No Championship reward for Garage 59 in Valencia despite a final class podium

Sunday, September 26, 2021


Ordinarily, seven out of ten possible podiums should have put you in good stead for the championship win but even that was sadly not enough for the #188 Garage 59 Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT3 crew of Alex West and Jonny Adam at the end of the GT World Challenge Europe Sprint Cup in Spain this afternoon.

Going into the final event of the season this weekend, a class win in the opening race was a must the Pro-Am crew with a fourteen-point deficit to make up against an even more consistent pairing of Miguel Ramos and Henrique Chaves in the #77 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini around the tight and twisting Valencian Circuit Ricardo Tormo.

Pre-Qualifying went well for the #188 car taking the lead Pro-Am position in P6 yesterday before moving in the tw0 Qualifying sessions for Sunday’s two one-hour races with West Qualifying P26 for race 1 and Adam P19 for race 2 but each time behind the Championship leading #77 car on what started out to be a ‘green’ track after overnight rain.

For the team’s second car – the #159 Silver Cup crew of Tuomas Tujula and Nicolai Kjaergaard, their first season aboard the AMR Vantage GT3 platform had already cut down with multiple accident and other technical no finishes – so for them Valencia was only about pride.

Race one on Sunday morning couldn’t have gone more wrong for the team if it had tried as an advancing West becoming an immediate victim to another car’s incident as the midfield pack - still four wide on the opening lap suddenly moved across in avoidance of a slow running Mercedes on the inside to side swipe the #188 and breaking its nearside rear wheel linkage and putting West out of the race on the spot together with any further chance at the Championship. The race would also end early for Tujula on only the eighth lap with frontal damage incurred first a puncture and then from an unseen incident that consigned him to the pit lane for hasty repairs.

The later second and final Sprint Cup race of the 2021 season was a much better affair as Adam and Kjaergaard had better starts but again the race was neutralised on only the second lap this time as a four-car incident left debris across the racetrack and a stranded car to boot. 

Getting back to green and it wasn’t long before Adam had passed the #77 Barwell car for position but even by then, the class leading Mercedes was already too far in front to mount any sizeable challenge for the class lead. The #159 meanwhile was ‘enjoying’ some Silver Class rivalry as they battled for what they could.

Hitting the pit window with only ten seconds to spare, Adam handed the car back to West whilst Kjaergaard had already pitted at the start of the available window to hand back to Tujula for the final time and whilst both cars would finish, all attention rightly turned to the #77 Barwell crew who secured the Pro-Am title at the end. 

Whilst a final P2 class podium for the #188 crew would raise a brief smile on the podium – they will be disappointed as they would eventually finish fourth in the Pro-Am Drivers Championship for their season’s efforts.

Photo credits – GTWCE / Garage 59


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