HTP wins qualifying race with ease at Brands Hatch

The name is domination. The front row of the Blancpain GT Sprint Cup qualifying race at Brands Hatch just swapped places and kept their places until the checkered, with Jules Szymkowiak and Bernd Schneider taking overall victory with certain ease in the No. 86 HTP Motorsport Mercedes AMG GT3.

As the green flag was waved the former F3 driver Szymkowiak passed the ISR Audi R8 LMS driven by Franck Perera to take the lead and started to open the gap in favor of his HTP Mercedes AMG GT3, while Christopher Mies was starting to threaten the Czech second-placed Audi.

Although the Brands Hatch circuit is a bit tight, some drivers were trying their moves to climb up the field, like Maximilian Buhk in the No. 84 HTP Mercedes as he was stuck into two WRT Audis in 9th place, as he wasn’t finding space Laurens Vanthoor in the No. 1 WRT Audi.

The situation remained the same until the pit stop window opened, where the No. 84 HTP Mercedes lost ground to the No. 58 Garage 59 McLaren, then driven by Rob Bell. The lead trio was spreading their stints as much as they could, although neither the ISR Audi and the No. 33 WRT Audi could pose an immediate threat. When the pit window was almost over, Szymkowiak delivered the No. 86 car to Mercedes myth Bernd Schneider, and with the No. 33 WRT Audi and the No. 6 Phoenix Racing Audi going to the pits, HTP Motorsport resumed its lead.

Also, one thing to play with in GT racing is the traffic, and this was proved by the No. 63 GRT Lamborghini and Nicolas Pohler, as he had to deal with a lapped Porsche, only to lose his sixth place to Dries Vanthoor in the No. 4 WRT Audi. While the backmarkers appeared, the gap between Schneider and Stockinger opened more and more, and with less than 10 minutes to go, 13 seconds separated first from second.

While first and second places seemed settled, Christopher Mies had the work to defend the third place for his No. 33 WRT Audi from the clutches of the No. 85 HTP Mercedes with Clemens Schmid behind the wheel, but unfortunately the nature of the track and the short time made it impossible for Schmid to go ahead, and while that in the front, Schneider crossed the finish line calmly with Stockinger in second.

The No. 2 WRT Audi with Stuart Leonard and Michael Meadows took Silver Cup honors, while Jean-Luc Beaubelique and Morgan Moulin-Traffort conquered the Pro-Am class win with the No. 85 AKKA-ASP Mercedes. The No. 55 AF Corse Ferrari was the only Am class entry and naturally took the class win.

PHOTO: Blancpain GT Series