The first hour of the race is dominated by the two Mercedes AMG GT3 vehicles of Maro Engel (#4 HRT) and Raffaele Marciello (#9 GetSpeed). Behind the two cars of the Stuttgart based manufacturer and in the spray, the field makes for numerous thrilling battles for positions and spectacular overtaking manoeuvres. In just one hour, Marco Mapelli took his Konrad Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo from 23rd to third position.
The Mercedes AMG GT3 #6 (Assenheimer / Baumann / Müller / Engel) and the Audi R8 LMS GT3 #7 (Dontje / Niederhauser / Ortmann) have to start into the race from the pit lane. While the Audi has to do so due to a grid penalty for a yellow-rule offence, the HRT Mercedes had a problem before it could drive to the starting grid. Team Principal Sean Breslin: “We had a problem with the left front wheel and had to change it. The brakes were grinding in the wheel.” But after a short stop for changing the wheel, the Mercedes-AMG can start into the race without further damages.
#21 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo (Jefferies / Perera / Mapelli / Di Martino
Team Principal Franz Konrad: “Apparently we made a good tyre choice. Furthermore, we played around with the tyre pressure and tested the options in the warm-up. An approach that paid off. Now let’s see how the race will proceed”
#31 Porsche 911 GT3 R (Kern / Jaminet / Martin / Arnold)
Maxime Martin is replaced by Lance David Arnold and reveals: “The handling of the car is not too good. In the warm-up it worked well but we made some changes afterwards and these changes obviously didn’t work. So we made further adjustments. Later the car should run better. But the race is long.”