Max Nilsson (SWE) and Mika Vahamaki (FIN) in the Heico Gravity-Charouz Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 No.2 took a maiden victory in Race One in a thrilling contest in the heat of Navarra.
In a frantic battle, with the lead changing hands throughout, Vahamaki said the key to the victory was the opening stint and staying out of trouble in the early stages.
“Max (Nilsson) did a great job in his stint saving the tyres and putting me in a good position to be able to push towards the end,” he said. “The car felt good during the race. This is a great result for the team.”
Stefano Gai (ITA) and Michael Lyons (GBR) in the AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia No.51 were second having led the race at mid-distance.
Lyons was delighted with the result which lifted him and Gai to second in the drivers’ standings. “We gave it our best shot for the win but we just weren’t fast enough anywhere on the straights to get a run into the corners,” he said.
“The pit stop worked out well, we took the lead of the race but Stefano had a tough job holding everyone off. But we are delighted with the result for the whole team.”
Third was Hari Procyzk (DEU) and David Mengesdorf (DEU) in the pole-sitting Rhino’s Leipert Motorsport Lamborghini No.11 which had an eventful outing.
Mengesdorf, the long-time leader, brought the No.11 Lamborghini in with just two minutes of the Pit Window remaining. On resuming he was jumped by Gai and Maximilian Buhk in the No.1 Heico Gravity-Charouz Mercedes.
Contact at Turn 8, between the No.1 Mercedes and the Lamborghini when dicing over the lead resulted in damage to the left front wheel of Buhl ‘s car. He visited the pits for hasty repairs while Proczyk eventually recovered to storm home in third from a distant fifth place after the incident.
“It was a good race but unfortunately I had the incident with Buhk which affected our race,” he said. “I thought I was passed him but he chose to go for the inside. He is a young guy and maybe he was a bit anxious. The front of the car is a bit damaged but it will be OK for the second race.”
Gaetano Ardagna Perez (VEN), in the AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia, the championship-leading car, had a lively opening stint.
Starting sixth, he had worked his way up to fourth but went wide at the exit of turn one dropping to seventh by the time the pit window opened.
His team-mate, Giuseppe Ciro (ITA) eventually brought the No.50 car home to sixth place at the finish. They maintained their lead in the drivers’ table while AF Corse strengthen their position at the lead of the teams’ standings.