Podium trail continues but no class titles won after final round of the GT4 European Series

Sunday, October 02, 2022


Class podiums were not in short supply but unfortunately the end of season Series titles were for the Aston Martin Racing powered crews at the final round of the GT4 European Series from the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona, Spain this weekend.

Three crews travelled to Spain with something of a mathematical chance of lifting either their Silver or Am Class titles but still needed something approaching a minor miracle to do so, but what happened in the end was the best of efforts for one, the fizzling out of another with something of an own goal for the third.

The #24 Prosport Racing AMR of Mike David-Ortmann and Hugo Sasse had the shortest odds to overcome whilst the #10 Racing Spirit of Lemans AMR of Konstantin Lachenauer and Gus Bowers needed that minor miracle of two sets of non-points finishes for the cars ahead of them in the Silver class. The #89 AGS Events Racing AMR of Julien Lambert and Wilfried Cazalbon were still chasing the Am Class title and where in a similar position to the #24 car in Silver going into this round.

Despite all the penalties being awarded to some before the start, the weekend started well for some as Tom Canning claimed Silver Pole position for Saturdays race but that effort would later be undone by a sensor failure which forced co-driver Akhil Rabindra to pit just laps from the end.

That bad luck would continue through to the AGS Events Racing team as first their #80 car of Tom Verdier and Loris Caribou would suffer an engine failure of some description, only for the team not to seemingly have the parts required to replace it so that car would take no further part in the event beyond that of the second Free Practice before the pivotable moment came for their #89 car as Cazalbon would hot another car in the pit lane on the way to the grid for race one only to damage his car and that of another for neither to take part. That would become the end of their Am Class title aspirations.

Another wild start to race one saw many getting pushed wide into the opening corners for both the Racing Spirit of Lemans cars to drop positions whilst others got stuck in battle just as the first of many Safety Cars periods as called. Back to green and quickly back to a Safety Car as another car faltered on track before finally the race got through to its mandatory pits top window.

That over with – obviously another Safety Car as two more cars tangled with each other as the #19 Aston was forced to pit as the #24 Prosport car chased their class dreams but were at the time still stuck in fourth before progressing up to second before eventually seeing out the race in fifth. That result, and the results of the cars ahead of them would see an end to their series title attack.

Guesting team, GPA Racing and their drivers Kevin Jimenez and Florent Grizaud would however buck the trend as they would first come through second in class at the chequered flag but would be elevated to class winners by the time that Race Stewards had worked through their list of repeat race ‘offenders’.

That all sadly meant that Sundays race was for nothing – for the Aston Martin powered crews that was as none could win even though all three classes needed to be concluded which was kind of fortunate as Sundays finale descended into chaos.

Multiple contacts on the opening lap saw one Alpine spin, only to be collected by a Mercedes (and Rabindra’s Aston Martin which took to the gravel in avoidance) for the first call of the Safety Car only for another three-car incident later in the lap which resulted in widespread damage and debris.

Circulating behind the Safety car for half an hour, the race was eventually red flagged to allow the final clean-up operations to be completed but by the time it got back to racing, there was only fifteen minutes left on the clock.

If that wasn’t bad enough, during those fifteen minutes another two Safety Car periods were called leaving just a two-corner dash to the flag to determine all three classes leaving the #24 car to claim their final P2 podium finish of the season to finish third in Silver at the end with another P2 Am Class race finish for the #72 GPA Racing team.

This all meant that, for the first time in a number of years that no Aston Martin team came away from the GT4 European Series with an overall class title despite up to twelve Vantage GT4s being involved at time to time. Whilst some did come close, that at least proves to all that GT4 racing is ultra-competitive and if you can’t string a season together – then you are not going to win at the end of the day!

Thank you GT4 European Series – it’s been another cracking year of racing!

Photo credits - Series
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