Christian Engelhart and Mirko Bortolotti took the championship lead by sweeping the weekend with a dominant victory at Brands Hatch. The pair in the #63 reinforced their status as a car practically untouchable throughout the weekend.
A quick and obviously pre-rehearsed start allowed the sister #19 car of Ezequiel Perez Companc to slide into second place, and the Argentinean did a masterful job to hold off a train of almost 10 cars for the first 25 minutes of the race, only for the hard work to be undone when the car’s driveshaft failed, evaporating the car’s podium hopes.
Most cars got through the first couple of corners unscathed. However, the #66 Attempto Lamborghini of Giovanni Venturini was pitched into a spin by Kevin Ceccon at Druids. Venturini got his car going again, and caught back up to the field when Clemens Schmid found the gravel trap at Pilgrims bend, bringing out a safety car.
Engelhart took advantage of Companc’s lack of pace, and bolted away from the rest of the pack like a stabbed rat. Markus Palttala and Antonio Felix Da Costa in the Rowe BMWs led the attack on Companc, but while he was quicker than the 23 year old, he struggled to ever set himself up for an overtake. This left an impatient Felix Seralles to make a move for third, only for him to never get close to passing Companc. It wasn’t even the case of Companc making his lime green Lamborghini as wide as possible. Although he held up a ten strong train of cars, Companc never seemed to have to stick his elbows out and defend.
The#19 pitted in at the earliest opportunity, and Norbert Siedler got aboard it. But the car never got out of the pits, due to the driveshaft failure. Felix Da Costa handed over to Phillip Eng and Seralles vacated his Mercedes for Daniel Juncadella. The pair collided on pit exit though, ending Eng’s race and sending a drive-through penalty the way of Juncadella. A slow pit stop for the #98 crew left them in 5th place. So once the pit window closed Bortolotti led the field, followed by the #2 Audi of Will Stevens, the #17 Audi of Robin Frijns, the #85 Mercedes of Fabian Schiller (which started the qualifying race stone dead last!) and the #98 BMW, which were all in a different postcode.
Stevens never really got up to speed though, and that left Frijns to divebomb the former F1 driver at paddock hill bend, and promptly open a gap. Schiller then tried to make a move of his own, but never really set himself up for a move, with Brands yet again proving a difficult circuit to pass at. In the end Stevens held off Schiller with relative ease. It was still a valiant effort from the 21 year old, who won the silver cup nevertheless.The #5 Dries Vanthoor/Marcel Fassler Audi crossed the line in 6th position, followed by the #84 Mercedes, which dropped to 2nd in the overall Blancpain GT series.
The next race is the 3 hour endurance round next week at Silverstone.
Image courtesy of Vision Sport agency