Gravity Charouz Mercedes duo Sergei Afanasiev and Andreas Simonsen claimed victory in the championship race at the Slovakia Ring FIA GT Series event.
Simonsen moved his Pro-Am class Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG into the lead on lap eight when the WRT Audi driven by Stephane Ortelli had to take a drive-through penalty for jumping the start. The Swede maintained the lead ahead of Ricardo Zonta’s BMW Team Brazil entry until the mandatory pit stops, before the Charouz team turned the car around quick enough to give Afanasiev a five-second lead over Sergio Jiminez in the Brazilian BMW Z4.
“This guy [Simonsen] did an amazing job. I just had to keep it up front,” Afanasiev said. “I had a race against myself, because I was not so confident on this track.”
Jiminez was unable to hold off the trio of WRT Audis, Rene Rast and Frank Stippler moving past on lap 20 and Laurens Vanthoor getting his chance on the following lap.
Rast and teammate Niki Mayr-Melnhof ended up second to take maximum Pro Cup points, but Vanthoor was able to snatch third place overall in the delayed R8 LMS ultra he shared with Ortelli. The Belgian moved past teammate Stippler, who shared his Audi with Edward Sandstrom, on the final lap of the one-hour race.
Jimenez and Zonta ended up a distant fifth head of the second-placed Pro-Am car, the Grasser Lamborghini Gallardo LP560 shared by Hari Proczyk and Dominik Baumann.
Sebastien Loeb, who won the qualifying race with Alvaro Parente, went out on the opening lap after clashing with Peter Kox’s Reiter Lamborghini. The nine-time World Rally champion was engulfed away from the line after Ortelli jumped the start and was tagged by Zonta, which pushed him into the Lamborghini.