Jeroen Bleekemolen and Hari Proczyk won their third Qualifying Race of the season, as the No. 28 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Gallardo managed to resist the pressure of championship leader Maxi Götz in the No. 84 HTP Motorsport Mercedes during the final stages of Saturday’s race at Portimao.
Bleekemolen had a great start and immediately moved into the lead of the race, as the G-Drive Racing Lamborghini of pole-sitter Tomas Enge fell back to second.
The Dutchman couldn’t open up a gap to his nearest rivals, but remained in the lead until he handed the car over to Proczyk at the end of the 10-minute pit window.
Proczyk rejoined the track right in the lead in front of the Mercedes of Götz, which made a much earlier pit stop from fourth in an effort to make up positions on a clear track as others battled for position.
The Austrian then went on to keep Götz at bay, which is becoming a familiar scenario in the series this season, and took the Qualifying Race win with a margin of only 0.8 seconds to close the deficit in the championship to 16 points.
“It was hard work,” said Bleekemolen afterwards. “Looking at our performance in practice and qualifying I thought it would have been a bit easier, but the tires started to go off very quickly.”
After losing the lead at the start, pole-sitter Enge was able to put Bleekemolen under pressure, before losing three positions as he caught a high-speed drift in the final corner. His teammate Roman Rusinov went on to finish in sixth position.
Both the No. 2 and No. 1 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audis gained a position at the expense of the orange Lambo, but couldn’t challenge for the lead after the pitstops, claiming the second row on the grid for tomorrow’s Main Race by finishing third and fourth.
Sergei Afanasiev and Stef Dusseldorp for once had a trouble-free race and drove their No. 85 HTP Motorsport Mercedes to fifth, while their teammates Lucas Wolf and Luca Stolz lost seventh place overall and the win in the Silver Cup to the No. 4 WRT Audi of Vincent Abril and Mateusz Lisowski in the final stages of the race.
Slovakia Ring race winners Dominik Baumann and Tomas Jäger were on an charge after starting only fifteenth on the grid, moving up to seventh before dropping back to P13 as Jäger spun on the final lap.
RESULTS: Qualifying Race