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Engel and Stolz storm to Blancpain GT victory at Brands

Sunday, May 05 2019

Maro Engel and Luca Stolz claimed an impressive victory in the second Blancpain GT World Challenge race of the season at Brands Hatch this afternoon, after the latter dominated the second half of the race during his stint behind the wheel of their shared Mercedes-AMG GT3 on the full Grand Prix circuit. 

Engel drove the first stint and spent much of it in third position behind the leading Mercedes-AMG of pole-sitter Fabian Schiller and the Audi R8 LMS of Nick Foster. Those three maintained a relative status quo in the early stages with the drama coming mostly from behind.

First up, Markus Winkelhock was dispatched into the gravel behind the wheel of the Audi which he shares with Steven Palette. Then, as the leading tripo escaped up the road, a queue developed behind the Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT3 of Hugo de Sadeleer with Marco Mapelli's Lamborghini firmly in his rear view mirrors. 

Mapelli made fairly short work of the Aston Martin in the machine he shares with Andrea Caldarelli, but as Frederic Vervisch attempted to follow him in his Audi, chaos ensued. After failing to make the move stick at Hawthorns, Vervisch was tapped by the Ferrari of David Perel and in the ensuing chaos a host of other cars were caught up including the Ferrari of Andrea Bertolini and the Audis of Rik Breukers, Dries Vanthoor, and Christopher Haase. 

The safety car was depolyed to clear the debris, and the race resumed with 40 minutes to go with Schiller still at the head of the pack. As the pit stop phase of the race commenced Schiller remained out on track the longest, but it was Engel who emerged as the new leader, with Vincent Abril just behind in the Mercedes-AMG he co-drives with Raffaele Marciello.

The scene was set for a relatively simple Mercedes-AMG one-two from here, but for a car failure for Abril on lap 28 which promoted the hard charging Caldarelli into second positon, just ahead of the Audi R8 which Steijn Schothorst had taken over from Foster. 

Engel cruised calmly to the chequered flag from there, with the other two cars following him comfortably behind to complete the podium. 

Race one winners Nico Bastian and Thomas Neubauer seemed set for fourth place to end a strong day, but the latter was forced to take a late drive through penalty after the former overtook another car under the earlier safety car. This relgated them to an eventual eighth place finish. This was enough to secure a second Silver Cup win of the day, however. 

Fourth ultimately went to Clemens Schmid and Kelvin van der Linde after the latter produced a late charge to pass the Aston Martin of Ricky Collard and Marvin Kirchhofer. The top six was completed by the Audi of Christopher Mies and Charles Weerts. 

Simon Gachet brought the Audi he shares with Haase home in a spectacular seventh after recovering from the melee on the Grand Prix loop. 

Victory in the Pro-Am class went to Hiroshi Hamaguchi and Phil Keen in their Lamborghini after a late pass on the Mercedes-AMG of Jim Pla and Jean-Luc Beaubelique. 

1, Engel/Stolz, Mercedes-AMG, 39 laps
2, Mapelli/Caldarelli, Lamborghini Huracan GT3, +11.643s
3, Foster/Schothorst, Audi R8 LMS GT3, +14.190s
4, Schmid/Van der Linde, Audi R8 LMS GT3, +15.164s
5, Kirchhofer/Collard, Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT3, +17.168s
6, Mies/Weerts, Audi R8 LMS GT3, +20.369s
7, Haase/Gachet, Audi R8 LMS GT3, +24.825s
8, Neubauer/Bastian, Mercedes-AMG GT3, +33.575s
9, Druidi/Dontje, Audi R8 LMS GT3, +38.433s
10, Engelhart/Bortolotti, Lamborghini Huracan, +38.671s

For full results, click here.