A miserable day for many of the AMR seven at the penultimate round of the GT4 European Series at the Nurburgring

Sunday, September 05, 2021


The GT4 European Series has never failed to deliver on the racetrack with those competing across its available Am, Pro-Am and Silver Cup classes, giving us two exciting races to look forward to per round across its now five rounds this year.

This weekend’s round from the Nurburgring in Germany would see an addition to the six full season Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT4 Partner and Customer team entry as the Dorr Motorsport team entered their own AMR Vantage GT4 from its usual ADAC GT4 Germany as a taster of the circuit before their own round at the circuit later this year.

With the green #97 AMR entry for brothers Ben and Phil Dorr came the usual three cars from the French AGS Events Racing team plus the single car entries from each of the Street Art Racing, Mirage Racing and Racing One teams.

Unfortunately for all the AMR teams, they would be needing something of a minor miracle if anyone were to be able to retain any Championship contention within the Am and Silver Cup classes that most of them were competing in.

After a couple of good days of private testing and Free Practice, it was the #55 Mirage Racing AMR of Ruben Del Sarte who came out as the quickest of the Aston’s in Q1 to claim a P9 start, just a couple of places ahead of Marcus Lungstrass who claimed the Am Class pole position in his #18 Racing One Car.

For the rest of the AMR pack, the next best was P22 for the #22 AGS car of Cesar Gazeau through to Pascal Bachmann bringing up the rear of the 41 car field in his #7 Street Art Racing car.

One thing that we had missed building up to this event was that Akhil Rabindra was missing from his #45 AGS AMR that he usually shares with Hugo Conde. It transpired that the young Indian was back home in Hyderabad, launching a new Formula Regional India single seater series with his place taken by team FFSA GT4 racer Gilles Vannelet but in the Pro-Am class instead of their usual Silver.

Taking the rolling start under glorious sunny and warm conditions, there were early loses for Del Sarte whilst Gazeau picked up a couple of early gains. Having missed the last round of the series at Spa Francorchamps, Lungstrass was doing fine work on track as he battled with the Am class leading Audi for position whilst everyone else had somewhat stagnated for position where they were.

As the field approached the start of its pit window, Del Sarte had recovered to P10 as he came in to hand over to Tom Canning. First time GT4 European Series racers in the #97 Dorr car, their endeavours running up to P23 overall came to a dusty end in the pit lane as an apparent brake fire was over extinguished by a pit lane marshal that made it impossible for them to return to the track.

With Lungstrass have ran late into the available pit window, his Am co-driver Henrik Lyngbye Pedersen came out in P6 overall but the ‘race rusty’ Gentleman driver would quickly tumble down the order as he raced his first race since his race ending accident at Zandvoort in mid-June.

As the race leading McLaren's were extending their lead at the head of the pack, race 1 at the Nurburgring again showed that the Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT4 was wildly off the pace to its peers even though the platform was hugely competitive at the start of the season.

Whilst Canning recovered to finish P6 overall and in class aboard his #55 car, the only point of note was a late dash by Street Art Racing’s Paul Theysgens to claim P3 in Am by the end of the opening hour’s race.

Another early start for the pack on Sunday morning as they prepared for their final track action of the weekend with again the #55 Mirage car of Canning heading the AMR field in P8 with the #27 AGS car of Konstantin Lachenauer the next highest in P22.

Drama in this race started at the first corner of the first lap as the Pro-Am Championship winning Audi was spun around before the #97 Dorr Aston Martin of Ben Dorr was shunted unceremoniously off track. Again, there were early gains and early losses for the AMR contingent with again Theysgens looking racy.

Further drama was to come at the end of the first ten minutes as the #97 Dorr car was then punted off the track again, this time spinning down the crash barrier and into another retirement. They would soon be joined by the #45 AGS car of Conde who stopped trackside with what looked like a technical issue even before the pit window was reached.

Pitting from the Am class lead, Theysgens handed back to Bachmann who exited pit lane in second with Nicolas Gomar taking charge of his #89 AGS Am car in P5 (in class) and Lungstrass P7 in class.

The #27 AGS Lachenauer/Gazeau car would be hit with a 1 second stop and hold penalty for a too shorter pit stop which would remove the last remaining possibility of any decent points score for them whilst the #55 would elevate themselves to P9 thanks to two battling cars driving themselves off the track however, that would all count for nothing as a move from Del Sarte resulted in himself and two other cars touching and all ending in the gravel with damage. Although Del Sarte would re-join the track, it would only be as far as the pit lane and retirement.

Race 2 ended with three AMR retirements (including the #89 AGS car after contact) making for a miserable day for the French team but as well as both the Mirage and Dorr Motorsport teams as attention now crosses to the final round of the season in Barcelona in the first half of October. With the Nurburgring round seeing the Pro-Am and Am Classes now settled, there is sadly no chance of any Aston crew challenging for the remaining Silver Cup title with the nearest crew (Gazeau/Lachenauer) over a hundred points behind.

That is the nature of the GT4 European Series and such is the ferocity of competition – win some, lose some but we all enjoy the race none the less.

Photo credits – GT4 European / Teams
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