Ortelli/Vanthoor win race and title

Ortelli/Vanthoor win race and title


Ortelli/Vanthoor win race and title


WRT Audi drivers Stephane Ortelli and Laurens Vanthoor secured the FIA GT Series title with victory in a dramatic championship race on the streets of Baku.

Ortelli took the lead at a confused start in which teammate and first race winner Niki Mayr-Melnhof was taken out of contention.

The WRT Audi R8 LMS ultra subsequently dropped to third shortly before a prolonged safety-car period to remove damaged kerbing at one of the chicanes, before Vanthoor resumed in second after the mandatory mid-race pit stops were complete.

The Belgian driver edged toward race leader Alon Day, who shared his Gravity Charouz Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG with Maximilian Buhk, and then took to the front when the Merc temporarily lost power.

Championship runners up Frank Stippler and Edward Sandstrom could only finish 13th and fifth of the registered points scorers in the Pro Cup after a slow pit stop.

The French Hexis Racing McLaren squad, which is set to close its doors after this race, claimed second place with its solo MP4-12C driven by Rob Bell and Kevin Estre, despite falling to the back of the field after Bell sustained a puncture on the opening lap.

Estre lay in eighth place after the pit stops, but quickly moved up the order and then took second in a dramatic incident at the first hairpin when he moved past Alvaro Parente’s Loeb McLaren and Day in the Charouz Merc in one maneuver. Day managed to hold off Parente, who shared his McLaren with team boss Sebastien Loeb, to take the final podium spot.

Pro-Am honours went to the fifth-placed Grasser Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 shared by Hari Proczyk and Dominik Baumann.

Results - 30 laps:Pos  Drivers                 Team/Car                      Time/Gap 1.  Mayr-Melnhof/Rast       WRT Audi                  1h00m39.010s 2.  Ortelli/Vanthoor        WRT Audi                       +1.313s 3.  Bell/Estre              Hexis McLaren                  +5.312s 4.  Sims/Dusseldorp         Boutsen McLaren                +5.755s 5.  Catsburg/Martin         Marc VDS BMW                  +31.029s 6.  Loeb/Parente            Loeb McLaren                  +39.168s 7.  Afanasiev/Simonsen      Gravity Charouz Mercedes      +39.464s 8.  Stippler/Sandstrom      WRT Audi                      +39.884s 9.  Khodair/Bueno           Brasil BMW                    +41.553s10.  Winkelhock/Ide          Phoenix Audi                  +46.205s11.  Tandy/Holzer            Trackspeed Porsche          +1m03.310s12.  Vervisch/Vandoorne      Boutsen McLaren             +1m10.829s13.  Buhk/Day                Gravity Charouz Mercedes    +1m23.156s14.  Cunha/Stumpf            Rodrive Lamborghini            +2 laps15.  Webb/Hetherington       Fortec Mercedes                +2 laps16.  Thomas/Melnikov         MRS McLaren                    +2 laps                                                                   Retirements:                                                                                                                         Zonta/Jimenez           Brasil BMW                     15 laps     Tandy/Holzer            Trackspeed Porsche             14 laps     Vervisch/Vandoorne      Boutsen McLaren                11 laps     Charouz/Janis           Gravity Charouz Mercedes        7 laps     Zuber/Parisy            Loeb McLaren                    3 laps     Webb/Hetherington       Fortec Mercedes                 2 laps     Khodair/Bueno           Brasil BMW                       1 lap     Catsburg/Martin         Marc VDS BMW                    0 laps     Afanasiev/Simonsen      Gravity Charouz Mercedes        0 laps     Demoustier/Albuquerque  WRT Audi                        0 laps     Ragginger/Watts         Trackspeed Porsche              0 laps