Race 2 unfortunately another one to forget again for the AMR runners in GT4 European Series

Sunday, September 03, 2023


Although another enthralling race, the second race of the GT4 European Series visit to the Hockenheim Ring proved itself to be costly for the eight Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT4 powered runners before, during and indeed after the hour-long race earlier this morning.

The first casualties were from yesterday’s race one stopping incident where the #19 Racing One AMR of Jessica Bachman got caught upon within the immediate aftermath of someone else’s accident with the damage to her and brother Andrea’s car proving too much to repair within the late finish – early start format between races.

Also missing from the grid this morning was the sister #18 Team Spirit Racing AMR of Lorenz Stegmann and Markus Lungstrass and although not obviously involved in yesterdays incident, their car did appear to be unusually slow during race 1 so maybe technical issues of their own proved pointless in starting?

With Qualifying having been competed on Saturday, the reverse driver line up has Matteo Villagomez start as the highest placed Aston in P11 overall with the #5 Mirage Racing of Ruben Del Sarte again just over their shoulder one place back. The #48 GPA Racing car of Bailey Voisin had done a great job since the private testing smash of earlier to qualify P15 overall whilst the #24 JSB Competition AMR of Florien Briche would claim P25 overall, just ahead of Florent Grizaud in the GPA #72 car P29 and Rodrique Gillion P37 aboard his #26 racing Spirit of Leman car.

A warming track allowed for another fast and furious start to another hour of racing with the wide characteristics of the sweeping circuit at least allowing those who miscalculated their entry speed to run wide without any immediate risk of contact with a barrier. Again, the opening laps ran green although neither front running Aston could capitalise upon the melee ahead of them.

Despite being pushed wide through the stadium complex, Villagomez was soon able to post the quickest lap of the race so far and looked good to progress as although running P9, was still very much in contention with those ahead. Further back, Grizaud in the #72 Am class car had already re-established their usual place within class this season, running P3 in class and looked more than comfortable to retain that through his stint with the Pro-Am car of Gillion also lifting himself up the order.

With the Porsche’s clearly the more dominant machinery at Hockenheim and with the Mercedes not too far behind in terms of overall pace, the chances of an Aston Martin podium began to wane even before the pit stops started – just the #72 GPA car was the exception especially with both the #48 GPA and #24 JSB Astons each being shown the black and white flag for repeated breaches of track limits.

Stops over and the #74 car of Victor Weyrich retained the P9 position solidified by his co-driver Villagomez whilst Jamie Day (now aboard the #5 Mirage Racing car) had lost time to drop to P16 overall but with several of the top runners also getting ‘pinged’ for track limits and pit stop minimum times – the potential for moving up the order without actually passing a car looked on the cards.

Disaster was to however hit several Aston Martin crew towards the latter stages as the race as the #5 Mirage of Day was seen going for a manoeuvre within the inside of a Porsche at the final corner only to break his suspension/steering after the lightest of touches. For Mirage – that would be the end of their race as would rear ending an Alpine at the hairpin for the #48 GPA Racing car of Heyerdahl as that would earn eventually earn him a drive through penalty from their then P19 position for his efforts.

If things couldn’t have gone much worse for the six remaining Aston Martins that started race 2, then the sole podium contending #72 GPA Racing car was caught tapping the #55 Porsche into a spin at turn 11 – unavoidable contact rather than blatant as it was but that was enough to drop Kevin Jimenez off the Am class podium to eventually finish P5 in class. The #74 RSLM car would again be the highest AMR finisher in P10 overall.

Race two was another to forget for the AMR powered team and already being out of real contention within each class anyway just sealed the deal for them as the series looks to race out its 2023 season in Barcelona at the end of the month.

Photo credits – Teams / Series
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