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Engelhart & Bortolotti Double Up At Brands

#63 Grasser Lamborghini utterly dominant in main race

Grasser Lamborghini’s Christian Engelhart and Mirko Bortolotti made it two wins from two races for the #63 Huracan, cruising home to another victory in the second and final of Sunday’s Blancpain GT Sprint Cup encounters at Brands. The duo’s eventual winning margin over second and third-place WRT Audis was 19 seconds.

At the start, second-place Markus Palttala in the #98 ROWE BMW appeared out of position, which effectively gifted second to Ezequiel Perez Companc in the #19 Grasser Lamborghini before the lights even went out. Polesitter Engelhart looked poised to disappear up the road, but a brief safety car temporarily arrested his progress when Clemens Schmid in the #75 ISR Audi found the gravel.

Once racing got back underway, Felix Serralles in the #88 AKKA-ASP Mercedes found a way past Palttala for third, while fifth-place Antonio Felix Da Costa in the sister ROWE car was also under siege, losing places to Ben Barnicoat in the #58 Strakka McLaren and Stuart Leonard in the #17 WRT Audi. With 13 laps in the bag, Engelhart was 15 seconds clear of team-mate Perez Companc at the front of the field as the pitstop window approached.

Palttala in fourth then came under attack from a determined Barnicoat down Hawthorn Hill, while simultaneously Serralles was pushing Companc hard for second. The latter elected not to try holding Serralles off, instead pitting at the earliest possible opportunity to hand the #19 car to co-driver Siedler. However the car failed to pull away once Siedler was aboard and a was pulled into the garage by the mechanics.

Further back, Leonard’s race took a turn for the worse as he dropped a pile of positions, ending up ninth just before the pit window opened. There was also drama for the #99 ROWE BMW, Phillip Eng having just taken over from Da Costa, made contact with the #88 Mercedes while exiting the pits, ending the BMW’s race on the spot.

The #88 AKKA-ASP car was later hit with a drive-through penalty for an unsafe release and later retired, but close examination of the replay showed both that Juncadella had jinked left to avoid a tyre dropped by another team’s mechanic and that Eng had moved right afterwards, causing a secondary impact.

Once the order had shaken out after the pit stops, Bortolotti had 20 seconds in hand over second-place Will Stevens in the #2 WRT Audi started by Markus Winkelhock, while third was held by sister #17 R8 started by Leonard, now in the hands of Robin Frijns after slick pit work from the Belgian crew. Frijns then took second from Stevens ad began to pull away.

Fabian Schiller started the stint fourth in the #85 HTP Mercedes started by Jules Szymkowiak, while Jesse Krohn was fifth having taken over the #98 ROWE BMW from Palttala and Franck Perera held sixth in the #84 HTP Mercedes.

After a quieter second half of the race, that’s pretty much how they would finish, save for Dries Vanthoor in the #5 WRT Audi managing to relieve Perera of sixth with about 10 minutes to run. Eighth and ninth went to the #90 AKKA-ASP Mercedes and #26 Sainteloc Audi, while Jake Dennis/Pieter Schothorst WRT completed the top 10.