Buhk, Perera win Qualifying Race
Maxi Buhk and Franck Perera took the victory with Mercedes-AMG in the Blancpain GT Sprint Qualifying Race at Misano. The HTP Motorsport duo finished in front of their team mates Jules Szymkowiak and Fabian Schiller, winners of the Silver Cup. Newcomer Raffaele Marciello and Michael Meadows completed a sensational Mercedes-AMG 1-2-3 with the AKKA ASP car.
The race, run in the dark, was red flagged at the first lap, when the Audi of Will Stevens spun and caused a multi-car pile-up, with six cars unable to restart.
Once the race got going again, polesitter Marco Mapelli entered the pitlane, after a fuel pressure problem slowed down his Attempto Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3. That let the reigning Blancpain GT Series champion Buhk to take the lead. His team mate and fellow champion Dominik Baumann were second, but had a contact with the Mercedes-AMG of Marciello and dropped to 20th position, leaving the Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini of Mirko Bortolotti in second position.
After the mandatory pit-stops Schiller moved up to second place. His co-driver Jules Szymkowiak had started from tenth, but managed to climb up to fifth. The AKKA ASP car, now in the hands of Michael Meadows, was still in third. Those positions remained unchanged for the second half of the race.
The battle for the remaining points positions produced a hectic finish to the race. Vincent Abril on the Bentley Team M-Sport Continental took advantage of a mistake from Christian Engelhart and Andrew Watson to claim fourth, with Felix Serralles scoring points in his first-ever Blancpain GT Series race. Reigning champion Enzo Ide crossed the line in sixth, after his co-driver Chris Mies had started the race from the 18th position on the grid.
The win in the PRO-AM class went to reigning champion Michael Broniszewski, sharing the Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 with Giacomo Piccini.