Marc VDS Racing secured its first championship race win in the World GT1 series as Maxime Martin and Frederic Makowiecki held JRM Nissan duo Richard Westbrook and Peter Dumbreck at bay at Ordos in China.
Martin and Makowiecki's triumph yesterday was their thrid qualifying race win of the season, but until today they had yet to take victory in one of the main events.
The duo were only headed during the pitstops today, with Martin inching away from Westbrook in the first stint and shrugging off a safety car period caused by Nicky Catsburg beaching his Sumo Power Nissan.
JRM ran one lap longer than Marc VDS before pitting, which Westbrook thought would have been sufficient to leapfrog into the lead had he not been delayed by Christopher Nygaard's Belgian Ford touring in the pitlane as it came in to retire after a midfield incident.
As it was, Dumbreck emerged just behind Makowiecki, who had the pace to stay in front through the second stint, which included another safety car period to attend to a damaged kerb. In addition to breaking Marc VDS' championship race duck, the result was the first time a Ford team had won one of the main races since Matech's triumph at Brno in May 2010.
The two Hexis Aston Martin crews finished third and fourth, with Christian Hohenadel and Andrea Piccini's podium closing them to within 15 points of the championship lead. The Hexis cars came home ahead of the Darren Turner/Stefan Mucke Young Driver Aston Martin and the Nicky Pastorelli/Dominik Schwager All-Inkl Lamborghini.
Jamie Campbell-Walter's Sumo Power Nissan had run third at first, until a slow pitstop left his teammate David Brabham mired in seventh.
Championship leaders Lucas Luhr and Michael Krumm (JRM Nissan) also suffered pit delays for the second time in the weekend. Luhr had got up from 13th on the grid to eighth before the stops, but the pit issue meant Krumm could only get ninth.
That was one place behind the pair's main title rivals Markus Winkelhock and Marc Basseng, after a great charge by Winkelhock following the qualifying race exclusion that left their All-Inkl Lamborghini starting at the back. The gap between Luhr/Krumm and Winkelhock/Basseng is now 11 points with two events to go.
To complete a great day for Marc VDS, its second car grabbed the final point by just 0.003sec as Marc Leinders outdragged the affiliated Belgian Racing Ford of Antoine Leclerc on the line.