• 4th and 6th place in heat battle at Budapest
• Buhk and Perera keep Sprint Cup lead by three points
• Sprint Cup season-final taking place at Nürburgring in two weeks
Maximilian Buhk maintained his lead with his Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup after last weekend’s round at the Hungaroring. After fourth and sixth place, Buhk and his French team-mate Franck Perera are now leading the pack with 60 points, followed closely by the Lamborghini drivers Bortollotti and Engelhart with only one remaining race weekend.
The expectations were high after the AMG-driver´s dominant victory last year. Buhk qualified in third place with only 0.183 seconds missing to Pole Position, but everything was still possible from row two on the grid for the German racer.
However, Buhk faced difficult opening rounds going into the one-hour qualification race on Saturday and lost two positions in the first three laps. But after lap six, the #84 Mercedes-AMG GT3 was back-up to speed and thanks to an early pitstop, the team gained one position in the pitlane. Perera completed a clean stint and crossed the finishing line in fourth position.
The Frenchman had a good start into the main race on Sunday, making up one position when turning into the first corner into P3 past the #3 Audi. A nose-to-tail battle for second spot followed after a short Safety Car period with the main competitors in the fight for the title, the #63 Lamborghini. Engelhart pitted early in the Lamborghini and Perera took over P2. The HTP-driver came into the pits right behind the race leader Marcel Fässler (Audi #5), but a problem with the front right wheel nut stopped the good process.
Buhk climbed behind the wheel and returned to the track in seventh place. The Hungaroring lived up to its name once more, showing how difficult overtaking is on the so-called “Mickey-Mouse-Track”. For a number of laps, Buhk put his teeth into passing the #2 Audi of Will Stevens, finishing the race in sixth place eventually.
“This weekend did certainly not go as we had in mind”, says Buhk. “We were not really able to attack with the car in the first laps, but as soon as we had completed more laps, the Mercedes-AMG GT3 was running perfectly well again and we were able to fight for positions again. Unfortunately, it is really hard to overtake at Budapest, even if you have the faster car, it´s another thing to pass someone in front of you. We managed to get some points, but so did our main competitors. The fight for the title will be a great showdown and I am very much looking forward to it. After all, everyone wants to see a great battle for the title in the very last race.”
The Hamburg-based driver and the HTP Motorsport team are now looking forward to the title decision at their home race at Nürburgring, with the final round of the Sprint Cup taking place from 15th until 17th September 2017.
Copyright Image OLIVIER BEROUD / VISION SPORT AGENCY