Sultanov takes maiden Blancpain GT Sports Club win in Circuit Paul Ricard epic

Sultanov takes maiden Blancpain GT Sports Club win in Circuit Paul Ricard epic

Kessel Racing’s Murod Sultanov scored an emphatic maiden Blancpain GT Sports Club victory in the second race at Circuit Paul Ricard, as track temperatures made for a difficult race. HP Racing International’s Coach McKansy was second overall and topped the Titanium Cup category, with Kessel’s Stephen Earle winning the Iron Cup class.

Sultanov had a strong start on board the #23 Ferrari 488 GT3 but was forced wide by Jens Reno Moller later in the lap, dropping him outside the podium places. Moller then led, but was handed a drive-through penalty, dropping him outside the points-paying positions.

This saw Sultanov, who had made his way back to second, retake the lead of the race with 30 minutes still to run. The Russian then came under pressure from race one winner Luigi Lucchini, but the Italian went deep into the chicane and stopped on the Mistral Straight. The BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 458 GT3 driver got going again, albeit in 10th.

After fending off pressure from Blancpain GT Sports Club newcomer Robert Zwinger, Sultanov gradually extended his lead to take a first victory, ahead of Titanium Cup runner McKansy.

The #17 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 driver improved his pace throughout the race and passed HB Racing’s Zwinger in the final stages for second. The Slovakian remained on his German counterpart’s tail until the chequered flag, scoring a podium in only his second Blancpain GT Sports Club start.

ERC Sport’s Lee Mowle completed another convincing fightback in his #44 Mercedes to fourth overall and second of the Titanium Cup runners, with Moller recovering to fifth and just 0.8 seconds behind the Brit.

Behind them, Capital Racing Team’s Denis Remenyako rounded off a strong debut weekend in Le Castellet to finish sixth, with AF Corse’s Frederic Fangio enjoying a better second race on his return to come home seventh on board the #55 Ferrari.

Lucchini climbed back to eighth, ahead of AF Corse pair Mario Cordoni, who struggled to match his race one pace, and Kriton Lentoudis. The Greek collected the final point in 10th on his maiden Blancpain GT Sports Club weekend.

Following McKansy and Mowle home in the Titanium Cup was Rinaldi Racing’s Vadim Kogay, despite receiving a drive-through penalty for causing a collision with the British GT convert’s Mercedes.

Stephen Earle scored his third Iron Cup victory of the 2019 season on board the #111 Ferrari 488 GT3, ahead of AF Corse’s Louis Philippe Soenen, who had an earlier spin, and Kessel team-mate Rick Peter Lovat.