Maximilian Buhk and Maximilian Götz have won the first Blancpain Sprint Series Main Race of the season, as their No. 84 HTP Motorsport Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 capitalized on misfortune in the Audi ranks.
Starting from fifth on the grid, Buhk had a great start and only needed a couple of corners to move up to second, before launching a successful attack after four laps on surprising leader Sergio Jimenez in the No. 0 BMW Team Brasil.
From then on, it was clear sailing for Buhk who build up a margin of almost 9 seconds before the pit stops on the chasing No. 3 G-Drive Racing Audi in the hands of Gregory Guilvert.
“The start was quite confusing, because I thought we would do one more lap as Cesar went in the pits,” said Buhk. “After that I was able to overtake the Audi and BMW. I had a good stint and tried to build up a gap and manage the tires.”
Guilvert stayed out as long as possible and when teammate Stéphane Ortelli rejoined the track after his pits top, the gap was cut in half.
Despite Ortelli closing in lap after lap, Götz’s HTP Mercedes still had the race under control and took the checkered flag with a margin of 1.7 seconds on the G-Drive Racing Audi.
“The engineers told me what was going on behind me and how much the gap to Ortelli was,” added Götz. “I wasn’t controlling the race, but I still managed to save the tires a bit.”
The pole sitting No. 1 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi of clear favorites Laurens Vanthoor and Cesar Ramos didn’t even make the start of the race, as it made contact with the No. 6 Phoenix Racing Audi of Niki Mayr-Melnhof during the formation lap.
Ramos had to retire his No. 1 car in the pitlane with damage to the right rear, while the rest of the field took the start of the race.
Mayer-Melnhof could hold his position in the top five, despite losing the hood of his Audi, but the No. 6 was eventually handed a black and orange flag halfway through the race for loose bodywork as a result of the contact.
Silver Cup drivers Mateusz Lisowski and Vincent Abril put in an impressive performance in their No. 4 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi and finished third (+29.602s), starting from sixth on the grid.
The No. 0 BMW Team Brasil BMW Z4 GT3 of Sergio Jimenez was the surprise leader after the first couple of corners, but it soon became clear the Z4 didn’t have the necessary speed to fight for victory today.
After being overtaken by the winning No. 84 HTP Motorsport Mercedes and No. 3 WRT Audi at the beginning of the race, Caca Bueno lost another two places in the final three laps to finish fifth.
The second HTP Motorsport Mercedes of Sergei Afanasiev and Stef Dusseldorp ended up in P4, while Jeroen Bleekemolen and Hari Proczyk fought back from P17 on the grid to finish an impressive sixth.
RESULTS: Main Race