Raffaele Marciello and Michael Meadows have been crowned Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup champions after winning a nail-biting finale at the Nürburgring on Sunday afternoon.
Meadows led the second half of the race in the No. 88 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3 after championship rivals Alex Riberas and Christopher Mies dropped out in the final five minutes.
It was Marciello and Meadows’ second win of the season and gives the Italian an extended lead in the overall Blancpain GT Series title standings ahead of the Endurance Cup finale in Barcelona.
Riberas looked set to challenge for the points lead, with a fourth-place finish enough to give him and Belgian Audi Club Team WRT the title, but he went off track after drama on track late in the race.
He attempted a pass on Steijn Schothorst which would have put him into fourth and the points lead but the Attempto Racing driver fought back while Ezequiel Perez Companc was also able to overtake Riberas.
The No. 1 Audi R8 LMS GT3 then went off track at the hairpin before Riberas was forced to bring it into the pits and give up his championship hopes.
He was eventually classified 16th, therefore failing to score any points, while Meadows crossed the line first to secure the title with a 7.5-point margin.
WRT team principal Vincent Vosse was shown heading to the Attempto pit garage, in what is understood to have been an unsuccessful move to ask his fellow Audi customer team to allow Riberas to pass.
Audi Sport customer racing boss Chris Reinke was also present on the WRT pit wall.
Hubert Haupt finished just 0.5 seconds behind Meadows to give Black Falcon the Silver Cup win from second overall after co-driver Luca Stolz started the race from pole.
Stolz led his entire opening stint with Marciello trailing in second but AKKA ASP proved quicker in the pits when both Mercedes came in for driver changes on the same lap.
Sainteloc Racing completed the overall podium with its No. 25 Audi of Simon Gachet and Christopher Haase, while Schothorst and Kelvin van der Linde held on to fourth.
The Dutchman and South African moved into third in the final Sprint Cup championship standings, passing Mirko Bortolotti and Christian Engelhart who were disqualified from the meeting ahead of the race.
Rinat Salikhov and David Perel wrapped up Pro-Am Cup honors, while the class championship went to Markus Winkelhock and Nyls Stievenart.
The Silver Cup title, which was decided at the Hungaroring, was awarded to Nico Bastian and Jack Manchester.