Nissan drivers Michael Krumm and Peter Dumbreck claimed their first FIA GT1 World Championship win of the season at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve.
Krumm ran second through the opening half of the Qualifying Race and then Dumbreck was able to close down a five-second deficit to leading Phoenix Chevrolet driver Marc Hennerici in just half a dozen laps. The Briton needed another three laps of the Portuguese circuit to force his Sumo Power Nissan GT-R ahead of the Chevy, which had led throughout the race but was struggling with fading tires.
"It was important to keep it clean, so I took my time," said Dumbreck. "I could see he was struggling with tyres more than I was. I was just about finding the right moment."
The winning Nissan took the checkered flag just over two seconds clear of the championship-leading Vitaphone Maserati driven by Andrea Bertolini. The Italian, who shares the car with Michael Bartels, moved past the ailing Chevrolet with three laps to go. Hennerici blamed his and teammate Alex Margaritis' lack of familiarity with the 2.89-mile Algarve circuit for his drop off in pace over the closing laps.
"We paid the price of doing a lot of laps in free practice yesterday because neither of us had been here before," he said. "I'm a little bit disappointed because I didn't expect such heavy tire wear."
Darren Turner and Tomas Enge claimed fourth position in the best of the Young Driver AMR Aston Martins. Enge dropped as low as 11th during the opening stint, but a quick turnaround in the pits by the Fischer-run squad helped Enge and Turner secure an unexpected result.
The Matech Ford driven by Richard Westbrook and Thomas Mutsch came from second to last place on the 23-car grid to notch up fifth position. Westbrook got the car up to eighth before the mandatory pit stops began and Mutsch was then able to make further progress through the field.
The front row qualifying Maxime Martin/Bas Leinders Marc VDS Ford was put to the back of the grid for failing the mandatory "stall test" and then retired after incidents in the fraught midfield.
Pos Drivers Car Time/Gap
1. Dumbreck/Krumm Nissan 1h01m00.808s
2. Bertolini/Bartels Maserati + 2.474s
3. Hennerici/Margaritis Corvette + 9.222s
4. Turner/Enge Aston Martin + 26.210s
5. Mutsch/Westbrook Ford + 29.079s
6. Heger/Muller Maserati + 39.464s
7. Jousse/Maassen Corvette + 39.581s
8. Pastorelli/Schwager Lamborghini + 39.982s
9. Campbell-Walter/Hughes Nissan + 40.108s
10. Makowiecki/Clairay Aston Martin + 40.428s
11. Ara/Nilsson Nissan + 40.680s
12. Kox/Haase Lamborghini + 41.549s
13. Bernoldi/Ramos Maserati + 43.950s
14. Kechele/Menten Lamborghini + 44.500s
15. Mucke/Lamy Aston Martin + 47.150s
16. Hirschi/Piccione Aston Martin + 58.365s
17. Cazenave/Kuismanen Corvette + 1m51.030s
18. Mayr-Melnhof/Pier Guidi Maserati + 1 lap
19. Palttala/Kuppens Ford + 1 lap
Prost/Jani Ford 25 laps
Martin/Leinders Ford 22 laps
Wendlinger/Moser Nissan 18 laps
Bouchut/Basseng Lamborghini 13 laps