Just the single podium was all that was earned after an eventful GT4 European Series opener from Monza

Sunday, April 23, 2023


The GT4 European Series concluded its opening round of the season from Monza earlier today with another hour long pitstop punctuated race that still left a little to be desired as far as driving standards was concerned.

With the race weekend starting with an entry list of over fifty entries, today’s race saw less than forty of the forty-eight that started finish the race – at least upon the lead lap anyway.

The day again started badly for the Aston Martin Racing runners after the #27 Newbridge Motorsport AMR Vantage GT4 of Alex Denning and Matt Topham was confirmed as a non-starter after damage sustained during race 1 yesterday when Denning was caught out by the suddenly slowing of others ahead for a Full Course Yellow for an earlier incident.

The #18 Team Racing Spirit AMR of Lorenz Stegman and Markus Lungstrass which was involved in that incident was at least repairable after a late night for the Racing One team mechanics and they would come back during race 2 to repair that commitment with a decent Pro-Am class finish at the end.

Although the opening lap appeared restrained throughout the pack, the #98 AGS Events Aston of Vincent Bouteiller would soon be shown with white duct tape holding down the deranged bonnet of his Aston only to be crawling back to pit lane again with a rear puncture to conclude a premature end to their second race.

Next up would be the #74 Racing Spirit of Leman Aston of Konstantin Lachenauer with damage after apparent contact with the #77 McLaren that would put paid to the efforts of his team rebuilding the front end of the car he shares with Victor Weyrich after a catastrophic blow out in yesterday’s race.

Lady Luck did come the way of Rory Van der Steur however, after a massive moment for the American coming into the Variante Ascari only for his #6 Mirage Racing Aston to snap him through the gravel for a narrow escape with the barrier but at least back onto the racetrack.

Just before the pit window opened, a FCY was called for a stranded Mercedes AMG in the gravel trap around the final corner. That at least stopped the field from bunching up again as the track went back to green and the pit lane opened up for those who wanted to pit first.

Amongst the early callers was the #19 Prosport Racing entry of Jess Bachman as she concluded he GT4 European Series duties for the weekend, keeping herself out of trouble in P19 overall before handing over to her brother. Once all of the stops had been completed, the best of the Aston runners were in Pro-Am where the #18 TRS car was in P3 with the #Racing Spirit of Leman car of Akhil Rabindra and Rodrique Gillion just behind in fourth.

A late drama for one of the Am class leaders however benefitted the #72 GPA Racing car of Kevin Jimenez and Florent Grizaud as the Audi’s exit lifted them onto the final step of the class podium to deliver the only silverware for the fourteen strong AMR contingent that started the race weekend on Friday.

The teams will now get just under six weeks off before the next round around another fast and furious track, this time at Paul Ricard in southern France in early June and with the first race at least now under everyone's belt, hopefully everyone will now calm down and realise that their classes cannot be won at the opening rounds!!

Photo credits – Teams / GT4 European.
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