The #89 Mercedes-AMG Team AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3 driven by Raffaele Marciello, Jules Gounon and Timur Boguslavskiy took the chequered flag just over 15.5 seconds ahead of the #51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 of Come Ledogar, Miguel Molina and Alessandro Pier Guidi to win the Kyalami 9 Hour, the final round of the 2021 Intercontinental GT Challenge.
Completing the overall podium was the #25 Audi Sport Team Sainteloc Audi R8 LMS GT3 of Patric Niederhauser, Markus Winkelhock and Kelvin van der Linde.
Audi’s third place meant that the Ingolstadt manufacturer won the Manufacturers’ title while the #51 Ferrari pairing of Ledogar and Pier Guidi won the Drivers’ championship.
The #89 Mercedes started from pole and enjoyed a trouble-free run to victory. The retirement of the #71 Ferrari of Antonio Fuoco, Niklas Nielsen and Alessio Rovera retired before the four-hour mark to ensure Audi Sport the manufacturers title.
Marciello in the #89 car led the opening laps from pole position with Ferrai re-setting their stint length.
Both Ferraris, however, were hit with problems. The #51 car was served a penalty for track limits while the #71 suffered a gearbox issue which meant it round to a halt while running third.
Differing strategies saw AKKA ASP and AF Corse trade places during pit stops but the Mercedes had the pace and Marciello set fastest lap times as the race moved into darkness.
The Silver Cup class’s sole entry, the #26 Sainteloc Racing Audi of Lucas Legeret, Nicolas Baert and Simon Gachet finished in the fifth overall while Audi also clinched the Pro-Am class win with the #33 High Class Racing entry crossing the line seven laps ahead of the #75 SunEnergy 1 Racing car driven by Mikael Grenier, Kenny Habul and Martin Konrad.
The 2022 Intercontinental GT Challenge gets underway on July 29 – August 1 with the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa.