Untouchable Kenny Habul scores debut Qualifying Race victory at Hungaroring, Stephen Earle collects Iron Cup win

Untouchable Kenny Habul scores debut Qualifying Race victory at Hungaroring, Stephen Earle collects Iron Cup win

After dominating in qualifying, Kenny Habul (#751 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3) galloped away from the Blancpain GT Sports Club regulars to claim victory at the Hungaroring. Stephen Earle (#111 Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 GT3) capitalised on Klaus Dieter Frers’ (#3 Artega Rennsport Ferrari 488 GT3) retirement to win the Iron Cup class and close the gap in the standings.

Completing the overall podium was AF Corse’s Mario Cordoni (#70 Ferrari 488 GT3) and Coach McKansy (#17 HP Racing International Lamborghini Huracan GT3), who defended hard to claim his first podium since Misano.

Mario Cordoni and Coach McKansy are also part of the Titanium Cup, with championship leader Karim Ojjeh (#2 Boutsen Ginion BMW M6 GT3) rounding out the class podium.

It was a frenetic start to the race, as Kenny Habul recovered from a slow getaway to hold his lead, with Karim Ojjeh dropping back to fifth from second. Behind them, Herberth Motorsport’s Edward Lewis Brauner (#991 Porsche 991 GT3 R) came together with Klaus Dieter Frers at Turn 4, with the latter having to retire with front-end damage.

Having started from fourth, Mario Cordoni climbed to second early on, with Coach McKansy and Patrick Van Glabeke (#488 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3) settling in behind. The Belgian made a number of attempts to get up the inside of the Lamborghini at Turn 12, but the German was stubborn in his defence as they dropped back from the Monza double-winner.

This put the AF Corse driver under pressure from Karim Ojjeh behind, who was looking to make up for his slow start, but overtaking on the 4.381 km circuit proved difficult and the Saudi Arabian driver was unable to find a way through.

As Kenny Habul crossed the line more than 20 seconds clear of the field, the chasing pack continued to battle, with Mario Cordoni holding onto second, marginally ahead of Coach McKansy, Patrick Van Glabeke and Karim Ojjeh.

Next was Stephen Earle, who collected the final overall point in sixth on top of his Iron Cup victory. The American didn’t have it easy though, as Louis-Philippe Soenen (#50 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3) remained within two seconds of his class rival until the chequered flag.

Edward Lewis Brauner recovered to eighth, with Roberto Rayneri (#60 GDL Racing Mercedes SLS AMG GT3) rounding out the finishers in ninth, whilst also collecting a second consecutive Iron Cup podium.

Joining Klaus Dieter Frers in retirement was Angélique Detavernier (#55 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3), whose pace earlier in the day went unrewarded as she was forced to retire with a mechanical issue with just over 10 minutes to go. Jürgen Häring (#66 Herberth Motorsport Porsche 991 GT3 R) was unable to start the race following damage sustained during his FP2 crash.

Kenny Habul, #751 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3, Overall winner: “It’s been really fun here in Hungary. I’d like to say thank you to the Blancpain GT Series, SRO and Pirelli this is great for me. As a bronze it’s good to be up against other drivers who are on the same level as me. To be honest, I didn’t expect the margin of victory. I was a little bit conservative as I had a brake problem at the end, so I just took it easy but overall this was great.”

Mario Cordoni, #70 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3, Titanium Cup winner: “I’m happy with this result, I wasn’t here for the test so for me it was very difficult to learn the track. It feels like the first time racing here, even though we came to Hungary last year. Thank god there was rain in qualifying! I don’t think I could have managed fourth, but I’m quite good in the wet so we were higher up than expected. In the race I was on my own for a lot of it and was able to learn and appreciate the track more.” 

Stephen Earle, #111 Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 GT3, Iron Cup winner: “Good win, a very good win actually! It was a little bit chaotic at the start, there was a lot of jostling around and the cars were all bunched up. Once Klaus was out I knew I had to keep my head down and I did. Louis-Philippe was about a second quicker in sector two, but I was pulling away in the first and final sectors, so it was hard to break away from him. I kept thinking ‘how did he get back here,’ so maybe I’ll ask him where I was going wrong before the next race!”