Heico Gravity-Charouz Mercedes fends of Ferraris for FIA GT3 Race Two win

1. Maximilian Buhk (DEU)/Dominik Baumann (AUT) No.1 Heico Gravity-Charouz Team Mercedes SLS AMG 1:01:03.872 40 Laps 2. Gaetano Ardagna Perez (VEN)/Giuseppe Ciro (ITA) No.50 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia +34.172   3. Michael Lyons (GBR)/Stefano Gai (ITA) No.51 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia +34.385  

Maxmilian Buhk (DEU) and Dominik Baumann (AUT) put the wet woes of Race One behind them to claim a strong victory in Easter Monday's Race Two at the Circuit Paul Armagnac in Nogaro, France.

The Heico Gravity-Charouz Mercedes SLS AMG pair climbed from fifth on the grid to take the lead in their No.1 car during the race, having struggled in Race One. Mixed conditions and a risky pit strategy saw them fall from pole position on the grid down to third on the podium in Sunday's race.

Strong running in Race Two enabled the Czech team to claim the lead during the pit window as they leap-frogged both the Sainteloc Racing Audis, who finished in fourth and sixth having previously dominated the race weekend.

The AF Corse Ferrari No.50 of Gaetano Ardagna Ardagna Perez (VEN) and Giuseppe Ciro (ITA) was second just 0.213 ahead of the sister Ferrari No.51 of Michael Lyons (GBR) and Stefano Gai (ITA). Lyons was forced to serve a drive-through penalty for a pit infringement after he had crossed the line at the exit of the pit lane.The Briton chased down Ciro but eventually ran out of time to press hard for second place.

The championship now moves to the Belgian circuit of Zolder for the second round on April 20-22.

What the drivers say …

Dominik Baumann, Heico Gravity-Charouz Team Mercedes SLS AMG No.1“I was a little bit disappointed by my Qualifying, I finished P5. Today I had a really good start, I went from fifth to third then on the second lap I overtook the second Audi for P2. The car felt great at the beginning of the race but in the middle of the stint I had a bit of a problem with the rear tyres overheating. We decided to pit early which turned out to be a good decision. I handed over to Max (Buhk) who did the rest.”

Maximilian Buhk, Heico Gravity-Charouz Team Mercedes SLS AMG No.1“I was able to push really hard in the first five-ten minutes because the car and tyres felt really good. In Free Practice we practised in race mode so we knew how the tyres would behave. After the result today, we feel like we have the pace to be competitive for the next round.”

Gaetano Ardagna Perez, AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia No.50“I really enjoyed racing on the track here at Nogaro. It was a good race, the team did a very god job and we are really pleased to be on the podium.”

Giuseppe Ciro, AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia No.50“The balance of the car was good – very nice to drive. It is nice to have both Ferraris on the podium and hopefully we can now go forward for the rest of the championship and get some more podiums and more points.”

Michael Lyons, AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia No.51“The team told me ‘we are under investigation’ and my heart kind of sunk. After the drive-through I just kept my head. I was really happy with the move on the Audi (for third place). It was a big lunge and I wasn’t sure whether he was going to close the door or not. I really hope we can get my first win with Stefano (Gai) very soon.”

Stefano Gai, AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia No.51“I started very well but at the second corner I was on the wrong side. After four or five laps we were in crisis with the tyres as the temperature was very high. Without the penalty we had a chance for P1 for sure. But I am really pleased for the AF Corse Ferrari team. This is a good start to the season.”FIA GT3 European Championship, Round One, Race 2, Nogaro    Drivers Team Car Laps Total Time Gap1 1 M Buhk/D Baumann Heico-Gravity-Charouz-Team (CZE) Mercedes Benz SLS AMG GT3 40 1:01:03.872 - 2 50 G Ardagna Perez/G Ciro AF Corse (ITA) Ferrari 458 Italia 40 1:01:38.044 34.172 3 51 M Lyons/S Gal AF Corse (ITA) Ferrari 458 Italia  40 1:01:38.257 34.385 4 16 M Sourd/G Guilvert Sainteloc Racing (FRA) Audi R8 LMS 40 1:01:42.346 38.474 5 2 M Nilsson/M Vahamaki Heico-Gravity-Charouz-Team (CZE) Mercedes Benz SLS AMG GT3 40 1:01:43.389 39.517 6 15 J Demay/D Lunardi Sainteloc Racing (FRA) Audi R8 LMS 40 1:02:06.423 1:02.551 7 14 N Amorim/C Campanico Team Novadriver (PRT) Audi R8 LMS 40 1:02:06.649 1:02.777 8 11 F Sladecka/G Twersaser Rhino's Leipert Motorsport (DEU) Lamborghini Gallardo LP600 40 1:02:11.350 1:07.478 9 12 G Vannelet/J Laine Rhino's Leipert Motorsport (DEU) Lamborghini Gallardo LP600 39 1:01:14.920 1 Lap 10 4 M Toril/S Ryabov Russian Bear Motorsport (RUS) Ferrari 458 Italia 39 1:01:36.774 1 Lap 11 6 N Freidina/T Kimber Smith Valmon Racing Team Russia (RUS) Aston Martin DBRS9 36 1:02:21.471 4 Laps 12 5 V Maleev/K Ladygin Russian Bear Motorsport (RUS) Ferrari 458 Italia 23 39:32.801 17 Laps

Standings: Drivers1 Maxmilian Buhk, (DEU)1 Dominik Baumann, (AUT) 40 pts 2 Marc Sourd, (FRA)2 Gregory Guilvert, (FRA) 37 pts 3 Michael Lyons (GBR)3 Stefano Gai (ITA) 33 pts 4 Gaetano Ardagna Perez, (VEN)4 Giuseppe Ciro, (ITA) 19 pts 5 Dino Lunardi, (FRA)5 Jerome Demaym, (FRA) 18 pts 6 Gilles Vannelet, (FRA)6 Jesse Laine,  (FIN) 14 pts 7 Ni Amorin, (PRT)7 Cesar Campancio, (PRT) 12 pts 8 Miguel Toril , (ESP)8 Sergey Ryabov, (RUS) 5 pts 9 Filip Sladecka, (SVK)9 Gehard Tweraser, (AUT) 4 pts 10 Vyacheslav Maleev, (RUS)10 Kirill Ladygin, (RUS) 2 pts  Standings: Teams1 Heico Gravity-Charouz Team, (CZE) 58 pts 2 Saintlec Racing, (FRA) 55 pts 3 AF Corse,  (ITA) 53 pts 4 Rhino’s Leipert Motorsport, (DEU) 22 pts 5 Russian Bear Motorsports, (RUS) 13 pts


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