Nothing short of a disaster for AGS Events Racing in Misano

Saturday, August 08, 2020

After their spoils of the opening round of the revised 2020 GT4 European Series from Imola a couple of weekends ago, confidence must have been sky high within the French based AGS Events Racing team as their Aston Martin Racing Driver Academy Silver Cup #27 crew and #89 Am Class entry scooped three podium finishes between them at Imola.

That confidence and the marked difference in performance between their Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT4's to the BMW M4 GT4's which were so dominant at Imola, also gave drivers Theo Nouet/Valentine Hasse-Clot and Nicolas Gomer/Giles Vannelet an extra tenth of a second as the #27 car claimed their first overall Pole Position of the season with the #89 car doing likewise in class in P5 on the grid.

As with the most of Europe at the moment, track temperatures in Italy were again very high, as was humidity and all nineteen car crews expected a tough day in the car managing both tyre degradation as well as themselves in that heat.

Starting alongside the Camaro on the front row of the grid, Nouet retained the lead going into the first corner although Vannelet did first appear to get 'mugged' by faster class cars around him although he did end the opening lap holding on to his P5 starting position.

Whilst Nouet quietly made some distance between him and the second placed car, Vannelet was again the one enjoying most of the racing action before two squabbling Am class cars further back ended that fun with a Full Course Yellow to extract one from the gravel. On the restart Nouet again held onto his front end position whilst the #89 drove a warranted P4 overall (P1 in Am Class) position on track.

Time lost in that caution period only gave Nouet another lap or two before he pitted from the lead to hand over to Hasse-Clot whilst the #89 elected to stay out with the 'lesser' driver almost until the end of the ten minute pit window.

After all stops had worked their way through the system, Hasse-Clot maintained their overall race lead and increased it somewhat to over eight seconds whilst their Am class team mates really had lost out on tracks having dropped from effective P4 before the stop to P11 overall but still P2 in class afterwards.

With just over 25% of the hour race to go disaster struck both Aston Martins as first Hasse-Clot suddenly slowed and ultimately stopped on track - got going again after a system reset before stopping again again on the same lap. With all of the pack having past the car that had until that stage dominated the opening forty minutes of the opening race of the weekend, their race was sadly done as they were recovered from the circuit by a track vehicle.

Also, but this time unseen on camera, the sister #89 had also limped its way back to the pit lane where it was also retired from the race with up until then undefined issues.

It was only some time after the chequered flag that the team confirmed that both cars suffered from fuel pick up issues that saw both cars enter their first (and hopefully last) DNF's of the season.

Tomorrows second race of the weekend sees both cars again start form the front - this time P2 in class each four Hasse-Clot P2 overall win the grid tomorrow with Gomar P10 overall/P2 in Am.

It can only get better for them this time around!!

Photo credits - GT4 European Series

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