A small return to racing success for the Aston Martin crews in GT4 European Series at Spa Francorchamps

Saturday, July 30, 2022

The fourth round of the GT4 European Series concluded at Spa Francorchamps earlier today with an improvement in results for just a few of the eleven Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT4 powered teams entered.

With all bar a couple of these teams succeeding with any decent result at the last round of the season from Misano at the end of June had the Racing One, AGS Events, Prosport Racing and the Racing Spirit of Lemans teams all desperate for success at this weekend’s two race from Spa in order to make up for that lost ground in their respective Am, Pro-Am or Silver Cup classes.

For some however, their season long troubles continued as both the #7 and #80 AGS Events Racing cars technical woes for drivers Noah Andy/Hugo Conde and Tom Verdier/Ruben Del Sarte had them all struggling for any competitive lap times in during either Qualifying session on Friday after the whole grid had lost out on their first Free Practice session thanks to barrier damage in the earlier GT3 session and a continual supply of red flags interrupted each session up until the start of race one.

Eventually starting the first race under the setting sun of Friday evening, Kenton Koch’s #5 Racing One AMR was the highest placed Aston in P11 going into the opening hundred metres of the race but an errant Alpine going around Les Combes for the first time collected the American to tap him into a spin where subsequent front-end damage would quickly see that car retire from the race by the end of the opening lap.

For Nico Verdonck and his #25 Prosport Pro-Am entry, he would be served with a 30 second stop and hold for his apparent VIP laps earlier in the weekend being considered as ‘testing’ by the stewards and therefore – against the rules!

With cars in the gravel being the theme of the meeting, another such incident brought out the first FCY after just ten minutes of racing and at the restart a pacey looking #7 AGS car of Andy pinched a little too much of La Source to be contacted by another car, sustaining damage that would end each other’s participation.

That caused another brief FCY just ahead of the pit stops with Gus Bowers being one of the first to stop with his once championship leading Spirit of Race AMR alongside the #80 AGS car that would also retire from the race and with the #24 Prosport car of Hugo Sasse suddenly dropping from P6 overall before to P28 after their stop!

By the chequered flag, the #10 Spirit of Race car of Bowers and Konstantin Lachenauer were the highest placed Aston finishing P8 in class whilst the AGS Events team did have something to cheer as the #89 Am car of Wilfried Cazalbon and Julien Lambert came home for another class podium in P29 overall – P3 in class.

Saturday morning second one-hour race was equally as chaotic with at least six cars being taken out in another first lap/first corner incident (including the #10 Racing Spirit car of Lachenauer with the Safety Car being immediately called for.

Nearly half the race length was lost to the clean-up operation before the race eventually got going just a couple of laps before the opening of the pit stop window with so far just the #80 AGS car another confirmed retiree.

Pits stop window over and it was just a chase down to the flag with the #24 Prosport car of Mike David Ortmann looking racy in fourth with both Koch and Tom Canning fighting it out in P9/P10 overall. With Ortmann getting baulked behind the guesting #3 BMW, he eventually got passed and up into third with also the #89 AGS and #18 Racing One Astons also fighting it out for Am class podium positions with just 15 minutes remaining.

At nine minutes remaining, another stranded car brought out the Safety Car making for a final lap dash to the flag with little margin between cars. That was in fact all that Ortmann needed as he passed for second overall at the front whilst Marcus Lungstrass passed Lambert for second overall in Am whilst the AGS crew finished just off the podium in fourth to make for another good weekend for them after their double DNF in Italy.

Race results are again yet to be verified but eyes have already moved onto the next round of the season from Hockenheim at the start of September.

Photo credits – GT4 European / Teams

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