With an unusual move around the outside, Andrea Caldarelli grabbed the lead and won race 1 of the Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe at the Nürburgring. The driver of the #563 FFF Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 made the overtake with 11 minutes to go on his former team Grasser Racing to bring home his second win of the season.
After qualifying left Caldarelli’s co-driver Marco Mapelli starting the race from sixth, the two Italians quickly fought their way through the field and had everything coming their way: A quick pitstop to thrust them into second and a drive-through penalty handed to second-placed and title competitor Black Falcon brought Caldarelli within striking distance of former teammate Christian Engelhart in the #63 Grasser Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3.
What remained was a stellar overtake when Engelhart made the smallest of mistakes.
“I always loved this track, it’s one of my favourites,” Andrea Caldarelli said after the race. “I couldn’t believe it, really, starting on P6 – usually this race is very difficult, but we did an amazing pitstop.
“I was trying every lap to overtake 63. They didn’t have the pace and I was struggling behind them and after I tried again, I had a very good exit but he completely shut the door so I went outside and then suddenly he hit me from outside – I was a bit surprised.
“I don’t know what really happened in front of me [with the Lamborghini and #25 Saintéloc Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 of Christopher Haase], I could make a move on the Audi again and then I thought I’d try it here on the outside. It’s really unusual but it worked.”
Caldarelli left Grasser Racing last year to go his own way with his own team, making the battle with Engelhart, with whom he won the 2017 Blancpain GT Endurance Cup, all the more special.
“I wanted a fair race, that’s why I was a bit surprised about the hit that I received, but this happens in racing. Luckily we finished in in P1 and 2, so it’s OK.”
With FFF Racing’s victory and Black Falcon’s eight place, both Blancpain GT championship leads are now in the hands of FFF Racing.
“We needed this victory in trying to catch the championship. That’s what we did and it feels very good. The win is very important for both the sprint and the overall championships. But there is still tomorrow and anther two weekends to go so it’s still a long way.”