Nurburgring Blancpain: Caldarelli/Mapelli head Lamborghini one-two


FFF Racing’s Andrea Caldarelli and Marco Mapelli moved into the lead of the Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe after leading a Lamborghini one-two in the first race at the Nurburgring.

The #563 Huracan GT3 started sixth on the grid but made inroads into the advantage of the leading Lamborghini of Mirko Bortolotti and Christian Engelhart following the completion of the mandatory driver-change pitstops.

Caldarelli sat behind the #63 for several laps before the two cars made contact on the run down to the first corner with just over 10 minutes of the one-hour race remaining.

But Caldarelli eventually seized the lead and eased to a second victory of the year by nine seconds.

The polesitting #63 car, with Bortolotti at the wheel, made a decent getaway from the rolling start to lead the #4 Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG of Luca Stolz into the first corner.

Bortolotti never headed Stolz by more than a second in the opening stint, while Silver Cup polesitter Mattia Drudi ran a superb third in the Attempto Racing Audi R8.

Drudi eventually fell into the clutches of a charging Kelvin van der Linde, who recovered from a poor start to move past Simon Gachet (Sainteloc Audi) before getting by Drudi.

Gachet also fell behind Mapelli just ahead of the pit window opening as the latter – in the eventual race-winning car – began to move into contention.

Of the leading quintet, only Drudi stayed out as the pit window opened and it was these stops that turned the race on its head.

Engelhart just about made it back out in front of Maro Engel’s Mercedes, which then received a drivethrough penalty for contact with the #10 Audi of Rik Breukers.

This removed the #4 from second place and gave Caldarelli and Mapelli a crucial platform on which to mount an assault for the lead.

Caldarelli quickly closed in on the back of Engelhart, who was struggling to match the pace of his Lamborghini stablemate.

Astute defence from Engelhart prevented several overtaking attempts from Caldarelli and it looked as though the #563 had blown its chance after the contact with the #63 took place under braking for Turn 1.

This momentarily let the #25 Audi – now in the hands of Christopher Haase – into second place, but Caldarelli got back ahead when the Audi ran wide a short while later.

Caldarelli then stuck it around the outside of Engelhart and eventually grabbed the lead.

Engelhart then came under waves of attack from Haase, with the other Audis of Christopher Mies and Dries Vanthoor making it a four-way battle for second.

But Engelhart placed his Huracan in the right parts of the circuit to maintain second ahead of Haase at the finish, while Mies held on to take fourth ahead of Vanthoor.

Drudi and Milan Dontje claimed Silver Cup honours with sixth overall, while David Perrel and Rinat Salikhov took the Am class victory for Rinaldi Racing Ferrari.

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