Perez Companc, Mapelli win after drama
Ezequiel Perez Companc and Marco Mapelli claimed an almost lights-to-flag victory at Zandvoort in the Saturday’s first race. The GRT Grasser Racing Team pair finished 0.703 seconds ahead second placed Sheldon and Kelvin van der Lind’ Audi R8 LMS. Jake Dennis and Christopher Mies took the third position in another Montaplast by Land-Motorsport Audi.
Drama at the start, when polesitter Perez Companc stayed ahead as he got away off the line, but his team mate Mirko Bortolotti in the Lamborghini sister car overtook the Argentinean on the exit from Turn 2. However, the two Huracán GT3s made contact with one another just two corners later. Perez Companc reclaimed the lead as Bortolotti spun off the track. The safety car was deployed for three laps.
Perez Companc then defended P1 against the two Montaplast by Land-Motorsport Audis which stayed hot on his heels until the compulsory pit stop and change of drivers, after which the Lamborghini remained out in front. Mapelli, making his first appearance in the 2018 ADAC GT Masters, then secured the win at the finish line. After the Lausitzring in 2017, this was Perez Companc’s second victory in the series and also his second in the Pirelli Junior class, while partner Mapelli claimed a maiden win in the series.
Audi drivers Sheldon and Kelvin van der Linde finished second after pitting sooner than team-mates Dennis and Mies, who dropped to P3 after switching drivers. For the van der Linde brothers, this was their second podium finish of the season after their win on the opening weekend at Oschersleben. It was the first podium finish of the 2018 campaign for their team-mates. Fourth place went to another pair of Audi drivers, Mike David Ortmann and Markus Winkelhock, with the BWT Mücke Motorsport car.
The eight points for sixth place were enough to give Mercedes-AMG drivers Markus Pommer and Maximilian Götz the lead in the championship. The Corvette duo Marvin Kirchhöfer and Daniel Keilwitz, who had occupied the top spot in the standings before Zandvoort, came away empty-handed in P17.
“It was a very tough race. I had a good stint, after which Marco brought the victory home in an assured manner despite pressure from behind“, said Perez Companc, “The collision with Mirko was unfortunate and is something that should not happen between team-mates. We will sort this out within the team.”