After Saturday’s near miss in the Qualifying Race at Nürburgring, Garage 59 and McLaren finally proved their superiority in the Blancpain GT Series, with the duo formed by Rob Bell and Alvaro Parente in the No.58 car practically having no problems to see the checkered flag first.
Rob Bell just had to pick up from where he left off Saturday, as the No. 58 Garage 59 McLaren easily overtook the No. 33 WRT Audi, leaving almost the whole WRT fleet to hold the No. 86 HTP Mercedes and the NO. 99 ROWE BMW. While the Audis No. 33 and 28 tried to play their tactics to get the leader, the No. 4 car was holding most of the field.
Soon the No. 99 ROWE BMW was left behind in sixth place and Alexander Sims saw himself in the middle of a 4-way battle, being passed by the No. 333 Rinaldi Racing Ferrari and then becoming the target of the No. 84 HTP Mercedes and the No. 98 ROWE BMW.
With clean air at his disposal, Jules Szymkowiak got quicker and quicker, enough to start his attack to the WRT fleet, starting with the No. 4 Audi with Nico Müller behind the wheel, who quickly became a victim and saw the Mercedes AMG GT3 go past him. Then it was Enzo Ide the next victim of Szymkowiak’s ability, being left behind one they went out of the hairpin.
Things weren’t going well for WRT as the Frederic Vervisch tried to deal with the ROWE Racing pair of cars, only to be denied of the overtake, go out of the track and almost hit the No. 3 car.
Almost all frontrunners made their pit stops early in the window, while Will Stevens in the No. 28 WRT Audi tried to pull a sequence of fast laps to at least be able to fight for the lead once returning from the pitlane, but Alvaro Parente proved that Stevens’ strategy wouldn’t leave René Rast in front, retaining his lead with a reasonable gap.
During the final 20 minutes of racing, Parente just had to keep a certain distance from Rast, and after 10 minutes Rast lost track of the lead battle as the gap extended from one to two seconds, and then the Portuguese driver was able to manage his way with some ease to the finish line. The No. 19 GRT Lamborghini conquered the Silver Cup class, while Ferrari squads Kessel Racing and AF Corse won the Pro-Am and Am classes.
All the attentions from now on concentrate in the most important event of the Blancpain GT calendar, the TOTAL 24 Hours of Spa, with the Test Day being on July 5th, and the race itself being held on July 30th-31st.
PHOTO: Garage 59