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Bortolotti and Engelhart take Lamborghini to qualifying race win

7 May 2017

Mirko Bortolotti and Christian Engelhart (#63 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini) scored a clear win in the qualifying race of the Brands Hatch round of the Blancpain GT Series. They preceded Finnish duo Palttala-Krohn in the #98 ROWE Racing BMW and their fellow Grasser Racing drivers Siedler-Perez-Companc in the #19 Huracan. The Pro-Am Cup was won by the #333 Rinaldi Racing Ferrari of Keilwitz and Mattschull, with Williamson and Fumanelli (#42 Strakka Racing McLaren) taking the Silver Cup honours.


At the start of the 60-minute qualifying race Jesse Krohn – third on the grid - managed to edge ahead of the Christopher Mies in the #1 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT R8, who started from second. There was a slight contact between Mies’s car and the #26 Sainteloc Racing Audi of Christopher Haase, causing the latter to spin and the former to have a puncture. Mies and co-driver Enzo Ide, the reigning Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup champion, did not even finish the race, due to a possible driveshaft problem.


Meanwhile, polesitter Mirko Bortolotti easily held on to the lead, from Jesse Krohn in the #98 BMW and the #19 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini of Norbert Siedler in third. The top-10 positions did not change during the first half of the race, but thanks to a quick pitstop, series leaders Maxi Buhk and Franck Perera climbed from ninth to fifth. Unfortunately for the HTP Motorsport duo, a late puncture meant they finished the qualifying race in 23rd .


At the front Christian Engelhart, who had taken over from Bortolotti, saw his eight-second lead disappear after a safety car intervention. A contact between the #89 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG and the #8 Bentley Team M-Sport Continental saw the Mercedes spin into the barriers, causing Marcel Fässler in the #5 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT R8 to take evasive action. The #8 Bentley Team M-Sport Continental was given a stop&go penalty, which was converted to a 40 second penalty to be added to the race time.


The lights went green went some ten minutes left, and Engelhart had no trouble holding on to the lead. The #63 Grasser Racing Team Huracan crossed the line in first, some three seconds clear of the #98 ROWE Racing BMW of Markus Palttala. Ezequiel Perez-Companc put a second Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini on the podium in third.


In the Pro-Am Cup polesitter Jules Gounon (#87 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG) held on to the lead, but was closely chased by Daniel Keilwitz in the #333 Rinaldi Racing Ferrari. The German did not manage to overtake the French youngster, but due to a better pitstop Alexander Mattschull – in his first ever race in Brands Hatch – could take the lead. The Misano winner held on to it until the chequered flag.


The Silver Cup saw an impressive display of #44 Strakka Racing McLaren-duo Lewis Williamson and David Fumanelli, practically leading from start to finish. Eventually they added a fourteenth place overall to their Silver Cup win.


The main race at Brands Hatch will start at 16.15 local time and will be streamed live on the official Blancpain GT Series website.