Lluc Ibanez and Xavier Lloveras gave NM Racing Team victory in the first GT4 European Series race at Nürburgring, claiming their second victory of the 2020 season. Victory in Pro-Am went to Allied Racing, while AGS Events won the Am class.
The #15 NM Racing Team Mercedes-AMG started from third on the grid and remained in that position during the first stint. But, after the pit window had closed Lluc Ibanez found himself in a comfortable lead and the Spanish driver brought the across the line to take NM Racing Team’s second win of the 2020 campaign.
During the first part of the race, Ivan Jacoma in the #718 Centri Porsche Ticino Porsche led from pole and the Swiss driver managed to keep Stéphane Lemeret behind. Lémeret had a great start and moved into second place behind Jacoma and ahead of the Lloveras, as others struggled on the opening lap.
Contacts on the opening lap resulted in the #22 Allied Racing Porsche losing several positions and the #21 Allied Racing Porsche losing a lap, after having to return to the pits at the end of lap 1 with a puncture.
What followed was a great battle for fourth place overall, with the #111 RN Vision STS BMW, the #22 Allied Racing Porsche, the #66 CMR Toyota and the #27 AGS Events Aston Martin all trying to claim the position. The fight allowed others, like the #69 Dörr Motorsport McLaren to close in.
A full course yellow, followed by a safety car, was triggered by Dario Cerati in the Autorlando Sport Porsche. Cerati beached his car in the gravel trap and required assistance to get out. By that time Centri Porsche Ticino was informed that Jacoma had made a false start and the #718 Porsche was given a five-second penalty, to be served during the mandatory pit stop.
After the pit stops, it was the #15 NM Racing Team Mercedes-AMG that had taken the lead of the race, with Gael Castelli in the #8 CMR Toyota still in second place. Valentin Hasse-Clot moved into third place, despite a mishap in the pits. Gabriele Piana was fourth out of the pits, followed by Phil Dörr in the Dörr Motorsport McLaren.
Three laps from the end Dörr managed to pass Piana to take fourth place on the exit of the last corner and despite an attempt to recover the position at the end of the straight, the McLaren driver kept Piana behind into turn 1. Fourth then became third when Hasse-Clot suffered a puncture.
There was no such drama for Lluc Ibanez and the NM Racing Team. After 26 laps Ibanez crossed the line to take the team’s second win of the season. Castelli finished in second place at 5.429s from the race winners. Phil Dörr clinched Dörr Motorsport’s first podium on the team’s series debut. Schouten/Piana (#111 RN Vision STS BMW) and Potty/Buret (#66 CMR Toyota) completed the Silver Cup top five.
Pro-Am honours went to Allied Racing’s Jan Kasperlik and Bastian Buus. Despite the contact on the opening lap, the German-Danish pair never gave up. After the safety car and the penalty, the Centri Porsche Ticino car was still leading, but Buus caught Joel Camathias and on lap 22 moved into the lead when the Swiss driver ran a bit too wide at the chicane.
Buus then pushed and gradually edged away from the #718 Porsche. At the finish, the gap between Buus and Camathias was 2.412s. Cem Bölükbasi and Yagiz Gedik completed the Pro-Am top three, albeit almost half a second behind the race winners. SRT’s Wim Spinoy and Kenneth Heyer finished in fourth place, Jörg Viebahn and Nicolaj Møller-Madsen (Allied Racing) ended the race in fifth.
Nicolas Gomar and Gilles Vannelet increased their championship lead by taking their second victory of the season in the Am class. The #89 AGS Events Aston Martin started from pole, led the entire race and ultimately finished four seconds clear of the #31 SRT Mercedes of Bob Herber. Herber’s teammates Jean-Luc Behets and Johan Vannerum completed the Am class podium.
Xavier Lloveras, #15 NM Racing Team Mercedes-AMG: “We knew our start wouldn’t be good, but still managed to only lose one place. We stayed in second place in the Silver class. It is quite difficult to overtake on this track, so we had to think of a good strategy and we did. We won on the pit stop and Lluc brought it home.”
Lluc Ibanez, #15 NM Racing Team Mercedes-AMG: “Xavier did the job. He started the race and he managed a little bit of space to the other drivers. We had a really good pit stop, like in Misano. In the first three laps, we managed to create a gap and we won!”
Bastian Buus, #22 Allied-Racing Porsche: “Overall pole in qualifying for race 2 and now the race win, it’s quite good! Jan had a difficult start of the race. It was a messy first lap. We had to catch up with the guys in front and were a bit lucky that the other Porsche got a penalty. We had a great battle, I struggled a bit to get by him, but in the end, I went by and then pulled away!”
Jan Kasperlik, #22 Allied-Racing Porsche: “I’m happy that we win our third race. For us, it is important that Bastian is winning in the end, as it is important for his future. We again showed that we are the quickest Porsche. Tomorrow we start from pole, that’s the next good thing!”