Customer Racing: Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe: A series of wins for Mercedes-AMG in Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe season opener

05.
May 2019
Brands Hatch

Mercedes-AMG Motorsport celebrates a very successful start of the season in the Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe: with a 1-2 in the first race, the Customer Racing Teams had a perfect start into the 2019 season. Nico Bastian (GER) and Thomas Neubauer (FRA) of the AKKA ASP Team showed a very strong performance with overall victory and the Silver Cup class win, even finishing ahead of the Pro cars. Maro Engel and Luca Stolz (both GER) for BLACK FALCON completed the 1-2 with second place. Engel/Stolz then went on to claim the overall win in race two while Bastian/Neubauer scored another Silver Cup class win. An additional overall victory and a class win for the Leipert Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT4 in the GT4 European Series rounded out the victorious weekend at Brands Hatch.

  • Race 1: a perfect start of the season with a 1-2
  • Race 2: overall victory and Silver Cup class win
  • Maiden overall win and another class win for Mercedes-AMG in the GT4 European Series

 

 

Brands Hatch – With top results in the practice and the two qualifying sessions already, the Mercedes-AMG GT3s showed that they ranked among the candidates for victory at Brands Hatch this weekend. Luca Stolz claimed pole position for the first race with the #4 BLACK FALCON Mercedes-AMG GT3. The second pole position of the day also went to Mercedes-AMG: in a turbulent second qualifying with rain setting in and some incidents and accidents, Fabian Schiller posted the fastest lap time for the AKKA ASP Team with the #90 car and got Mercedes-AMG a perfect grid position for the two one-hour races at the 3.9 kilometres long circuit of Brands Hatch.

In race one, starting driver Luca Stolz was able to pull clear from the rest of the 25-car field in a group of three together with an opponent and Nico Bastian, who had started from third place on the grid. Prior to his late pit stop, Nico Bastian took the lead halfway through the race and was able to complete some fast laps at a clear track before he handed the car to his 19-year-old teammate Thomas Neubauer. After the mandatory pit stop, the fastest pit stop of the field enabled the AKKA ASP Team entry with starting number 89 to defend its lead. Neubauer seamlessly continued the strong performance by Bastian and withstood the pressure from second-placed Maro Engel. After 39 laps in his first-ever GT3 race, Thomas Neubauer crossed the finish line in first place with a two-second margin, also securing Silver Cup class honours for the duo. Engel/Stolz (#4 BLACK FALCON) in second place overall and Vincent Abril (MON) and Raffaele Marciello (ITA) with the #88 AKKA ASP Team car in fourth place rounded out the strong team result for Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing.

In the second race, the Mercedes-AMG GT3s again were in promising positions with first, fourth, fifth, sixth and 13th place on the grid. Pole sitter Fabian Schiller built up an early lead and dominated at the front of the field. Maro Engel (#4 BLACK FALCON) and Raffaele Marciello (#88 AKKA ASP Team) followed in third and fourth place. With the pit stop after 30 minutes and the driver change from Engel to Stolz, BLACK FALCON took the lead. In second place, Abril started the hunt in the #88 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3. With the temporary lead for the further cars from Affalterbach in the Silver Cup (#89 AKKA ASP Team) and the Pro-Am class (#87 AKKA ASP Team), another outstanding result looked on the cards. A dramatic closing part of the race slightly upset the order: first of all, AKKA ASP saw its #88 car retire from second place overall, after which the sister car with starting number 90 also retired due to a technical issue with two minutes remaining. In spite of a drive-through penalty (overtaking during full course yellow), Nico Bastian brought the AKKA ASP entry with starting number 89 home as the Silver Cup class winner in eighth place overall. Jean-Luc Beaubelique and Jim Pla (both FRA) only just lost the Pro-Am class lead for the AKKA ASP Team on the finish straight and ended up second in class. Meanwhile, Engel/Stolz secured a commanding overall win in race two with the #4 BLACK FALCON Mercedes-AMG GT3, almost twelve seconds ahead after 39 laps.

After the first two races of the season at Brands Hatch, Engel/Stolz are leading the Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe overall standings with 29.5 points from Bastian/Neubauer with 18.5 points. Bastian/Neubauer are in the lead of the Silver Cup standings with their perfect score of 34 points. The next Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe round will be held in Misano, 28-30 June.

Overall and class win in the GT4 European Series The Mercedes-AMG GT4 also had a successful weekend at Brands Hatch. In the second race, Jasiek Kisiel (POL) quickly took the lead from second place on the grid and went on to control the one-hour race. After the pit stop, his team-amte Max Koebolt (NED) drove the #4 Leipert Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT4 to victory in the 31-car field. With this result, Leipert Motorsport also secured the maiden overall win for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport in the GT4 European Series. In the Leipert Motorsport sister car with starting number 2, Marcus Paverud (NOR) and Luca-Sandro Trefz (GER) rounded out the team’s success with first (race 1) and second (race 2) place in the Pro-Am class.

Stefan Wendl, head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing: “Congratulations to all teams and drivers, particularly to Nico and Thomas on their maiden overall win as s Silver Cup team in these extremely strong race series. We have shown an excellent team performance in both races and got ourselves a very good position for the remaining Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe rounds. Moreover, we were able to score valuable points for the global manufacturers’ championship. Congratulations also to the GT4 teams in the GT4 European Series in which the competition between the cars is also very close. After this weekend, we are heading into the remaining races of the season with plenty of confidence.”

Maro Engel, BLACK FALCON #4: “Congratulations to Nico an Thomas, they have been driving a super first raced. In my stint, I was able to catch up slightly in the beginning, but once I was behind Thomas, I lost aero and was no longer able to attack. Therefore, we concentrated on bringing second place home. Together with our victory in race two, this is a super start of the season for us. A big hand to the entire team for this great performance.”

Luca Stolz, BLACK FALCON #4: “In the first race, I had a good start and also a good restart after the safety car. Then, we lost some time during the pit stop. Maro tried everything to claim back the lead, but we can be very happy with second place. My final stint in the second race was a little bit more quiet. Having made a really good pit stop this time, I had a comfortable lead and was able to bring victory home without any major problems. Many thanks to the team and Maro for a great performance this weekend.”

Nico Bastian, AKKA ASP Team #89: “I had a good start and we were able to pull a slight gap from the rest of the field out in front. At Brands Hatch, overtaking is extremely difficult, so I stayed out as long as possible during my first stint to drive some more fast laps. That plan worked out perfectly. We had a super pit stop and we had a margin as we returned on track. Thomas has done a fantastic job in his first-ever GT3 race, he withstood the pressure from Maro and drove our first overall win home. In spite of the drive-through penalty, we were able to repeat our class win, so we go home from this weekend with a perfect point-score.”

Thomas Neubauer, AKKA ASP Team #89: “I am super happy with our overall win in the first race. Maro put me under a lot of pressure, but I tried just to focus on my own race. Fortunately, that worked out really well. I can hardly believe this success together with the further class win in the second race, and that in my first GT3 round.”

Raffaele Marciello, AKKA ASP Team #88: “It was a difficult weekend for us. In qualifying, we were unlucky with the weather already and in the second race, we retired while in second place. Too bad as we actually had the speed to be in contention at the front. Now, we are looking ahead to the next round.”

Results Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe, Brands Hatch.

Race 1*:

Pos.

Pos.

class

Nr.

class

Car

Team

Drivers

1.

 

1.

 

89

Silver Cup

Mercedes-AMG GT3

AKKA ASP Team

Nico Bastian (GER), Thomas Neubauer (FRA)

2.

2.

4

Pro

Mercedes-AMG GT3

BLACK FALCON

Maro Engel (GER), Luca Stolz (GER)

3.

3.

63

Pro

Lamborghini Huracan GT3 2019

GRT Grasser Racing Team

Mirko Bortolotti (ITA), Christian Engelhart (GER)

4.

3.

88

Pro

Mercedes-AMG GT3

AKKA ASP Team

Vincent Abril (MON), Raffaele Marciello (ITA)

15.

5.

90

Silver Cup

Mercedes-AMG GT3

AKKA ASP Team

Timur Boguslavskiy (RUS), Fabian Schiller (GER)

17.

3.

87

Pro-Am

Mercedes-AMG GT3

AKKA ASP Team

Jean-Luc Beaubelique (FRA), Jim Pla (FRA)

* subject to confirmation by the organisers 

Race 2*:

Pos.

Pos.

class

Nr.

class

Car

Team

Drivers

1.

1.

4

Pro

Mercedes-AMG GT3

BLACK FALCON

Maro Engel (GER), Luca Stolz (GER)

2.

2.

563

Pro

Lamborghini Huracan GT3 2019

Orange 1 FFF Racing Team

Andrea Caldarelli (ITA), Marco Mapelli (ITA)

3.

3.

55

Pro

Audi R8 LMS GT3 2019

Attempto Racing

Nick Foster (AUS), Steijn Schothorst (NED)

 

 

 

 

 

8.

 

1.

 

89

Silver Cup

Mercedes-AMG GT3

AKKA ASP Team

Nico Bastian (GER), Thomas Neubauer (FRA)

15.

2.

87

Pro-Am

Mercedes-AMG GT3

AKKA ASP Team

Jean-Luc Beaubelique (FRA), Jim Pla (FRA)

18.

4.

90

Silver Cup

Mercedes-AMG GT3

AKKA ASP Team

Timur Boguslavskiy (RUS), Fabian Schiller (GER)

19.

11.

88

Pro

Mercedes-AMG GT3

AKKA ASP Team

Vincent Abril (MON), Raffaele Marciello (ITA)

* subject to confirmation by the organisers

Press Contact

Media

Back

  • 19C0372_001
    #4 BLACK FALCON Mercedes-AMG GT3
  • 19C0372_002
    #89 AKKA ASP Team Mercedes-AMG GT3
  • 19C0372_003
    #88 AKKA ASP Team Mercedes-AMG GT3
  • 19C0372_004
    #87 AKKA ASP Team Mercedes-AMG GT3
  • 19C0372_005
    #90 AKKA ASP Team Mercedes-AMG GT3
  • 19C0372_006
    Starting grid #4 BLACK FALCON Mercedes-AMG GT3
  • 19C0372_007
    Start race 1 Blancpain GT World Challenge
  • 19C0372_008
    Podium race 1 (from left): Jérôme Policand (AKKA ASP Team), Luca Stolz and Maro Engel (BLACK FALCON #4), Nico Bastian and Thomas Neubauer (AKKA ASP Team #89)
  • 19C0372_009
    #89 AKKA ASP Team Mercedes-AMG GT3
  • 19C0372_011
    Pit stop AKKA ASP Team
  • 19C0372_010
    Driver change AKKA ASP Team
  • 19C0372_012
    Pit stop BLACK FALCON
  • 19C0372_013
    #4 BLACK FALCON Mercedes-AMG GT3
  • 19C0372_014
    #88 AKKA ASP Team Mercedes-AMG GT3
  • 19C0372_015
    Maro Engel, #4 BLACK FALCON
Loading