A successful racing weekend for AMG Customer Sports: Five victories for SLS AMG GT3
FIA GT1 World Championship: The fifth round of the FIA GT1 World Championship in Portimão (Portugal) ended with victory in the qualifying race and a 1-2 in the championship race for ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport. Marc Basseng (GER) and Markus Winkelhock (GER) got off to a good start at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve by winning the qualifying race on Saturday, the gullwing’s maiden victory in the current FIA GT1 World Championship. Driving the sister car, Nicky Pastorelli (ITA) and Thomas Jäger (GER) still scored one point for finishing sixth and also claimed a good starting grid position for the main race on Sunday.
“The car was really good. It was very consistent and the guys in the pit box have done a great job, too”, said Marc Basseng. “We have a great engine with a lot of torque, but still, doing well against the strong opposition is never easy.”
In Sunday’s championship race, it even went better for the team’s two cars, but this time, it was the other way round, because Nicky Pastorelli and Thomas Jäger came out on top to win the race. An impressive opening phase and a perfect pit stop strategy were the basis for success. Marc Basseng and Markus Winkelhock completed the result, coming home second to claim the maiden 1-2 for the gullwing in the world championship. With this result, AMG Customer Team ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport further extends its dominant lead in the teams’ classification.
Thomas Jäger: “That was a great weekend. Our strategy of attacking in the early stages and then using the SLS AMG GT3’s consistently good performance to move up further worked out perfectly today. Thanks to everybody in the team.”
FIA GT3 European Championship: The fourth round of the FIA GT3 European Championship, also at Portimão, started off with an impressive 1-2 by the HEICO GRAVITY CHAROUZ TEAM on Saturday. German-Austrian pairing Maximilian Buhk (GER) and Dominik Baumann (AUT) already scored the third win of the season to further increase the lead in the championship standings. Driving the SLS AMG GT3 with starting number 1, Buhk / Baumann scored an undisputed lights-to-flag victory in the race on Saturday. Prior to the pit stop, Buhk had already established a considerable advantage, so that Baumann could get out onto the track with a nine seconds’ margin after the driver change. Until the end of the race, Baumann defended his leading position in a dominant way.
“Holding on to my position was surprisingly easy”, said race winner Dominik Baumann. “Our car was incredibly strong, the set-up was optimal. All in all, it was a perfect Saturday. The German-Czech team’s sister car with Max Nilsson (SWE) and Mika Vähämäki (FIN) completed the success by coming home second to secure the team’s lock-out of the first two positions.”
In the second race on Sunday, problems during the pit stop (starting number 1) and a puncture (starting number 2) prevented a repeat of the success, so that Nilsson / Vähämäki eventually came home in fifth place and Baumann / Buhk finished ninth.
VLN Endurance Championship Nürburgring: After the four hours’ duration of the race, only 0.338 seconds decided the outcome in the fifth VLN season round in favour of Jan Seyffarth (GER) and Alexander Roloff (GER). The first season win in the Endurance Championship Nürburgring for AMG Customer Team ROWE RACING also marked the first VLN race win by a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 in 2012.
ROWE RACING’s success was preceded by a race on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife that was entertaining until the end: at the start, Jan Seyffarth moved up from fourth place to take the lead. After the driver change, Alexander Roloff initially defended the lead. Three quarters into the race, however, the gullwing lost one position, but after a little over half an hour, a clever pit stop strategy allowed the car to get back into the lead and then drive victory home with a small margin. ROWE RACING’s sister car with Michael Zehe (GER) and Marko Hartung (GER), who had to start from the pits following an accident in qualifying and also were given a one minute time penalty, ended up fifth in the 144 car field following an impressive recovery.
Campeonato de Portugal de Circuitos (Iberian GT championship): Together with the FIA GT1 World Championship and the FIA GT3 European Championship, the Portimão circuit in Portugal, among others, also hosted a round of the Iberian GT championship this weekend. Here, Sports & You, yet another AMG Customer Team was victorious. Portuguese duo José Pedro Fontes and Miguel Barbosa claimed an undisputed victory in the first race and ended up fourth in the second race to complete this racing weekend’s impressive track record for the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3.
* Official photos and details courtesy of Mercedes-AMG GmbH *
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