Phoenix Racing’s #5 Audi R8 LMS was the star of the show again in the second of the two GT4 International Cup Qualifying Races at Bahrain.
The car, driven by Nicolaj Moller Madsen and Milan Dontje took its second win of the day, winning comfortably at the end after a strong run to the lead in the second half of the race, which in turn, secured the duo pole position for the Main Race later today.
The winning margin in the end was 4.9 seconds, the #5 Audi leading home the 3Y Technology BMW, which looked set to take the win in the closing stages before Dontje made his move with seven minutes left to take the lead having started his stint third after the pit stops.
The first half of the race was relatively subdued, only after the pit stops were there lots of movers and shakers at the head of the field.
Initially, the #41 Sainteloc Audi led from pole, Steven Palette holding a strong lead until the halfway mark. But his teammate Michael Blanchemain couldn’t hold on to take home the top prize.
He had a spin on his out-lap, dropping to second, behind Gilles Vannelet in the 3Y BMW. After that, his pace wasn’t strong enough to hold onto a podium spot, the Frenchman eventually dropping to seventh by the end of the race.
As he faded away, Dontje made his moves for the lead, and the race for third, fourth and fifth heated up.
The Academy Motorsport McLaren came alive in the closing stages, Finlay Hutchison steering the #10 570S GT4 from seventh to third, making multiple simple moves, before having to muscle his way past Jerome Policand’s AKKA ASP Mercedes after running door-to-door through Turns 9 and 10 in the closing laps to take third.
To make matters worse for Policand, he then lost fourth place at the very end of the race to the #36 CMR Alpine which won a drag race to the line on the final lap, capping off a spirited run from Pierre Sancinena during the second half of the hour-long sprint.
Behind the AKKA Mercedes was the #3 Phoenix Racing Audi, which demoted the #41 Sainteloc Audi to seventh, just ahead of the sister Sainteloc #42 R8 LMS GT4 which started second but lost its chance at a podium after the team was handed a drive-through penalty.
The Main Race for the GT4 International Cup teams is set to begin at 17:45 local time.