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Hungaroring Weekend Notebook

Sportscar365’s weekend notebook from the Blancpain GT round at Hungaroring…

Photo: Dirk Bogaerts/SRO

***Reigning Blancpain GT Series champions Mirko Bortolotti and Christian Engelhart scored their second win of the season in Race 1 on Saturday, breaking a winless streak that has continued since the season-opening round at Zolder in April.

***The Grasser Racing Team pair won the first round of the season but a number of issues, including what team principal Gottfried Grasser described as an unfavorable Balance of Performance earlier in the season, attributed to them failing to stand on the top step of the podium since.

***Bortolotti and Andrea Caldarelli did pick up an ADAC GT Masters win on April 15, one week after the Zolder success, while Grasser claimed victory in the series’ most recent event at Zandvoort with a Lamborghini Huracan GT3 driven by Marco Mapelli and Ezequiel Perez Companc.

***The second-place finish on Saturday promoted Raffaele Marciello to the lead of the overall Blancpain GT standings, combining both Sprint and Endurance Cup results, even though the Italian is yet to win this year. He is two points ahead of Alex Riberas and Christopher Mies, who retired in Race 1 after a spin and contact with the wall.

***Their No. 1 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT-run R8 LMS GT3 is set to make the grid for today’s race, and the team requested a shakedown lap following the Blancpain GT Sports Club race.

***While Michael Broniszewski was listed to make his long-awaited return to the series this weekend, he and his Kessel Racing entry dropped off the list shortly before the weekend. The Pole injured himself in the paddock at Monza and has missed every race since.

***Alain Adam isn’t serving as race director at the Hungaroring, but is instead at the Pirelli World Challenge finale at Watkins Glen this weekend. It was announced at the Total 24 Hours of Spa that he could begin working with PWC, as part of the SRO Motorsports Group’s changes to the American series. Joel do Vale has replaced him in Hungary.

***Lamborghini’s 2019-spec Huracan GT3 Evo is yet to be officially revealed but rumors suggest it could be revealed at the Nürburgring in two weeks’ time during the next Blancpain GT meeting. It has already been spied testing, while sister brand Audi has confirmed an end-of-year debut for its updated car.

***News regarding the inaugural FIA GT Nations Cup is starting to emerge, following the SRO’s recent announcement that representatives from 17 countries are planning entries. It is understood that William Lok is a likely contender for the Hong Kong entry.

***AF Corse, Kessel Racing and Black Falcon have all committed to provide technical support for the event, while Belgian Audi Club Team WRT is also considering participation.

***Stephane Ortelli and Andy Meyrick are still recovering from their injuries sustained in separate incidents at the Total 24 Hours of Spa, and neither driver is behind the wheel this weekend. Ortelli has been replaced by Markus Paltalla at Emil Frey Lexus Racing while Meyrick, who was set to drive for Bullitt Racing in the GT4 European Series, has been replaced by Seb Morris, whom he coaches.

***Meyrick and Stephen Pattrick are set to enter the SRO GT4 International Cup, a GT4 ‘World Final’ held along with the FIA GT Nations Cup at the Bahrain GT Festival. The pair will drive their Bullitt-run Mercedes-AMG GT4. 

***R-Motorsport driver Jake Dennis and Toyota Gazoo Racing LMP1 regular Mike Conway are present this weekend, in coaching roles. Conway is a coach to AKKA ASP’s Jack Manchester, while Dennis is looking after Formula Renault Eurocup drivers.

***Less than two hours after winning the Pro-Am class in Blancpain GT Race 1 on Saturday, Kenny Habul won the Blancpain GT Sports Club Qualifying Race in the same SunEnergy1 Racing-entered Mercedes-AMG GT3. 

***The Sports Club victory meant he would start Sunday morning’s Main Race from pole but he sat out the early morning race after feeling unwell. He is set to miss this afternoon’s Blancpain GT race as well.

***Habul will compete on three different continents in consecutive weekends, between the Suzuka 10 Hours, Hungaroring races and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship event at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca next weekend.

***Karim Ojjeh clinched the Blancpain GT Sports Club title with a win in the Main Race, ahead of the season finale at Barcelona in four weeks’ time. The Saudi drives a Boutsen Ginion-run BMW M6 GT3.

***Both of the weekend’s GT4 European Series races were red-flagged and ended early, owing to weather in Race 1 and a crash for Marcus Paverud in Race 2. Max Koebolt and Simon Knap won Race 1 for MDM Motorsport while Beitske Visser and Nico Menzel claimed Race 2 for RN Vision STS.

***This afternoon’s Blancpain GT Race 2 will kick off at 3:30 p.m. local time and will be streamed live in most regions on the GT World YouTube channel.

Laurent Mercier contributed to this report

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

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