In one thing of a sluggish burner, the race got here alive within the last hour because the #63 Lamborghini partnership of Andrea Caldarelli, Mirko Bortolotti and Marco Mapelli – which had dominated proceedings for shut to 5 hours – started to wrestle with tempo.
Bortolotti began the automobile from pole and was comfortably in cost on the midway stage, however a full course yellow interval and robust late-race tempo from the #22 Porsche, pushed by Matt Campbell, Earl Bamber and Mathieu Jaminet, allowed first Jaminet after which Campbell to make the essential inroads and subsequent overtake on Mapelli with 40 minutes remaining.
Antonio Fuoco additionally made it previous Mapelli inside the ultimate half hour to safe second on-the-road on the end however was demoted to fifth following a 10-second penalty as a consequence of an infringement on the ultimate pitstop.
The #63 Lamborghini inherited third ultimately, having initially missed out on the rostrum locations to the #32 WRT Audi of Kelvin van der Linde, Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts on the ultimate lap.
The shape information for the race gave the impression to be thrown out of the window after the opening salvo which largely stored grid order.
Bortolotti scampered away on the rolling begin as Fuoco stored his Iron Lynx Ferrari in second after some vigorous defence towards Vincent Abril’s HRT Mercedes into the primary nook.
The #88 Akka ASP Mercedes of Jules Gounon additionally adopted in tow however neither of the German vehicles may make any inroads into the lead and Mercedes usually struggled badly through the race.
For Lamborghini, it was an uncompromising begin which resulted in Mapelli extending the lead margin within the second stint after taking on from Bortolotti on the finish of the opening hour.
Caldarelli then took over for a single stint earlier than the midway marker and it appeared Lamborghini couldn’t be crushed.
#63 FFF Racing Crew CHN Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo: Mirko Bortolotti, Marco Mapelli, Andrea Caldarelli
Picture by: SRO
There have been challengers in three distinct components of the race. Having struggled to take care of the identical preliminary uncooked pace as its Italian rivals, Ferrari appeared to have fallen by the wayside earlier than its final-hour renaissance, whereas the Walkenhorst BMW of Sheldon van der Linde, Marco Wittmann and David Pittard earlier than they too fell again within the last hour.
The largest risk got here in perennial Endurance Cup specialists GPX, who by dint of a technique which enabled them to pit sooner than the main Lamborghini, sliced the deficit from 12 seconds to 6 seconds within the arms of Jaminet.
Campbell then took over throughout a full course yellow interval, brought on by the stricken #2 Mercedes of Olivier Grotz who spun at Signes, however the #22 misplaced round eight seconds and one place following a sluggish pitstop.
Upon the restart, Campbell battled his approach round van der Linde for second and, lastly in clear air, reeled in and handed Mapelli for the lead after an exhilarating panel-bashing combat.
By that time, the highest three within the race had been break up by simply seven-tenths of a second, and it wasn’t lengthy earlier than Fuoco – who benefited from robust stints from Callum Ilott and Davide Rigon – received previous into second.
The Ferrari was, nevertheless, the creator of its personal downfall ultimately following the penalty handed out as a consequence of having too many mechanics engaged on the automobile on the last cease. This was as a consequence of unfastened bodywork initiated after Fuoco divebombed Vanthoor on the last nook over the last stint.
Penalties additionally determined the Professional-Am victory as FFF Racing’s Hiroshi Hamaguchi and Phil Eager had been denied victory following a five-second penalty for contact, whereas Akka ASP Mercedes got here out on prime within the Silver Cup.