|The #18 Vita4One machine controlled
the race after the stops. ©Berns/SRO
It is the fourth race meeting and the fourth new Championship Race winner in the FIA GT1 World Championship. The Vita4One pairing of Yelmer Burmann and team owner, Michael Bartels claimed the victory by 2.951 seconds from the #1 McLaren MP4-12c GT3 of Hexis after claiming the lead in the stops.
As the race got underway, it went five or six wide into the first corner, the wide expanses of the Slovakia Ring allowing some awe inspiring racing. The circuit was not wide enough however for Milos Pavlovic and Tomas Enge who's coming together on the second lap of the race would make for the only proper contact of the race.
As the #24 Lamborghini of the Reiter Engineering team tried the outside line, the Ford GT got a wobble on. Milos tried to control the car but an over-correction put the GT into the side of the Gallardo. Both cars would head promptly to the pits, the Ford for a punctured tyre and the Lamborghini for incurable damage to the steering. Enge and Von Thurn und Taxis would retire, Pavlovic and Cressoni carried on to an eventual 12th place.
An early lead for the Ferrari of Felip Salaquarda came under strong attack. Fred Makowieki started very strong, passing for second place very early on. The McLaren then marched on to challenge for the lead, which turned into a four way battle between Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes, (the #38 of Marcus Winkelhock) and the BMW which would eventually claim the race.
Just on the quarter way mark the #1 made it through the #3. At the same time the Mercedes of Winkelhock lost out to the Burmann driven BMW. Less than a minute later the Z4 GT3 was past the Ferrari of Salaquada and set of in persuit of the MP4-12c.
The McLaren was trying to build up a gap but the pace of the BMW was too strong and by the time the pit window opened, it was all but written on the wall. The #1 and #18 swiftly built a noticeable gap on the Ferrari and Mercedes behind. Just ahead of the pit window, a puncture hobbled the hopes of the #25 Lamborghini, sending it to the pit lane early. The stop saw four tyres fitted but the Rosina and O'Young car would also have to change tyres at the mandatory stop.
When the window opened, the #38 took a chance to jump in early, Marcus Winkelhock handing over to the boss, Marc Basseng. A strong stop for the All-Inkl.com team, combined with poor pace for the Salaquarda/Vilander Ferrari cemented their hold on the final step of the podium.
It was a late call to the pits for the two leaders, with the McLaren blinking first. A fairly quick stop, especially by the standards of the post-Aston Martin Hexis team, was ruined by the arrival of the #9 Exim Bank Team China Porsche just as Step Dusseldorp tried to leave the pit box. That cost a long time which meant that once the BMW completed it's stop a lap later, it came out with the full start/finish straight over the #1 Aston Martin.
The battle for the lower positions also thrilled, or scared as the case may be. A battle between the Audi R8 LMS of Laurens Vanthoor and the #17 Vita4One BMW of Nicky Mayer-Melnhoff became very physical late in the race as the BMW pushed the Audi clear onto the grass on the start straight. After a four wheels off the track tankslapper, Vanthoor regained the car before treating the BMW with a lot more respect.
That respect paid off fifteen minutes later when the #32 SpeedHunters WRT Audi finally managed to squeeze past the BMW. While this was happening the #2 McLaren dropped by the pits and failed to start again. @dsceuroeditor was kind enough to let us know this on twitter as the world feed missed the retirement of Alvaro Parente. It was apparently a radiator issue which ended the MP4-12c's charge.
|1||18||GT1||Yelmer Buurman / Michael Bartels||BMW E89 Z4||1:01:24.886||29|
|2||1||GT1||Frederic Makowiecki / Stef Dusseldorp||McLaren MP4-12C||1:01:27.837||29||2.951|
|3||38||GT1||Marcus Winkelhock / Marc Basseng||Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3||1:01:30.486||29||5.600|
|4||3||GT1||Filip Salaquarda / Toni Vilander||Ferrari 458 Italia GT3||1:01:42.146||29||17.260|
|5||33||GT1||Frank Stippler / Oliver Jarvis||Audi R8 LMS||1:01:55.397||29||30.511|
|6||32||GT1||Stephane Ortelli / Laurens Vanthoor||Audi R8 LMS||1:01:58.350||29||33.464|
|7||17||GT1||Mathias Lauda / Nikolaus Mayr-Melnhof||BMW E89 Z4||1:02:03.400||29||38.514|
|8||9||GT1||Matt Halliday / Mike Parisy||Porsche 911 GT3 R||1:02:12.454||29||47.568|
|9||4||GT1||Enzo Ide / Francesco Castellacci||Ferrari 458 Italia GT3||1:02:15.675||29||50.789|
|10||37||GT1||Thomas Jäger / Nicky Pastorelli||Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3||1:02:49.515||29||1:24.629|
|11||25||GT1||Stefan Rosina / Darryl O Young||Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4||1:02:58.715||29||1:33.829|
|12||10||GT1||Milos Pavlovic / Matteo Cressoni||Ford GT||1:01:54.863||28||29.977|
|13||2||GT1||Gregoire Demoustier / Alvaro Parente||McLaren MP4-12C||41:57.418||19||19:27.468|
|14||24||GT1||Tomas Enge / Albert von Thurn und Taxis||Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4||4:45.683||2||56:39.203|