Max Gotz took a commanding 26 point championship lead in the Blancpain Sprint Series as he and Max Buhk strolled to victory at Portimao.
The HTP pair took the lead on lap two and never looked back, building a 13 second lead in just 20 minutes before easing to victory over championship rivals Hari Proczyk and Jeroen Bleekemolen.
But the race finished in controversial circumstances as the WRT Audi piloted by Laurens Vanthoor overtook Bleekemolen’s Grasser Racing Lamborghini on the penultimate lap.
Vanthoor had made his way up the top five in the closing stages of the race with an impressive set of laps while others faded on aging tyres.
But when he caught the #28 Lamborghini he struggled to find a way past the determined Dutchman.
Finally Vanthoor threw the car through the fast turn four, running well wide but ensuring he maintained momentum into the braking area for the hairpin at turn five.
He passed the Gallardo and would pull away by the end only to be demoted to eighth places as the stewards decided the the R8 Vanthoor shared with Cesar Ramos had exceeded track limits to make the pass.
That had little bearing on the Germans in front, who had looked imperious from the start.
After hassling Proczyk for the opening three laps the #84 finally made it stick with a pass at turn five.
He would then build the lead up to over ten seconds within 20 minutes, despite the introduction of the safety car just seconds after he took the lead.
The field was bunched after a crash between Vincent Abril’s silver cup challenging car and the Toril/Ebrahim Forte Motorsports Mercedes.
Gotz and the rest of the pack dove for the pits at the first opportunity, except for the Marc Basseng and Alessandro Latif’s Phoenix racing car, which stayed out until the last minute to try and maximise Basseng’s car time.
When the field had eventually filtered through Buhk again led the Grasser Lamborghini by around 13 seconds but Laurens Vanthoor had used the stops to move himself up into podium contention.
Behind him Latif was a sitting duck, unable to match the pace shown by Basseng he was passed by Ortelli, Enge, Rast and Marcus Winkelhock to fall down the order to eighth, although he would be promoted to seventh by Vanthoor’s penalty.
Rast himself showed his class by battling up to an eventual fifth place, dispatching Latif and Winkelhock on the way as the #2 car came back from a poor start.
But none of that affected Buhk who strolled to a victory on his return from a controversial ban that saw him miss the previous round.
The result means Gotz takes a commanding 16 point lead over Buhk into the final two rounds and leads closest realistic challengers, Proczyk and Bleekemolen by 23 points in the Sprint series.
HTP jump back ahead of WRT by six points in the Sprint standings, with Grasser just a single point behind the Audi squad.
The sprint teams will next head to Zolder on October 18/19 while those taking part in the overall championships look to the Nurburgring 1000 on September 21.