Simonsen And Afanasiev Beat WRT Trio To Slovakia Win

by Peter Allen
HTP Gravity Charouz - Photo Credit:

The Pro-Am class pairing of Andreas Simonsen and Sergei Afanasiev claimed overall honours in the FIA GT Series championship race at the Slovakia Ring, finishing ahead of the trio of WRT Audis which locked out the top three spots in the Pro Cup.

It was the Audi driven by Stephane Ortelli that took the lead of the race in a chaotic start, which saw pole-sitter Sebastien Loeb swamped, leading to contact between him, the Lamborghini of Peter Kox and the Mercedes of Alon Day.

Day was fired off into the gravel on the outside of the first corner, prematurely ending his and team-mate Maximilian Buhk‘s race after they won last time out in Zandvoort. Kox and Loeb both sustained race-ending damage, the latter stopping on track after a fire erupted in his McLaren to bring out a safety car.

Loeb complained that Ortelli had been ahead of him at the rolling start, and the Monegasque driver was subsequently handed a drive-through penalty that dropped him down the order.

HTP Gravity Charouz Mercedes driver Simonsen inherited the lead ahead of the BMW Team Brasil car of Ricardo Zonta and the other Loeb-entered McLaren of Andreas Zuber. Fourth was Niki Mayr-Melnhof in what was now the best of the Audis, just ahead of the sister car of Edward Sandstrom.

Rene Rast and Frank Stippler took over in the two Audis at the pitstops and quickly dispatched the McLaren, now in the hands of Mike Parisy, to move up into third and fourth respectively. They then set after Sergio Jimenez and both got past in quick succession after the BMW driver appeared to slow.

There was nothing the Audis could do about Afanasiev, who took a four second victory. Rast claimed maximum Pro Cup points for himself and Mayr-Melnhof, while Laurens Vanthoor came through in the penalised Ortelli machine to steal third overall away from the sister car of Stippler on the last lap.

Jimenez finished a distant fifth in the end, ahead of the Grasser Lamborghini of Hari Proczyk and Dominik Baumann who limited the damage to the Mercedes duo in the Pro-Am title fight by finishing up second in class.

Parisy finished up seventh ahead of the RJN Nissan of Alex Buncombe and Wolfgang Reip. The AF Corse Ferrari of Fabio Onidi and Filip Salaquarda and the Seyffarth Mercedes driven by Karun Chandhok and Jan Seyffarth completed the top ten.

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