Audi and the WRT squad had an FIA GT World Cup qualifying race of glory and disaster in just 12 laps, with Laurens Vanthoor winning it and favorite Edoardo Mortara seeing his chances being thrown away.
The race started and the first man to be eliminated is surprisingly the poleman Edoardo Mortara, spinning in the first corner, having luck to avoid more serious contact. While that Laurens Vanthoor gets the lead while Earl Bamber and Kevin Éstre jumped to second and third after superb starts. Another driver to have an off was Nico Müller, spinning on Turn 3 in the opening lap and then crashing heavily on Turn 1 in the next lap, bringing the first Safety Car visit to the street track.
With damage looking to be minimal on Mortara’s R8 LMS, the car was brought to pits for repairs in the rear wing while the yellow flag was on. The restart was on lap 5, only to see another accident between the Porsches of John Shen and Phillip Ma at the Fishersmans turn, bringing the Safety Car again.
Lap 9 saw another restart and Vanthoor was seeing his lead being threatened by a fast Earl Bamber, and with Éstre in the shadows in third place, team play would work for Porsche and leave Vanthoor in a bad place. But in the end the overtaking gap didn’t appear and the Manthey Racing duo settled for their current positions, which paved the way for Vanthoor to win the Qualifying Race with ease.
In the final moments, Mortara was coming in a recovery race, eager to pass Darryl O’Young in the final lap. The Audi driver forced a gap in O’Young at Maternity Bend, sending him to a spin and then the barriers, and still ended in 13th position though.
FIA GT World Cup – Qualifying Race results
Action resumes this Sunday with the Main Race at 12:55 (Local Time).
PHOTO: Audi Sport