Jules Szymkowiak and Bernd Schneider didn’t look back as they claimed a stunning Qualifying Race victory in their HTP Motorsport Mercedes AMG in the second round of the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup at Brands Hatch.
Starting on the outside of the front row, Szymkowiak wasted no time in getting past pole-sitter Franck Perera in the ISR Racing Audi R8 LMS going down into Paddock Hill bend and wasted no time in blasting away into an ever stronger lead.
Of course, the Dutchman was helped by Christopher Mies in the #33 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi who stuck himself onto the back of Perera’s machine and refused to budge.
Further back, a man making moves was Maxime Soulet in the #8 Bentley Team M-Sport Bentley Continental GT3 who started in 24th place. Thanks to some good overtaking and a strong pitstop game, as well as an Andy Soucek fired up and ready to go, the #8 would end the race in eighth place.
Back at the lead of the race and thanks to good pitstops from all the front runners, the lead remained as HTP Motorsport from ISR Racing from Team WRT.
After the race HTP Motorsport’s Bernd Schneider, who took over from Szymkowiak, said: “It looked easy, but Brands Hatch is a difficult circuit. I kept pushing, just to know how hard I can attack in the Main Race. But it will be difficult to get as good a start as Jules did in this Qualifying Race.”
One man that closed up on the lead thanks to a good pitstop was the #1 Team WRT of Frederic Vervisch who handed over to Laurens Vanthoor and catapulted the Audi up into fifth place.
A team not having a good race at all was the #84 HTP Mercedes of Maxi Buhk and Dominik Baumann were penalised for contact with Rob Bell’s Garage 59 McLaren 650S relegating the championship leaders down to 18th place.
That didn’t matter for the sister Mercedes as former DTM champion Schneider set fast lap after fast lap to the extent that he would finish the one hour race with a 21 second lead over Marlon Stockinger in the ISR car.
After the race, Perera praised his team mate Stockinger in what is just his first season in the Blancpain GT Series: “I did not want to take too many risks at the start. I knew we had a good and fast car, so with a good pitstop and a good drive for Marlon – only in his third GT race – we managed to get a starting position on the front row for the Main Race.”