Customer Racing: Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup: Mercedes-AMG Motorsport with an outstanding performance in the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup

02.
September 2018
Budapest

The Mercedes-AMG GT3 shines with top results and an early title win in the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup at the Hungaroring: with victory in the second race on Sunday, Raffaele Marciello (ITA) and Michael Meadows (GBR) scored the highlight for the AKKA ASP Team. In the first race on Saturday, the Italian-British duo had already secured second place overall ahead of their teammates Nicolas Jamin (FRA) and Denis Bulatov (RUS). With victory in the Pro-Am class (SunEnergy1 Racing #751) and a lock-out of the first four positions in the Silver Cup (AKKA ASP Team #87, #90, #35 and BLACK FALCON #6), the Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing Teams completed the day’s success on Saturday. Further successful class results were to follow on Sunday: Jamin and Bulatov as well as Nico Bastian (GER) and Jack Manchester (GBR) finished first and second in the Silver Cup. Thus, Nico Bastian and Jack Manchester were able to celebrate the early Silver Cup title win in the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup.

  • Race 1: Second and third place overall for AKKA ASP Team #88 and #87
  • Race 1: P1, P2, P3 und P4 in the Silver Cup and victory in the Pro-Am class
  • Race 2: Victory for Raffaele Marciello and Michael Meadows
  • Race 2: P1 and P2 in the Silver Cup for the Mercedes-AMG GT3
  • Early Silver Cup title win in the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup

Budapest – The weekend at the 4.381 kilometres long circuit in Hungary went off to a perfect start: in the two qualifying sessions on Saturday morning, the AKKA ASP Team secured pole position for the first and the second race. Raffaele Marciello was the fastest driver in second qualifying and thus started from first position on Sunday. Due to extremely wet and difficult conditions, the field of 21 cars initially had to start behind the safety car. Together with his fellow Mercedes-AMG driver Luca Stolz (GER) of the BLACK FALCON team, who started from second place, the two were at the front of the field. Marciello used the advantage of a clear view at the wet track and with the fastest lap times of the field, he established a lead that he managed to extend to around six seconds until the pit stop with 25 minutes remaining in the race.

His teammate Michael Meadows made use of the undisputed lead and drove a commanding and faultless race until a safety car intervention made his advantage disappear. At the restart, the Brit remained in control, again pulled clear in continuing adverse conditions and crossed the finish line as the winner after 28 laps. With the #88 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3, Marciello and Meadows thus secured the first Blacpain GT Series Sprint Cup win of the season for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport.

Starting driver Luca Stolz and his teammate Hubert Haupt (GER) having defended second place overall with a strong performance as Silver Cup competitors until the safety car came out, the team lost some positions after the restart. Eventually they finished in twelfth place (fourth position in the Silver Cup). Nicolas Jamin and Denis Bulatov (SMP Racing by AKKA ASP #35) as well as Nico Bastian and Jack Manchester (AKKA ASP Team #90) managed to add further top ten results with eighth and ninth place, equalling first and second position in the Silver Cup. Thus, Bastian/Manchester are celebrating the early Silver Cup title win in the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup.

Podium results and class wins in race one on Saturday

On Saturday, it was Silver Cup driver Nico Bastian who started from pole position for the first race with his #90 Mercedes-AMG GT3. As the track dried out, almost all teams opted for slick tyres, although there was a downpour at the Hungaroring just before the start. In a turbulent, but largely accident-free opening stage, the Mercedes-AMG GT3 with starting numbers #87, #90 and #88 established themselves in the group of the front runners in third, fourth and fifth place respectively and remained in contention for a podium finish until the mandatory pit stop around the halfway point of the race.

As Mercedes-AMG Driver Raffaele Marciello took over the #88 Mercedes-AMG GT3 from his teammate Michael Meadows, he immediately started an attack: with his first flying lap, he posted a new fastest lap time that he improved further to 1m44.598s as the race went on. Marciello got himself firmly in third position and continuously closed up to his teammate Denis Bulatov in the car with starting number 87. A thrilling duel for second place was on the cards as the Russian handed second place to Marciello without any battle with five minutes remaining following a spin while accelerating out of a corner. However, Bulatov’s margin was sufficient to bring third place and thus the double podium success for Mercedes-AMG home. With this result, Bulatov/Jamin came out on top in the Silver Cup. Nico Bastian and Jack Manchester, Vladimir Atoev and Alexey Korneev (both RUS) as well as Hubert Haupt and Luca Stolz rounded out the outstanding success in the Silver Cup by finishing second, third and fourth in that order. With the SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3, Kenny Habul (AUS) and Tristan Vautier (FRA) claimed victory in the Pro-Am class.

Championship battle getting closer

Prior to the season finale at the Nürburgring in a fortnight (14-16 September), the battle for the Sprint Cup remains extremely thrilling. With the strong achievements at the Hungaroring, Raffaele Marciello and Michael Meadows managed to move up into the ex-aequo Sprint Cup points’ lead. With 74 points, the duo is tied with its rivals. Currently in second position, the AKKA ASP Team also still has all the chances of winning the championship. In the Silver Cup, Nico Bastian and Jack Manchester extended their points’ lead from their fellow Mercedes-AMG drivers Alexey Korneev and Vladimir Atoev and thus also celebrated the early Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup Silver Cup title win.

In the overall Blancpain GT Series standings (Sprint and Endurance Cup), the situation is also very good: Raffaele Marciello has taken over the lead in the overall standings with a tiny margin. AKKA ASP can also still win the teams’ title and Nico Bastian and Jack Manchester have extended their points’ lead in the overall Silver Cup standings. The grand finale of the Blancpain GT Series will be the Endurance Cup season finale at Barcelona (27-30 September).

Raffaele Marciello, AKKA ASP Team #88: “The entire team and Michael have done a super job. Victory was very important for us. The entire weekend has been really good, also with second place on Saturday. That was a strong achievement by the entire team and we are still in contention for the Sprint Cup and the overall titles as a result.”

Michael Meadows, AKKA ASP Team #88: “The Mercedes-AMG GT3 ran perfectly. Also on a wet track, we had a super performance. Prior to the safety car intervention, I had a comfortable lead and I don’t really had to push. The first laps after the restart were difficult because I first had to find my limit in the rain. However, I quickly found my rhythm and I managed to bring victory home. A great weekend for the entire team.”

Tristan Vautier, SunEnergy1 Racing #751: “It was a super day for Kenny on Saturday. He managed to post good lap times and victory in the Pro-Am class was great. Therefore, it was too bad that we had to withdraw the car on Sunday. We both got high fever. For me, it already started on Saturday, but I was still able to drive. Then, it got worse and Kenny got it during the night from Saturday to Sunday as well, so we decided that we wouldn’t race."

Nicolas Jamin, AKKA ASP Team #87: “The race on Sunday was one of my most exciting races ever. In the rain, I took over the car relatively far down in the field and had to find my way to the front. Making up one position after another really was fun. At the end of the day, eighth place overall and the second Silver Cup win this weekend are a great result.”

Nico Bastian, AKKA ASP Team #90: “For me personally, claiming my maiden Blancpain GT Series pole position was the highlight. At the start, I was caught out a bit, but I was able to hand the car to Jack in a good position. Seventh place overall and second in the Silver Cup was a super result on Saturday. We had to start all the way from the back for the second race, but we were able to make good progress. Starting from P21 and then finishing tenth overall and scoring another second place in the Silver Cup is a strong achievement. Thus, we even managed to secure an early title win in the Sprint Cup and are also leading in the overall Silver Cup standings. Therefore, I am very happy with the weekend and I am looking forward to the remaining races this season.”

Result race 1*, Hungaroring:

POS

overall

POS

class

Nr.

Car

Team

Drivers

1.

1.

(PRO)

63

Lamborghini Huracan GT3

GRT Grasser Racing Team

Mirko Bortolotti (ITA), Christian Engelhart (GER)

2.

2.

(PRO)

88

Mercedes-AMG GT3

AKKA ASP Team

Raffaele Marciello (ITA), Michael Meadows (GBR)

3.

1.

(SILVER)

87

Mercedes-AMG GT3

AKKA ASP Team

Nicolas Jamin (FRA), Denis Bulatov (RUS)

 

 

 

 

 

7.

2.

(SILVER)

90

Mercedes-AMG GT3

AKKA ASP Team

Nico Bastian (GER), Jack Manchester (GBR)

8.

3.

(SILVER)

35

Mercedes-AMG GT3

SMP Racing by AKKA ASP Team

Vladimir Atoev (RUS), Alexey Korneev (RUS)

9.

4.

(SILVER)

6

Mercedes-AMG GT3

BLACK FALCON

Hubert Haupt (GER), Luca Stolz (GER)

15.

1.

(PRO-AM)

751

Mercedes-AMG GT3

SunEnergy1 Racing

Kenny Habul (AUS), Tristan Vautier (FRA)

* excerpt subject to confirmation by the organisers

Result race 2*, Hungaroring:

POS

overall

POS

class

Nr.

Car

Team

Drivers

1.

1.

(PRO)

88

Mercedes-AMG GT3

AKKA ASP Team

Raffaele Marciello (ITA), Michael Meadows (GBR)

2.

2.

(PRO-AM)

25

Audi R8 LMS

Sainteloc Racing

Simon Gachet (FRA), Christopher Haase (GER)

3.

2.

(PRO)

66

Audi R8 LMS

Attempto Racing

Steijn Schothorst (NED), Kelvin van der Linde (RSA)

 

 

 

 

 

8.

1.

(SILVER)

87

Mercedes-AMG GT3

AKKA ASP Team

Nicolas Jamin (FRA), Denis Bulatov (RUS)

9.

2.

(SILVER)

90

Mercedes-AMG GT3

AKKA ASP Team

Nico Bastian (GER), Jack Manchester (GBR)

12.

4.

(SILVER)

6

Mercedes-AMG GT3

BLACK FALCON

Hubert Haupt (GER), Luca Stolz (GER)

18.

6.

(SILVER)

35

Mercedes-AMG GT3

SMP Racing by AKKA ASP Team

Vladimir Atoev (RUS), Alexey Korneev (RUS)

DNS

DNS

(PRO-AM)

751

Mercedes-AMG GT3

SunEnergy1 Racing

Kenny Habul (AUS), Tristan Vautier (FRA)

* excerpt subject to confirmation by the organisers

 

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  • 18C0746_01
    Winners race 2 (from left): Michael Meadows and Raffaele Marciello, AKKA ASP Team, #88 Mercedes-AMG GT3
  • 18C0746_02
    #88 Mercedes-AMG GT3, AKKA ASP Team
  • 18C0746_03
    Michael Meadows at parc férme after victory in second race
  • 18C0746_04
    Mercedes-AMG GT3s by AKKA ASP Team
  • 18C0746_05
    #87 Mercedes-AMG GT3: Silver Cup winner in race 1 and race 2
  • 18C0746_06
    #90 Mercedes-AMG GT3: two second places in Silver Cup
  • 18C0746_07
    #6 BLACK FALCON Mercedes-AMG GT3
  • 18C0746_08
    Overall podium race 1: second (left: Raffaele Marciello/Michael Mea dows) and third place (right: Nicolas Jamin/Denis Bulatov) for Mercedes-AMG
  • 18C0746_09
    Silver Cup podiu m first race: First (middle: Nicolas Jamin/Denis Bulatov), second (left: Jack Manchester/Nico Bastian) and third place (rechts: Alexey Korneev/Vladimir Atoev) for Mercedes-AMG
  • 18C0746_10
    Pro-Am winners: Tristan Vautier (left) and Kenny Habul, SunEnergy1 Racing #751
  • 18C0746_11
    #87 and #32 Mercedes-AMG GT3
  • 18C0746_12
    #90 AKKA ASP Team Mercedes-AMG GT3
  • 18C0746_13
    #35 SMP Racing by AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3
  • 18C0746_14
    #751 Mercedes-AMG GT3 by SunEnergy1 Racing
  • 18C0746_15
    #6 BLACK FALCON Mercedes-AMG GT3
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