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Two from two for Leimer as Lanting retains Iron Cup by single point fromEarle at Barcelona

2 October 2016

Leimer lined up on pole position alongside Michal Broniszewski after winning the day’s opening race, but it was fast-starting Nicolas Vandierendonck who shot from fourth to first at Turn 1 with a brave move down the inside. The Corvette’s lead was short-lived, though, as a result of Leimer’s X Bionic Lamborghini Huracan cutting back underneath before Broniszewski also re-claimed second three corners later.

However, the race was neutralised just one lap after it had started as a result of Jean-Michel Baert’s accident. Having run wide exiting the final corner, his Audi skipped across the gravel trap and speared back across the circuit head-first into the pitwall.

Just 23 of the race’s scheduled 40 minutes remained when the Safety Car was finally withdrawn. Leimer’s accomplished re-start immediately helped him break the tow to Broniszewski and, as was the case earlier in the day, he steadily pulled clear thereafter to eventually complete his perfect debut 6.2 seconds ahead of the Kessel Racing Ferrari 458 GT3.

Vandierendonck came home third, albeit almost four seconds adrift of Broniszewski. But there was plenty of action further back thanks to debutant Eric Cayrolle who hustled his Ferrari back ahead of Maurice Ricci’s fast-starting AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG just after racing resumed.

Ricci also dropped back behind Cordoni at one point but took the chequered flag fifth after re-passing the Italian with just one minute remaining. Jaime Font Casas finished less than three tenths further back after an inspired drive from 21st on the grid, while the top-eight was completed by Christoph Ulrich.

With just five Iron Cup-entered drivers taking the start, points leader Martin Lanting knew that merely finishing would be enough to give him the title regardless of what his sole rival Stephen Earle could muster after the American’s Qualifying Race puncture resulted in him losing further ground in the championship.

Earle was in fine form though and had soon passed Lanting for the class lead once racing resumed. After that he was reliant on the Monegasque failing to finish, which almost came to pass when his Ferrari spun as a result of contact with Daniel Vogt’s Mercedes. Both time and positions were lost while recovering but fifth in class was still enough to give him the Iron Cup title by just one point.

Cedric Leimer, #963 X Bionic Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan GT3: “I am very happy, of course! I have only competed once this season in the Sprint Cup so did not expect to be so competitive this weekend. Clearly Michal Broniszewski has been very fast this year and I knew it would be tough to beat him. But I also raced here in Lamborghini Super Trofeo so at least had some track knowledge to rely on.”

Stephen Earle, #111 Kessel Racing Ferrari 458 GT3: “This is my 25th year of racing so I know you can have the best car, best team and best strategy but cannot always win because you must also be lucky. You have no control over that but it is addictive and is what keeps bringing us all back. I did what I could in the first race before the tyre blew but that is the way things go sometimes. Nevertheless, I am still very happy for the team; Michal [Broniszewski] won the Overall championship and I was second in the Iron Cup, so I cannot complain too much.”

Martin Lanting, #48 AF Corse Ferrari 458 GTE: “This is not the first time that I have won a championship in such circumstances! It also happened in 2002 when I was pushed off and had to think about just reaching the finish, which in some ways is easier because there are no cars in front of you! I am very happy to be a Blancpain GT Sports Club champion once again, not only for me but also the team, my friends, my wife and the organisation. It really is something worth winning and I am delighted to be standing here as a double Iron Cup champion. I will definitely be back next year; the championship is growing in stature and quality. Hopefully there will be even more Iron Cup challengers!”

Season three of the Blancpain GT Sports Club gets underway at Misano in Italy on 1/2 April 2017.

Click here for the Main Race classification.



Image captions

1. The Blancpain GT Sports Club field heads into Turn 1 at the start of the Main Race

2. Cedric Leimer (centre) celebrates his second Overall victory of the day ahead of Michal Broniszewski (left) and Nicolas Vandierendonck.

3. Stephen Earle (centre) wins his second Iron Cup race of the season. Jan Brunstedt (left) and Klaus Dieter Frers completed the podium.