Another challenging GT4 European Series for the Aston Martin Racing runners at the Hockenheimring

Sunday, September 04, 2022


The GT4 European Series first visit to Hockenheim at the weekend proved itself to be another challenge round of the series for the plethora of Aston Martin Racing powered teams with just the first race on Saturday producing anything to cheer at the seasons penultimate round.

Since the previous round of the series at Speed Week at Spa Francorchamps at the end of July, the summer break had generated several driver changes – particularly amongst the French AGS Events Racing team all stemming from one driver leaving for his previous Mirage Racing outfit. There was also a rationalisation of driving recourses with the Racing One Team Spirit outfit that saw them loose a couple of drivers, gain a couple but loose a car to what they had previously entered.

Setting up over periods of wet and dry tracks, Saturdays double Qualifying sessions left several crews on the back foot as the track conditions dried and others had excursions through the gravel to sustain damage for the second driver.

For race one, it was the #19 Racing Spirit of Lemans car of Tom Canning heading the AMR bunch in eighth, just ahead of his teammate in the #19 car of Konstantin Lachenauer with the close presence of both Hugo Sasse (#24 Prosport Racing) and Ralf Kelleners (#6 Racing One) nearby.

A typical large gaggle entry and exit out of turn one saw many break limits as many crews made up or indeed lost ground in the run up to the next corner with a great move from Lachenauer around the Chevrolet allowed him and Sasse to gain quick ground before the young Swiss tried his luck once too often with the next car at the same corner only to spin the Porsche around.

Fortunately for him, he escaped any official redress for his actions (until the end of the race when they were given a five second time penalty) as Nico Verdonck confused the Audi ahead of him at the time to double switch back to claim a P16 overall position just ahead of the pit window.

First to pit was Sasse to hand over his #24 car to Mike David Ortmann and that proved itself to be a good move as the rain began to fall once again. The fresh crew with the Mirage Racing team (Ruben Del Sarte and Paul Aural-König) had almost kept themselves out of the wars but appeared in pit lane with frontal damage although this didn’t stop them from continuing their maiden voyage together. 

Fifteen minutes to go and the rain really started to fall, and whilst many at the front of the pack remained out on slicks, others took the gamble and pitted for wets. Unfortunately for them, a resulting incident on track with two cars left stranded brought of the first FCY but the race would ultimately finish behind the Safety Car because of the track conditions.

That left the #24 Prosport Racing entry to claim another (unchallenged) P2 overall finish to add to their others and helped to consolidate their Championship positions.

Sundays second race was fortunately under clear blue skies and sunshine again as a guesting Will Tregurtha was lead AMR car this time on the grid in P3 with Gus Bowers in his #10 car in fifth.

Another chaotic opening couple of corners soon saw the grid calm down into what appeared to be an orderly queue before the lead bunch came across some fluid left on track by an ailing BMW on the opening lap, leading to many cars (including Tregurtha and Bowers) exiting track right before importantly returning to the race pace only slightly otherwise unscathed.

Elsewhere, Markus Lungstrass was leading the Am Class aboard his #18 Racing One AMR whilst Del Sarte was hanging in there just behind Akhil Rabindra in the #19 car in P15.

Showing some of his old pace, it wasn’t long before Tregurtha was back up with the traffic and challenging for position but suddenly made a bee line for the pit lane with a rear left puncture – that all but destroyed his and co-driver, Nico Hantke’s race.

What followed next was a cascade of incident and accident that claimed another long list of Aston Martin runners with first Bowers hitting into the rear of one car to break his steering, Lungstrass doing similar whilst also challenging for position before both Kellener’s Racing One car and Tom Verdier’s AGS Events cars also pitted with terminal ailments.

That left just the #19 Racing Spirit car of Canning/Rabindra to claim a P6 Silver Cup finish with Del Sarte/König claiming a debut P7 in Silver Cup result too. The new AGS Events line up of Nicolas Gomar and Mike Parisy to claim a P5 Pro-Am result together.

With just one more event to go at Barcelona at the end of the month, only the #24 Prosport Racing and #10 Racing Spirit Astons have any chance of the Silver Cup Champiosnhip prize although both lie at least thirty-eight points back with just fifty points maximum on offer. In the Am Class, another DNF for the #89 AGS Events car of Julien Lambert and Wilfried Cazalbon in race 2 has left them twenty-one points behind their class leader with the same points being available.

That is a tall ‘ask’ but in the land of GT4 racing – anything is possible and probably to the effect!!

Photo credits – Teams / Series










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