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Weekly Racing Roundup (4.16.18)

Race reports from Blancpain GT Asia, Le Mans Cup, Australian GT and GT Open…

Photo: SRO

GruppeM Sweeps First Blancpain GT Series Asia Double-Header at Sepang

Nico Bastian and Patric Niederhauser won Race 1 on Saturday while Raffaele Marciello and Brice Bosi led the way in Race 2 of the opening Blancpain GT Series Asia event at Sepang.

A thrilling battle between Niederhauser and FFF Racing Team by ACM’s Martin Kodric decided the win on Saturday, after the GruppeM crew gambled on swapping tires giving Niederhauser an advantage in the latter stages of the race.  

Marciello and Bosi finished third in the first race but managed to win Race 2 in their GruppeM Mercedes with a 26.6-second margin over Absolute Racing’s Josh Burdon and Anthony Liu.

The recently-signed Mercedes factory driver started from second but moved into the lead by the first corner, taking a position he and his co-driver wouldn’t relinquish.

Will Russell and Reinhold Renger won the GT4 battle in Race 1 for GruppeM while Team iRace.Win’s Ringo Ching and Gilles Vannelet took the class win in Race 2.

Just 0.150 seconds separated Chong from BMW Team Studie’s Takayuki Kinoshita at the checkered flag.

RESULTS: Race 1; Race 2

Photo: Australian GT

Twigg, D’Alberto Win Australian GT Endurance Opener

Max Twigg and Tony D’Alberto claimed victory in the first ever CAMS Australian GT Championship race at the newly-opened The Bend Motorsport Park.

The WM Waste Management duo started from pole in their Mercedes-AMG GT3 and finished the first of three Endurance races this season ahead of the Walkinshaw GT Porsche 911 GT3 R of John Martin and Liam Talbot.

Steve Richards and Michael Almond completed the podium in their BMW Team SRM-run M6 GT3.

Twigg and D’Alberto led 43 of 78 laps in the two-hour, 40-minute race at the circuit near Adelaide.

Interlloy M Motorsport took the GT4 class honors with its KTM X-Bow GT4 driven by Justin McMillan and Glen Wood, meanwhile.

It wasn’t an entirely smooth weekend at the new circuit however, with dangerous weather conditions delaying the race until Sunday morning.

The series also made the decision to use the shorter International layout at 3.07 miles rather than the full 4.82-mile course, allowing for a greater concentration of track officials.

RESULTS: The Bend Motorsport Park

Photo: International GT Open

Pier Guidi, Mac Dominate GT Open at Estoril

Alessandro Pier Guidi and Mikkel Mac swept the opening International GT Open weekend at Estoril in their Luzich Racing Ferrari 488 GT3.

They finished ahead of Imperiale Racing’s No. 63 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 in both races, driven by Giovanni Venturini and Jeroen Mul.

Mac had to defend from Venturi and Tom Onslow-Cole at the start of the first race but he remained out front until he gave the car over to Pier Guidi in the pit stops, who took it to the line relatively unchallenged.

Pier Guidi and Mul passed polesitter Toby Sowery at the start of Race 2 and although the Italian stayed in the lead until the pit stops, Mac lost a position to Rik Breukers during the driver change.

The Luzich driver passed Breukers’ No. 25 Imperiale Lamborghini on track while a one-second time penalty for track limits dropped the Dutchman behind teammates Venturini and Mul.

RESULTS: Race 1; Race 2

Photo: Olivier Beroud Images

DKR Begins Le Mans Cup Title Defence with Paul Ricard Win

DKR Engineering got its title defence off to a good start with a win in the opener at Circuit Paul Ricard on Saturday.

The new lineup of Leonard Hoogenboom and Jens Petersen drove the team’s Norma M30 Nissan to the win despite a last-lap crash.

Petersen lost control of the car at Turn 1 on the final lap but got the car going again to take it to the checkered flag just 2.1 seconds clear of Colin Noble’s Ecurie Ecosse / Nielsen Ligier JS P3 Nissan.

Tony Wells, in the other Ecurie Ecosse car, got a great start to pass Eric Trouillet for the lead on the first lap while Hoogenboom made his way up to second.

The DKR driver took the lead when Wells went wide carrying too much pace into Signes, and the Luxembourgish team held onto the top spot for the remainder, save for a few laps during pit stops. 

Kessel Racing led most of the race in GT3 with its Ferrari 488 GT3 of Sergio Pianezzola and Giacomo Piccini to take the class win.

RESULTS: Paul Ricard

News & Notes

***Black Falcon won the Nürburgring 24 Qualifying Race on Sunday with Yelmer Buurman, Thomas Jaeger and Jan Seyffarth driving its No. 5 Mercedes-AMG GT3. Buurman won by a margin of just 2.158 seconds ahead of ROWE Racing’s Nicky Catsburg. Click Here for the full report.

***The Qualifying Race is the last event before the N24, which will take place on May 12-13, while the VLN season will get back to action with its third race on June 23.

***The 24H Series returns to action this weekend with a 12-hour combined GT and Proto race at Navarra on Sunday, while the LMP3 Cup season kicks off at Donington Park.

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.

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