GT3 rookies Max Hofer and Philip Ellis claimed a debut victory in the first ADAC GT Masters race of the season at Oschersleben on Saturday afternoon.
The Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 pair held off a race-long challenge from Blancpain GT Serieschampions Andrea Caldarelli and Mirko Bortolotti in the No. 63 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan GT3.
Ellis crossed the line 0.245 seconds ahead of Caldarelli, who had been latched on to the Briton’s tail for the last 20 minutes of the hour-long contest.
A spin into the gravel for the Team Schubert Motorsport Honda NSX GT3 resulted in a safety car shortly after the mid-race driver swaps that bunched the leaders up for the final reckoning.
Caldarelli attempted to dive underneath Ellis at the final corner of the penultimate lap, but the reigning Audi Sport TT Cup champion held his ground to secure the result.
That came after 18-year-old Hofer led away from pole with Bortolotti in hot pursuit until the pair pitted simultaneously just after halfway.
A quick service from the Phoenix crew meant Ellis entered the second portion of the race with the advantage over Caldarelli.
In third was the Land Motorsport Audi driven by Kelvin and Sheldon van der Linde, two seconds down from the lead battle.
Timo Scheider and Mikkel Jensen were fourth in their Schnitzer-run BMW M6 GT3, while Sebastian Asch and Luca Stolz completed the top five in the best of the Mercedes AMG-GT3s.
Trophy class honors went to Lucas Luhr and Jan-Erik Slooten in their Porsche 911 GT3 R.
Sunday’s second race of the weekend gets underway at 1:08 p.m. local time.