The first race of the GT4 European Series Northern Cup at the Nürburgring was dominated by the No. 8 Ekris Motorsport BMW M4 GT4 of Max Koebolt and Ricardo van der Ende.
The Silver Cup winners led from start to finish, crossing the line with a ten second lead after one hour of racing. Giuseppe Ghezzi clinched the Am title by winning his class in the opening race of the weekend, while the Pro-Am title will be decided tomorrow.
Pole setter Max Koebolt kept his cool as the 37 cars went into the first corner. The Ekris Motorsport driver came out on top and was able to pull away from the No. 10 Equipe Verschuur McLaren 570S GT4 of Csaba Mor.
Mor was unable to attack the Dutchman, as he saw the No. 62 Academy Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage GT4 of William Moore and the No. 34 RYS Team KISKA KTM X-Bow GT4 of Mads Siljehaug closing in rapidly.
With Mor, Moore and Siljehaug battling for second place, Koebolt was able to pull out a six-second lead.
Marioneck’s KTM X-Bow GT4, however, suffered damage and he soon dropped out of the fight for second place. Marioneck’s day got even worse when he was handed a drive-through penalty after contact.
Still separated by six seconds, Koebolt and Moore came into the pits after they had completed 14 laps.
Their teammates Ricardo van der Ende and Matt Nicoll-Jones came out in the exact same order and almost the same gap remained between the Ekris and the Aston Martin.
On his second lap out of the pit, Nicoll-Jones lost six seconds in sector two, but despite the mishap the Academy Motorsport Aston remained in second place.
After 28 laps van der Ende crossed the line to win the first race of the weekend for Ekris Motorsport, with Nicoll-Jones finishing in second place, ten seconds behind the Ekris M4 GT4.
The No. 10 Equipe Verschuur McLaren 570S GT4 of Csaba Mor and Finlay Hutchison finished in third place, 19 seconds behind the race winning Ekris. Street Art Racing and RYS Team InterNetX completed the overall and Silver Cup top five.
In Pro-Am the race was won by the No. 4 Energy by ART Porsche Cayman CS MR GT4 of Alain Ferte and Gregoire Demoustier. Ferte took the lead early in the race, ahead of the No. 54 RYS Team Pankl KTM X-Bow GT4.
During the pit stops the No. 222 TFT Racing Porsche Cayman CS MR GT4 of Ander Vilarino and Niki Leutwiler passed the KTM to take second. Vilarino tried to pass Demoustier, but was unable to do so and finished 0.334s behind the Energy by ART driver.
Las Moras Racing drivers Duncan Huisman and Luc Braams scored some valuable points in the fight for the Pro-Am title, finishing in third place, ahead of main rival Razvan Umbrarescu.
The No. 9 McLaren 570S GT4 finished almost four seconds behind the class winner, with the No. 111 Porsche Cayman CS MR GT4 finishing a couple of tenths behind in fourth.
Allied Racing driver Jan Kasperlik retired early in the race. Going into the final race, the gap between Umbrarescu and Huisman/Braams is just two points.
Giuseppe Ghezzi claimed victory in the Am class and won the 2017 Am title.
The Autorlando Sport driver and teammate Manuele Mengozzi initially ran in second place, behind the No. 21 Allied Racing Porsche of Nikolaus Schelle and Joachim Bölting, but moved into the lead during the pit window.
After completing 28 laps Mengozzi crossed the line in first place, 26.400s ahead of the PROsport Performance Porsche.
In the final corner on the final lap, Scuderia Villorba Corse driver Romy Dall’Antonio hit the No. 11 SIN R1 GT4 of Ivan Vlachkov, which resulted in a spin for the SIN and a third place for Dall’Antonia.
After the race, Dall’Antonia was given a penalty, which demoted him to fourth. As a result, Ghezzi now has a 28-point lead with just one race and 25 points to go.