Race 1 of the Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe at the Nürburgring has been won by FFF Racing. The #563 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 raced by Andrea Caldarelli and Marco Mapelli took the victory with a late overtake on the #63 Grasser Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 that had been leading since the start.
Having started from sixth place on the grid, Marco Mapelli eased the Lamborghini into the pits from fifth place for Andrea Caldarelli to take over. A blindingly fast pitstop sent the Lambo out of the pits in third place, behind the leading #63 Grasser Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 and #4 Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3 who have been racing in tandem since the start.
Black Falcon’s pitstop, however, was made with an expensive mistake: When rejoining the fast lane, Maro Engel tangled with another car, costing the championship leaders a drive-through penalty.
With Black Falcon out of the way, Caldarelli began reeling in the race leader. Although the Italian quickly caught up with his former teammate Christian Engelhart who was struggling with tyre degradation, he was unable to overtake and soon Christopher Haase in the #25 Saintéloc Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 joined the party, looking to repair his Zandvoort win.
The pressure was on for Caldarelli with 11 minutes to go. After an initial failed attempt to take the lead in which Caldarelli and Engelhart came together and Haase smelled opportunity and slipped through into second, the deciding move was made a few corners later. As Engelhart made a mistake in the braking zone for the fifth corner and Haase was forced to check up, Caldarelli made one of his best moves of the season as he squeezed by Haase and then went around the outside of Engelhart and proceeded to successfully drag racing him down to the Dunlop Hairpin.
With a clear track in front of him, Caldarelli was not challenged anymore and brought home his and Mapelli’s second win of the season in the #653 FFF Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3, in front of the #63 Grasser Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 of Christian Engelhart and Mirko Bortolotti, and the #25 Saintéloc Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 of Christopher Haase and Simon Gachet finishing third.
Caldarelli and Mapelli move into the lead of both the Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe and overall Blancpain GT championship, while Black Falcon’s Maro Engel and Luca Stolz dropped down to second having scored just 3 points from their eighth-place finish.
A strong performance by Mattia Drudi and Milan Dontje brought the #56 Attempto Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 its first Silver Cup win of the year. The youngster have been steadily racking up top 10 finishes this year and after running third in the opening stint of the race took the chequered flag in sixth place overall. Pro-Am again went the way of the #333 Rinaldi Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 of David Perel and Rinat Salikhov for their third win this season, while Kessel Racing’s #111 Ferrari 488 GT3 driven by Stephen Earle and Rory Penttinen was given back first place after the #444 HB Racing Ferrari that initially crossed the finish line first was handed a time-penalty for causing avoidable contact on the final lap.
Race 2 starts on Sunday at 14:30 CET. You can watch the race live on GT REPORT.
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