The race undoubtedly belonged to Broniszewski whose Kessel Racing-run Ferrari 458 GT3 was never headed after blasting clear from pole position. He will also line up at the head of the field for this afternoon’s 40-minute Main Race.
Broniszewski was helped somewhat by the squabble for second involving Lanting, Nicolas Vandierendonck and Patrick Van Glabeke. It was the latter who ultimately prevailed, but only after the other two protagonists hit trouble.
Vandierendonck’s poor start elevated Lanting to second, and that is exactly where he would stay until the final five minutes when, under pressure from his pursuers, the reigning Iron Cup champion clipped Pierre Feligioni while lapping his Audi and span into retirement.
Van Glabeke and Vandierendonck looked set to battle for second until the chequered flag before the latter’s trip through the Paddock Hill Bend gravel moments after Lanting’s spin settled the contest. Indeed, the Corvette’s excursion cost so much time that Karim Ojjeh, who had driven a drama-free race from eighth on the grid, ended up pinching the final podium spot.
Brunstedt was also in the wars but survived several close encounters with Mario Cordoni to finish fifth overall and secure his first Iron Cup victory. The Swede’s Audi received superficial damage after being nudged at Druids and then inherited fifth on the final lap when the championship leader beached his Ferrari in the Stirlings gravel trap.
Alexis de Bernardi was another who went under the radar to complete the top-six after starting ninth, while Coach McKansy’s Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 was never far from the thick of the action en route to seventh.
A miraculous recovery drive helped AKKA ASP’s Anthony Pons fight through from starting in the pits to finish eighth, one place clear of Gilles Lallement and second placed Iron Cup protagonist Stephen Earle. Leon Price completed the podium for drivers over the age of 60 with 11th overall.
This afternoon’s Main Race gets underway at 14:25.
Michal Broniszewski, Kessel Racing Ferrari 458 GT3: “I’m happy with that. The car was perfect and prepared very well, so my thanks go to the team. The track was a little bit slippery at the start but I pushed to establish a gap and then relaxed when I knew I was safe. Hopefully we can make it two out two later today.”
Jan Brunstedt, JB Motorsport Audi R8 LMS ultra GT3: “The incident with Cordoni was just racing. It is part of the game, he was a little bit quicker than me and misjudged his braking. I have been in the business long enough to understand that! Under normal conditions I wouldn’t have beaten Martin [Lanting] but I am starting a lot further ahead of him later today. So let’s see.”