Emotional roller coaster for PROsport Performance at Red Bull Ring

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Last weekend saw the return of joint ADAC GT Masters and the ADAC GT4 Germany series programme from the Red Bull Ring in Austria having temporally parted company after the opening round to the season at Oschersleben.

Having had issues with performances at the opening two rounds of the ADAC GT Masters at both Oschersleben and more recently at Most in the Czech Republic, the team had decided to concentrate their efforts in GT3 with just a single Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT3 being entered for drivers Daniel Keilwitz and Maxime Martin. In line with a programme of development for the event with AMR and other strategic partners, that sadly left both Hugo de Sadeleer and Valentin Hasse-Clot with a weekend off.

With only one points finish out of the four races so far, racing success in Austria was important for the team in order to bolster their so far faltering AMR race programme.

Early testing at the circuit proved changes made were certainly in the right direction with the #99 car being just half a second behind the pace setters in both Free Practice sessions on Friday and Qualifying followed a similar theme when Keilwitz finished his opening stint in P15 for the one hour race later on that day.

A good opening stint from the former ADAC GT Masters Champion kept the car in one piece and looked on par in terms of pace with those around them as he pitted from P10 at he halfway point. With the AMR factory driver Martin now in the car, he would have a great battle with the sole Ferrari 488 in the Series for lap after lap with each platform showing their strengths and weaknesses as corners of the lap passed them by.

Then came the damaging notification from Race Control - a drive through penalty for exceeding track limits! Having shown pace, Martin sadly pitted the car to retire from the race and a points paying P10 position with just 10 minutes to go.

Race 2 on Sunday was a different day and with Martin the time qualifying the car, the duo would this time start from P10 on the grid - again just 0.484 seconds off pole position. Fortunately less aggressive on track this time, the sixty minutes of racing cycled through without accident or incident to finish a very credible P9 with some very welcome points as a reward.

Whilst the penalty in race 1 was unfortunate, the events of Round 3 of the season has proven that the team are working their Vantage GT3's the right way in terms of performance as the series takes a short break in their proceedings before the next round at Zandvoort in early August.

In support of all of this was the ADAC GT4 Germany Series for only their second round of the season after Oschersleben with PROsport Performance returning with their two AMR Vantage GT4's.

Free Parctice and Qualifying 1 saw some good times from drivers Florian Thoma and Jorg Viebahn for them to qualify their #18 and #19 cars P5 and P14 respectively for Saturdays race which then started very badly for the team.

Leading up to T1 on the opening lap, a McLaren 570S moved across the track and forced another car into the side of Thoma's #18 car which in turn forced him into the side of another car of his outside. Whilst he was initially able to continue, unseen damage within the fabric of the car would ultimately force him to pit and retire after only two laps. For the sister #19 car of Viebahn, things were looking comfortable during his opening stint as he moved up to P10 by the time of the stop.

Swapping over to Joonas Lapalleinen, he continued the fine work of his co driver in the opening stint until what looked like suspension failure forced his retirement at the trackside with just three minutes remaining!!

Sunday would then see both GT4 cars from the team not set a Qualifying lap time which automatically forced then to start Sundays race from the rear of the grid. Whereas Jeremy Lesoudier finally got a drive the event, the #19 car would again suffer from technical issues that forced Lapalleinen to pit - and retire again.

For the #18 car, Lesoudier and Thoma would continue with an underwhelming race from their point of view to ultimately finish P9.

Clearly some investigative work and repairs to be done on those two cars ahead of their next round also at Zandvoort in August.

Photo credits - ADAC GT Masters / PROsport Performance

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