge title with Sepang win

The Phoenix Audi R8 LMS driver started sixth, but along with team-mates Christopher Haase and Robin Frijns, shot into the lead towards mid-distance when the #15 car was among the first to pit after the first outbreak of rain began.

The trio never looked back after that, despite torrential rain at times, eventually beating the Porsche of Earl Bamber, Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet by a lap.

Vanthoor is switching from Audi to Porsche in 2017.

The sister Manthey Porsche 911 GT3R of Richard Lietz, Frederic Makowiecki and Michael Christensen started the race on pole and continued to lead in the early stages.

However, a technical issue later dropped it down the order, while the front row-starting K-PAX McLaren 650S lost 13 laps in the pits as suspension repairs took place.

Then when the rain first arrived the two Phoenix Audis swept into the lead and that remained the case until the final 90 minutes when Bamber pulled a great move on the #16 car to take second, but could do nothing about Vanthoor, Haase and Frijns up front.

Pierre Kaffer, Rene Rast and Markus Winkelhock held on to complete the podium in their Audi ahead of the AF Corse-run Spirit of Race SA Ferrari 488 of Pasin Lathouras, Michele Rugolo and Alessandro Pier Guidi.

The second Manthey Porsche car ended the race in fifth.

Audi's double podium also meant the German marque took the manufacturers' championship, with previous leader Bentley not entering any cars into the Malaysian race - the third and final contest of the season after the Bathurst 12 Hours and Spa 24 Hours.

Further back, there was more Audi success in the GTC class with the B-Quik Racing Team R8 LMS Cup car of Peter Kox, Henk Kiks and Daniel Bilski triumphing, despite an early puncture.

Elsewhere, the Ginetta G55 of Britons Dan Wells and Darren Burke and local driver Zen Low took GT4 class honours.

A small number of touring cars took part too, with the Tracy Sports Toyota GT86 of Takashi Oi, Hitoshi Matsui, Takashi Ito and Kenny Lee topping the division some 48 laps behind the winning Audi.

Despite the adverse conditions in the second half of the contest, all 25 cars that started were able to complete the race.

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