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GRT Wins Race 1 as Mies, Riberas Open Up Points Lead

Bortolotti, Engelhart win Race 1 as WRT’s Mies, Riberas open up points lead…

Photo: Dirk Bogaerts/SRO

Mirko Bortolotti and Christian Engelhart picked up their third win of the season in Race 1 at the Nürburgring while Christopher Mies and Alex Riberas extended their championship lead.

The Grasser Racing Team drivers led the whole 60 minutes on Saturday afternoon which served as the penultimate Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup race of the season.

Engelhart’s No. 63 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 crossed the line 2.9 seconds ahead of Mies in the No. 1 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT R8 LMS GT3.

Mies and Riberas open up a six-point advantage over Raffaele Marciello and Michael Meadows heading into Sunday afternoon’s Sprint Cup finale while the Grasser drivers are third.

Riberas started from third position but passed Albert Costa on the opening lap to move into second behind Bortolotti’s Lamborghini.

The top two positions remained unchanged for the rest of the race, while Marciello and Meadows gradually moved up the field from a tenth-place starting position to finish fifth.

Marciello will start Sunday’s championship-deciding Race 2 from second while Mies will line up 14th and Engelhart ninth.

All three driver pairings are in contention for the Sprint Cup title. 

The race was brought under the Full Course Yellow and safety car for several minutes early on when Piti Bhirombhakdi and Rinat Salikhov collided, forcing the Thai driver out of the Pro-Am Cup lead.

Pro-Am honors eventually went the way of Markus Winkelhock and Nyls Stievenart of Sainteloc Racing while Luca Stolz, who will start Race 2 from overall pole, and Hubert Haupt took the Silver Cup win.

Dries Vanthoor and Will Stevens finished third overall to make it two WRT Audis on the podium while Andrea Caldarelli and Ezequiel Perez Companc were fourth.

Race 2 will get underway at 4 p.m. local time on Sunday.


Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.

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