Though the two drivers have shared the championship lead all season long, neither set the timing screens alight during qualifying. Tonizza was the best-placed of the two in 11th place, while Baldwin could only manage 14th. Instead it was Jakob Ostermann taking his maiden pole position in the Lamborghini Huracan, although the top 34 cars on the 44-car grid were covered by just one second.
The early action tilted the championship in Tonizza’s favour, as the Italian cut through the pack and up into seventh, enough to overhaul Baldwin’s points advantage. Worse for Baldwin, Tonizza’s Ferrari team-mate Giovanni de Salvo had gone the other way and was now holding up the British driver’s McLaren.
However the race stewards had seen something untoward in Tonizza’s opening lap charge. As the cars ran onto the Kemmel Straight for the first time, the Ferrari swept across into Maciej Malinowski’s Porsche 911. That resulted in a ten-second penalty for the FDA man, which he’d have to serve at his pit stop.
Baldwin was the first to stop, aiming to get out from under de Salvo’s rear wing and undercut the field, but when de Salvo pitted a lap later he came back out ahead of the McLaren once again. Having served his penalty in the pits, Tonizza came out one place and four seconds behind his championship rival.
What looked like it could be a thrilling final 20 minutes somewhat fizzled out though. Tonizza couldn’t close the gap, despite de Salvo ahead. To make matters worse, de Salvo and Gregor Schill collided on the final pass through the Bus Stop chicane, allowing Baldwin to sneak up into sixth at the finish line, with Tonizza only ninth.
The championship action all took attention away from an impressive race win by Niklas Houben, who overtook Ostermann on the opening lap and never surrendered his lead. BMW duo Arthur Kammerer and Nils Naujoks took the remaining podium spots, allowing Naujoks to take third place in the championship too.