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Marciello/Meadows snatch Blancpain GT Sprint title amid drama

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Former Ferrari protege Raffaele Marciello and Michael Meadows snatched the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup championship victory with a win in the second Nurburgring race.

The victorious #88 ASP Mercedes started the race in second and spent much of the afternoon behind the polesitting Black Falcon #6 Mercedes of Hubert Haupt and Luca Stolz before getting ahead after the pitstops.

Haupt gave chase but crossed the line half a second behind the newly-crowned champions, with the #25 Audi of Simon Gachet and Christopher Haase finishing in third.

Late drama came from the championship contender of the #1 WRT Audi Alex Ribera and Christopher Mies, who had made a good start after a crash in qualifying had left them in 14th.

They made their way up to fifth through a combination of a good pitstop and a strong opening stint for Mies.

With Marciello leading, the #1 Audi needed to finish fourth to take championship victory and a lengthy battle ensued for the position with the #66 Attempto Audi of Steijn Schothorst, with Riberas attempting an ambitious move with three minutes to go.

This allowed the #19 Grasser Lamborghini Huracan of Ezequiel Perez Companc in sixth to catch up with the battle, which after several corners of the three cars disputing fourth led to Riberas retiring to the garage with a puncture.

As a result Riberas and Mies had to settle for second in the championship, despite taking three wins in 2018 to the #88 ASP Mercedes’ two.

The #87 ASP Mercedes of Nicolas Jamin and Adam Christodoulou finished in sixth ahead of the #14 Emil Frey Lexus of Albert Costa and Christian Klien.

Saturday’s original race one winner, the #63 Grasser Lamborghini (pictured above), was disqualified from the meeting ahead of the finale.

It had lost its victory in the opener when Christian Engelhart was given a 30-second time penalty for illegally wearing his frontal head restraint over the shoulder straps of his harness.

Further footage then emerged showing Engelhart removing a glove and unbuckling his harness so he could remove the SD card from the driver-facing onboard safety camera and then destroy it.

The car was disqualified as driving with the unfastened harness, without a glove and without a safety camera operating were all rules transgressions.

A Grasser statement said “admitted full responsibility for the error” and offered his “sincere apologies” to the organisers, his team and Lamborghini.

Race two result

Pos Driver Team Car Laps Gap
1 M.Meadows, R.Marciello Akka ASP Team Mercedes 31 1h01m20.296s
2 H.Haupt, L.Stolz Black Falcon Mercedes 31 0.547s
3 S.Gachet, C.Haase Sainteloc Junior Team Audi 31 5.327s
4 S.Schothorst, K.van der Linde Attempto Racing Audi 31 10.659s
5 E.P.Companc, A.Caldarelli GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini 31 11.833s
6 N.Jamin, A.Christodoulou Akka ASP Team Mercedes 31 13.687s
7 A.Costa, C.Klien Emil Frey Racing Lexus 31 15.207s
8 N.Siedler, M.Palttala Emil Frey Racing Lexus 31 21.242s
9 S.Leonard, R.Frijns Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi 31 30.597s
10 R.Salikhov, D.Perel Rinaldi Racing Ferrari 31 42.935s
11 V.Atoev, A.Korneev Akka ASP Team Mercedes 31 44.284s
12 P.Schothorst, P.Kaffer Attempto Racing Audi 31 57.637s
13 P.B.-Bhakdi, C.van Dam Kessel Racing Ferrari 31 1m11.380s
14 L.Moraes, D.Dupont 3Y Technology BMW 31 2m05.678s
15 N.Stievenart, M.Winkelhock Sainteloc Junior Team Audi 30 1 Lap
16 A.Riberas, C.Mies Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi 29 2 Laps
17 N.Bastian, J.Manchester Akka ASP Team Mercedes 25 6 Laps
W.Stevens, D.Vanthoor Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi 17 Retirement
A.De Leener, R.Feller Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi 12 Retirement
M.Bortolotti, C.Engelhart GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini 0 Disqualified

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