Productive weekend for the Aston Martin Racing runners in GT4 European Series at Zandvoort

Monday, June 21, 2021

Another triumphant display from the four Aston Martin Racing teams at the weekend as they competed at a weather affected third round of the GT4 European Series from Zandvoort at the weekend securing half of the silverware on that was on offer.

Torrential rain on Friday saw many of the test and Free Practice sessions delayed or cancelled as flood water filled the pit lane and access tunnels into the circuit became impassable making for an extremely busy Saturday timetable to make up for lost ground. Such were the time restraints for the multi-SRO series event that clocks continued to run as and when periods of caution were required out on track and that affected many teams during their Qualifying runs.

The #27 AGS Events Racing Vantage GT4 of Cesar Gazeau and Konstantin Lachenauer had caught our eye over the two previous rounds so far at both Monza and Paul Ricard as the most likely new Silver Cup pairing to do well with the French team, all under the watchful eye of the resident driver coach Valentin Hasse-Clot of course.

Their speed so far continued into Saturday evening’s Qualifying sessions for the GT4 Series with Gazeau slotting his car home P4 overall (P3 in class) ahead of Sunday mornings first race with Mirage Racing’s Ruben del Sarte looking equally racy in his #55 car in P6. AGS Events team boss Nicolas Gomar was again the quickest of the three Am class AMR’s taking class pole in P18 overall.

Despite the rains of Friday and the damp of Saturday, race day on Sunday turned out to be cooler but importantly drier although the on-shore breeze had picked up a bit and that was putting sand from the dunes around the circuit where grip is usually very important.

Race 1 began well for Gazeau as he soon elevated himself up to P3 however for Gomar, his race was to go ‘pear shape’ as early contact left him languishing in pit lane for repairs as the leaders came around next time around to swallow up an obviously ailing #89 Aston. A quick Safety Car was called for a beached Mercedes and at the restart of that, the #45 AGS AMR of Hugo Conde quickly made up two places with an opportunist move just ahead of the new staggered pit window.

Unfortunately for some, they never made it that far as a McLaren 570s impacted heavily with the safer barrier bringing out an immediate Safety Car before ultimately being red flagged so that the necessary barrier repairs could be made. With the driver thankfully OK, nearly half an hour was lost to the already busy timetable so to cover that off, Race Control sanctioned the pit stops and driver changes were to be made on the grid as they waited to go back to green.

At the Safety Car restart, Henrik Lyngbye-Pedersen came off the worse in his #18 Racing One AMR as multiple cars with higher grade drivers came shooting past the Gentleman driver, undoing all the good work that Marcus Lungstrass had done up until then but further ahead, Tom Canning had a high-speed brush with the outside wall at the final corner but managed to continue seemingly none the worse for it and Lachenauer finally took the race lead.

Paul Theysgens (#7 Street Art Racing) was also having a great race as the inexperienced Belgian moved up to P3 in the Am Class just ahead of the end of the hour, claiming a deserved first podium for him and his 2019 former Am Class Champion co-driver Pascal Bachmann.

Whilst Gazeau, Lachenauer and Theysgens/Bachmann would celebrate out front, Zandvoort came to a crunching halt for the #18 car as Pedersen speared his car into the barrier bring out a further Safety Car behind which the race would ultimately end. For the #18 crew, that would be the end of their race weekend.

For Sunday afternoons second GT4 race, the highest Aston crew was again the #27 crew but this time (and from the time restrictions of Q2 early on Saturday evening), the best that they could do this time was P10. The #55 Mirage Arcing car of Canning was again close behind in P12 with Akhil Rabindra P22 in his #45 car with the remaining two Am class Astons in P26 (#7) and P35 (#89) respectively.

With many cars looking for the optimum line around a narrow, twisty circuit there was plenty of ‘rubbing’ going on in the opening laps again as Canning pressurised Lachenauer into a mistake that would first allow his stablemate past but also two further cars behind. Former Street Art Racer Clement Seyler was busying himself with this year’s team replacement in the car (Theysgens) for Am Class honours before the Belgian finally got past Seyler’s Audi to join onto the rear of Rabindra’s Aston for P20 overall.

This time the pit window did cycle through the Am – Pro-Am – Silver classes as intended as Del Sarte was to reappear near the head of the train in P5 overall (P3 class), Gazeau and Conde done in P12 and P20 respectively but with the #7 car of Bachmann again in a podium claiming position in Am.

By the end of the final twenty minutes and again behind another Safety Car at the end for another beached car, the #27 again finished head of the AMR runners, this time down in P13 (P8 in class) but this time with their team #89 AGS car of Gomar and Eric Herr claiming the final step in Am to round off an already positive day for the French team.

The results of the weekend elevate the #89 Gomar/Herr crew up to P4 in the Am Class as it does with the #27 crew of Lachenauer/Gazeau in Silver Cup as the series moves onto Speed week at Spa Francorchamps at the end of July.

Photo credits – GT4 European / Teams
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