Blancpain powerhouse teams HTP Motorsport and Team WRT took one win apiece at the Hungaroring this weekend. Christopher Mies & Enzo Ide taking victory for WRT Audi in the Qualifying Race, while it was Domonik Baumaan and Maxi Buhk taking the honours for HTP Mercedes in the main race.
Felix Rosenquist started the Qualifying Race from pole in the #88 AKKA ASP Mercedes AMG GT3. The Mercedes junior who seems to be racing everywhere you look (DTM, Formula E, Indy Lights, alongside his Blancpain GT commitments) began creating a gap over Christopher Mies in the #33 WRT Audi R8 LMS.
Laurens Vanthoor in the #1 WRT Audi had made it up past Domonick Baumaan in the #88 HTP Mercedes into third before things settled down into a rhythm coming up to the pitstops.
Yet again the WRT crew showed their class in the pitstops, turning around the #33 car quicker than AKKA ASP could manage and putting Enzo Ide out ahead of Tristan Vautier now at the wheel of the #88 Mercedes for the closing stint.
Ide did a brilliant job in a role we have seen him play several times before this year holding off vastly more experienced drivers to take the victory.
Towards the end of the race the lead pairing were also joined by Fredric Vervisch in the #1 Audi and the #84 Mercedes of Maxi Buhk. However neither car could make any headway with the leaders.
The race finished Ide, Vautier, Vervisch and Buhk in the top four spots with Bernd Schneider & Jules Szymkowiack in a second HTP Mercedes, the #86 car completing the top five.
Finishing positions for the Qualifying Race sets the grid for the Main Race. Enzo Ide therefore started from pole in his #33 WRT Audi with Tristan Vautier alongside in the #88 AKKA ASP Mercedes.
Things did not stay that way for very long. A frantic start saw the #88 AKKA ASP Mercedes of Vautier go deep into turn one and into the lead for a moment, but a wide exit allowed both the polesitting #33 and #1 WRT Audi back up the inside which then became the outside for turn two. Vautier this time diving from inside made contact with Vervisch in the #1 putting both cars out wide which saw Maxi Buhk sliding wildly emerge into the lead out of turn four in the #84 HTP Mercedes.
Soon after all this action there was a worrying incident where a tractor was seen crossing the track to collect a McLaren from the barriers under only double yellows, race control going to full course yellow to late for the speedy tractor driver.
Once the full course yellow was rescinded the race went ahead in a fairly straightforward manor with little incident. Fredric Vervisch took the #1 ahead of the sister #33 WRT Audi of Enzo Ide.
Again AKKA ASP would loose out to WRT through the pitstops the #88 coming out fourth behind the #28 WRT of Will Stevens, but the remainder of the top positions would remain stable until the flag. Buhk and Baumaan #84 Mercedes taking the win ahead of Vanthoor and Vervisch #1 Audi, Mies and Ide rounding out the podium positions in third at the line.
Third for Mies and Ide would become second post-race when teammates Vanthoor and Vervisch were handed a 30 second penalty for an unsafe release dropping them to eighth.
Mercedes and Audi between them dominated the top 10. The first non Audi or Mercedes home was a Bentley, Team Bentley M-Sport finishing ninth and tenth with the #9 Bentley Continental GT’s of Maxime Soulet and Andy Soucek and the #8 of Steven Kane and Vincent Abril respectively.
Neither BMW nor Mclaren made the points in either race and the relative pace and poor scoring of both these marques along with Bentley compared to the four rings and three-pointed star had some major championship implications.
McLaren Man Rob Bell retains his lead at the head of the overall Blancpain GT standings, but Domonik Baumaan and Maxi Buhk are able to close to within 7 points of Bell 124 to 117, the nearest challengers he has had for a long time thanks to a strong weekend for the HTP Mercedes duo.
In the Sprint Cup point’s standings, erstwhile leaders Rob Alvaro Bell and Parente take a big hit in the points with a no score here, dropping to fifth on 56 points. The new points leaders are Enzo Ide and Christopher Mies on 79 with Baumaan and Buhk on 62 a second HTP Mercedes duo of Bernd Schneider and Jules Szymkowiack on 59.
The next race of the Blancpain GT series will be the final endurance round at the Nurburging on the 18th September.
Image- Blancpain GT/Vision Sport Agency