Raffaele Marciello and Timur Boguslavskiy took victory in race one of The Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Sprint Cup powered by AWS at Brands Hatch this morning. Starting from pole, Marciello built a big enough lead in his stint to allow Boguslavskiy a tense but ultimately untroubled run to the line.
Marciello in the #88 Akkodis ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3 started from the front row with the #69 Emil Frey Racing Ferrari 296 GT3 of Albert Costa starting alongside. The sister Emil Frey Ferrari, the #14 of Konsta Lappalainen, started from third place.
In the Gold class, the #9 Boutsen VDS Audi R8 LMS GT3 of Aurelien Panis and Alberto Di Folco started on pole and eleventh place on the grid with the #26 Sainteloc Junior Team Audi R8 LMS GT3 of Simon Gachet in second place but back in 17 place.
In the Silver class, the #99 Tresor Attempto Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 of Alex Aka and Lorenzo Patrese started on pole, with the #77 Haupt Racing Team Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Jordon Love in second place just 4 places back in P13.
The race got off to a clean start, with all 29 cars making it safely around Paddock Hill Bend. Marciello maintained his lead and with Costa just behind in second place. Konsta Lappalainen dropped back to fourth place after being passed by the #40 Tresor Orange 1 Audi R8 LMS GT3 of Ricardo Feller and Mattia Drudi.
Halfway through the opening stint, Marciello had built up a lead of 5 seconds over Costa, while Costa had a lead of over 6 seconds over Feller. The battle for fourth place was much closer, with Lappalainen, Engelhart, and Weerts all within a second of each other.
At the pit window the #25 Saintéloc Junior Team Audi R8 LMS GT3 of Patric Niederhauser and Erwan Bastard was released too early from its stop and collided with the #68 Nova Race Honda NSX GT3 of Erwin Zanotti and Diego Di Fabio. The unsafe release earned the Audi crew a 5-place grid penalty for race 2.
Amongst the leaders the #69 Ferrari of Costa had a slow pit stop, which allowed the #40 Audi and the #32 Team WRT BMW M4 GT3 of Dries Vanthoor to jump the Ferrari. When the pit stop window finally closed, the #69 Ferrari had dropped from second place to fifth.
At the front, Marciello had maxed out his driving time and his tyres stopping with 26 minutes of the race remaining. Boguslavskiy took over the #88 Mercedes and returned to the track to defend the 17-second lead that Marciello had built up.
Behind the Mercedes, Feller and Vanthoor were fighting hard for second place, but Feller was still able to take 1.5 seconds a lap out of Boguslavskiy’s lead as he slowly pulled away from the BMW of Vanthoor.
By the final lap, Feller had Boguslavskiy in his sights, and Boguslavskiy was backed up behind traffic but with perfect timing, the #88 Mercedes crossed the line exactly as the clock ticked down to zero to take the win. Another lap would have surely seen Feller take the win.
The #40 Audi finished second, with the #32 BMW finishing third. Fourth place should have gone to the #54 Dinamic GT Huber Racing Porsche of Adrien De Leener but a technical issue exiting Clarke Curve saw the pack stream past the Porsche as it coasted over the line to take eighth place.
Instead, it was Christopher Haase in the #11 Comtoyou Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 who took P4 having fought his way up from seventh place. A hard battle with Giacomo Altoe in the #14 Emil Frey Racing Ferrari 296 GT3 saw Haase pass along the start straight with minutes remaining. With the second Emil Frey Racing Ferrari of Thierry Vermeulen just ahead of him Haase cleared Vermeulen on the final lap who then lost two more places in quick succession to eventually finish in seventh place.
Away from the front, a large battle was ongoing in the mid-pack, with the #26 Audi of Paul Evard leading a pack of 7 cars with the #159 Garage 59 McLaren 720S GT3 of Nicolai Kjaergaard at the back of the pack but within 2 seconds of Evard.
The Gold class was won by the #9 Boutsen VDS Audi R8 LMS GT3, which finished in 10th place overall. The Silver class was won by the #99 Tresor Attempto Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3, which finished in 11th place overall.
Race 2 is this afternoon starting at 15:25 BST and can be watched on our LIVESTREAM.
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