Drivex kicked off the 2018 season in the International GT Open in style as the team went on to win the second race of the season-opener at the Circuito de Estoril. Marcelo Hahn and Allam Khodair set the pace on Portuguese soil from the very beginning. Their teammates Jamie Campbell-Walter and Ferdinand Habsburg, the latter making his debut in GT racing, were competitive throughout the weekend despite they couldn’t experience the sweet smell of success this time.
The Spain-based team led the way on first day at Int’l GT Open’s Estoril event. Hahn and Khodair emerged fastest at the end of the day by setting a fast lap of 1m38.125s in the final private test session, which was almost half a second quickest than their nearest rival. Factory drivers such as Alessandro Pier Guidi or Giovanni Venturini were one second off the pace. Habsburg and Campbell-Walter, making their debut in the series with another Mercedes GT3 machinery, also completed a productive testing day scoring a best lap of 1m40.007s. Despite warmer conditions on Friday, nobody else set a quicker lap than Hahn and Khodair.
Campbell-Walter was 5th-fastest in Q1 for Saturday’s 70-minute race with a lap time of 1:36.983. Hahn qualified 15th and 6th in Pro-Am class with a time of 1:38.297. Unfortunately, both cars experienced a highly frustrating start to the race in the afternoon as Hahn was caught in a pile up and was forced to retire a few laps later. Campbell-Walter, after making a good start – in fact, the Briton moved up to third place-, he lost several places in the previously mentioned incident. Habsburg still gained some places in the second half of the race to finish tenth.
On Sunday, a rain-marred qualifying session saw a stunning performance from Khodair, who took 10th on the starting grid with his lap of 1:50.788. Habsburg clocked a time of 1:51.801 to start 14th on the grid. Later in the race, Khodair passed Andrés Saravia on the first lap. The Brazilian also overtook Nicolas Costa and Martin Konrad shortly after. By then, he was running third in Pro-Am class making his mandatory pit stop after 35 minutes handing over to Hahn. His teammate rejoined 2nd in class and, when the checkered flag was about to fall, the Mercedes Drivex moved into the lead. An amazing result for Drivex and its drivers. Habsburg and Campbell-Walter were also fighting for a top-ten finish when spun out with a few minutes to go.
The second venue of the International GT Open will take place at Paul Ricard on 5-6 May.