Christian Engelhart, Sven Mueller and Matteo Cairoli delivered Dinamic Motorsport’s second victory in GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup competition with a commanding performance to win the 6 Hours of the Nürburgring.
Cairoli took the checkered flag 14.8 seconds clear of Raffaele Marciello in the second-placed No. 88 AKKA-ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo to cap a dominant run for the No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 R, which started from second on the 47-car grid.
Dinamic’s Porsche took the lead very early in the race as Engelhart kept his nose clean during a chaotic squeeze into the first corner that resulted in trouble for several cars including the pole-sitting GPX Racing Porsche.
Engelhart controlled the first stages before stints from Mueller and Cairoli, while Dinamic rotated through that same order in the second half of the race on its way to victory.
The Italian squad, which won on its Endurance Cup debut at Monza last season, was barely challenged at the head of the field despite its lead being reduced on three occasions by safety car periods.
The only instance of its advantage being overturned – albeit briefly – came during a safety car pit sequence at the end of hour three, when Engelhart dropped behind Marciello’s co-driver Timur Boguslavskiy.
But the German driver quickly responded to falling behind by overtaking Boguslavskiy at Turn 1 after the restart.
While it was a reliable and ultimately straightforward run to victory for Engelhart, Mueller and Cairoli, the battles for the remaining top overall positions were dramatic and unpredictable.
Maro Engel successfully defended third place from WRT Audi driver Dries Vanthoor in the closing laps to earn a first outright Endurance Cup podium for the Haupt Racing Team Mercedes-AMG squad. Engel shared third with Vincent Abril and Luca Stolz.
WRT’s No. 32 Audi that Vanthoor drove with Christopher Mies and Charles Weerts finished fifth behind its sister car piloted by Mirko Bortolotti, Kelvin van der Linde and Rolf Ineichen, after Vanthoor slowed coming out of the final corner.
The Belgian driver went on a charge in the final two stints as part of his recovery from a drive-through penalty for an unsafe pit release.
Vanthoor inherited second place in the fourth hour when Patrick Pilet crashed GPX Racing’s other Porsche at Turn 5, but was forced to relinquish this position when the sanction came.
The penalty relieved the pressure on Mueller, who at the time had only two seconds in hand to Vanthoor, while it also promoted the AKKA-ASP Mercedes to second.
Vanthoor emerged down in 13th but was up to seventh following the final pit stops and managed to get past Bortolotti’s sister WRT Audi, Andy Soucek’s Bentley and Andrea Caldarelli’s Lamborghini in the last stint before ceding one position at the end.
The No. 31 WRT Audi also had a turbulent afternoon that was initially characterized by a drive-through for Ineichen exceeding his 65-minute drive time allocation, before Bortolotti hauled it back into contention.
Soucek brought the No. 9 K-PAX Racing Bentley Continental GT3 home in sixth with Jordan Pepper and Alex Buncombe, who was replacing the IMSA-tied Alvaro Parente.
Christopher Haase, Markus Winkelhock and Dorian Boccolacci finished seventh with their Sainteloc Racing Audi, ahead of the GetSpeed Performance Mercedes-AMG of Alessio Lorandi, Maximilian Buhk and Fabian Schiller.
ROWE Racing rounded out the top 10 with its only Porsche in the race for Timo Bernhard, Simona de Silvestro and Jeroen Bleekemolen, while KCMG’s Porsche crew of Alexandre Imperatori, Josh Burdon and Edoardo Liberati.
There were several notable retirements, including the No. 51 AF Corse Pro-class Ferrari and the No. 163 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini which were withdrawn after getting involved in the multi-car incident on lap one.
Ferrari endured a tough afternoon as its SMP Racing car, which was challenging for a top-six spot, picked up a puncture in Davide Rigon’s final hour battle with Hasse.
Lamborghini also missed out on a top result as all three of its representatives in the top category hit trouble.
Both of Emil Frey’s cars retired, one after the opening lap tangle and the other when driver Ricardo Feller parked up at Turn 2 after becoming unwell behind the wheel.
This left Orange 1 FFF Racing Team as the top Lamborghini, but it fell from fifth to 17th after Caldarelli pitted with a puncture following contact with Soucek’s Bentley which resulted in the Continental GT3 completing the race without a left headlight.
Silver Cup honors went to Garage 59’s Aston Martin Vantage GT3 after James Pull held off Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini driver Patrick Kujala on the line by 0.2 seconds.
The FFF Racing Team Lamborghini crew of Phil Keen, Hiroshi Hamaguchi and Elia Erhart secured the Pro-Am victory after the leading No. 991 Herberth Motorsport Porsche needed to make a short stop in the final 20 minutes.