Matech Ford drivers Thomas Mutsch and Romain Grosjean dominated the main event at the opening round of the new FIA GT1 World Championship at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.
Mutsch led from pole position in the lead Matech Ford GT until stopping early in the pit stop window. Grosjean then emerged from the round of mandatory stops with a narrow lead over Marc Hennerici in the second-placed Phoenix/Carsport Chevrolet. The former Renault grand prix driver was on new tyres and was able to pull away from with ease. He was more than 20 seconds in front when the chequered flag fell after one hour of racing.
Grosjean, who was celebrating his 24th birthday in Abu Dhabi, said: "I knew I had to push hard for the first two or three laps of my stint. He was closer than I thought [after the stops], but my car was very good and I was able to drive my own race."
Hennerici's teammate, Andi Zuber, vaulted from 11th on the grid to fourth by the end of the first lap. He quickly moved up to third and then managed to take Vitaphone Maserati driver Andrea Bertolini just before Mutsch stopped.
Phoenix/Carsport also claimed third place with Mike Hezemans and Andrea Piccini, who started dead last on the grid.
Piccini took third from Michael Bartels, who shared the best of the Vitaphone Maseratis with Bertolini, with five laps of the race remaining.
Pos Drivers Team/Car Time
1. Grosjean/Mutsch Matech Ford 1h01m14.892s
2. Zuber/Hennerici Phoenix Corvette + 23.061s
3. Hezemans/Piccini Phoenix Corvette + 26.485s
4. Bertolini/Bartels Vitaphone Maserati + 34.075s
5. Zonta/Daniel Reiter Lamborghini + 49.496s
6. Ramos/Bernoldi Vitaphone Maserati + 53.059s
7. Bobbi/Longin Triple H Maserati + 1m00.565s
8. Haase/Kox Reiter Lamborghini + 1m12.694s
9. Margaritis/Heger Triple H Maserati + 1m24.473s
10. Müller/Maassen Mad Croc Corvette + 1m26.254s
11. Turner/Enge AMR Aston Martin + 1m26.848s
12. Campbell-Walter/Hughes Sumo Power Nissan + 1m28.174s
13. Leinders/Martin Marc VDS Ford + 1m37.634s
14. Moser/Wendlinger Swiss Nissan + 1m59.534s
15. Salo/Kuismanen Mad Croc Corvette + 2m01.150s
16. Krumm/Dumbreck Sumo Nissan + 1 lap
17. Basseng/Jäger Münnich Lamborghini + 4 laps
18. Piccione/Hirschi AMR Aston Martin + 6 laps
19. Makowiecki/Dumas AMR Aston Martin + 13 laps
20. Pastorelli/Schwager Münnich Lamborghini + 16 laps
21. Ara/Nilsson Swiss Nissan + 27 laps