Mercedes SLS 1-2 in Algarve GT3

Maximilian Buhk (DEU) and Dominik Baumann (AUT) in the No.1 Heico Gravity-Charouz Mercedes SLS AMG recorded an impressive lights-to-flag win in Race One of the FIA GT3 European Championship at Autdromo Internacional do Algarve in Portugal.

Buhk had built such a gap by the time the pit window opened that Baumann was able to resume with a lead of nine seconds despite the 15-second podium penalty. Baumann had stretched the margin to over 11 seconds at the chequered flag.

The victory, their third of the season, enabled Buhk and Baumann to extend their lead of the drivers championship.

Holding on to my position was actually quite easy. We had a really great car, the set-up was perfect and we managed our tyres well, Baumann said.The Mercedes uses its tyres effectively, other cars use them more aggressively. Up to now its been a perfect weekend.So now we look forward to tomorrow and well be at the front which is always great. The team are really happy as both cars are at the very front of grid. I think based on today, well do well if nothing bad happens tomorrow.

A stunning fight back by the No.2 Heico Gravity-Charouz car of Max Nilsson (SWE) and Mika Vahamaki (FIN) made it a one-two for the Mercedes squad.Nilsson was turned into a spin by the AF Corse No.50 Ferrari of Gaetano Ardagna Perez (VEN) at Turn 4 on the opening lap.The Mercedes went to the back of the pack but Nilsson was able to slice his way through the field to hand over to Vahamaki in fourth place by the time of the pit stop and the Finn completed the job.

Ardagna Perez received a drive-through for his part in the incident. Giuseppe Ciro (ITA) took over the controls of the Ferrari to finish in seventh place.Commenting on the incident, Nilsson said: It was a very disappointing start. As I turned in, the Ferrari hit me from behind and I couldnt recover it, so I went round and it sent me straight to the back.

I was angry at the time but from then on I gave everything to gain as many places back as I could and we managed P2 at the end which I think is really good result in the circumstances.

Third was the No.11 Rhinos Leipert Motorsport Lamborghini of David Mengesdorf (DEU) and Hari Proczyk (AUT).I was quite lucky because I made a mistake coming into the first corner but I managed to handle it, Proczyk said.I think third place is probably the best position we can hope for tomorrow because both of the Mercedes are just too quick around this circuit. Unless of course they have another spin moment, then well see what happens.

Fourth place went to the No.51 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia of Michael Lyons (GBR) and Stefano Gai (ITA). The Ferrari pair move to second overall in the drivers points table on 96 points to Buhk and Baumanns 119. Ardagna Perez and Ciro drop to third on 95.The Team Novadriver Audi R8 No.14 of Ni Amorim and Cesar Campanico, flying the flag for Portugal, were fifth with Campanico challenging Gai nose-to-tail in the closing laps. They were separated by just three tenths of a second at the finish.

We ended the race fighting for the fourth place, which I think is a good result, because our car is not very well suited to this kind of circuit, Amorim said.

We would have loved to end on the podium, but it was impossible to reach it. Tomorrows race will be very hard, also, as we will start from ninth.It wont be easy but we will try to fight for a top-five result. A podium in front of the Portuguese fans would be amazing.Tomorrows Race Two starts at 09:45.

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