Phoenix Racing wins opening race at Spa-Francorchamps
22 July 2018
Phoenix Racing drivers Milan Dontje and Nicolaj Møller-Madsen have won the first of the two GT4 European Series races at Spa-Francorchamps. A faultless performance by the winners of the opening races at Zolder and Brands Hatch resulted in their third victory of the season. Equipe Verschuur and CMR finished second and third overall and in Silver Cup. Racing One and Porsche Zentrum Oberer Zürichsee by TFT Racing claimed class victories at Spa-Francorchamps.
>>> RACE 1 RESULTS <<<
PHOENIX RACING WINS OVERALL, TAKES VALUABLE SILVER CUP POINTS
HHC Motorsport’s Will Tregurtha started the race from pole position, but the Ginetta driver dropped to fourth on the opening lap, with Team GT driver Paul Rees taking the overall lead, ahead of Muehlner Motorsport’s Moritz Kranz and CMR driver Stéphane Tribaudini.
Rees was able to keep Kranz and Tribaudini behind until the pit window opened, but shortly after the first drivers came into the pits for their mandatory stop Rees’ McLaren 570S GT4 suffered a puncture. This handed the lead to the #69 Muehlner Motorsport Porsche Cayman GT4 CS MR of Kranz.
After the pit window had closed, Kranz was seven seconds clear of Nicolaj Møller-Madsen, who had benefited from a faultless run by teammate Milan Dontje and a trouble-free pit stop of his Phoenix Racing team. Kranz, however, was given a 1-second stop and go penalty for a too short pit stop and when he came in to serve it, Møller-Madsen moved into the lead, followed by the #10 Equipe Verschuur McLaren 570S GT4 of Ricardo van der Ende and the #1 MDM Motorsport BMW M4 GT4 of Max Koebolt.
Møller-Madsen went on to take the overall and Silver cup race win and the Dane was followed home by Van der Ende in second place. CMR’s Pierre-Alexandre Jean overtook Koebolt on lap 20 to take third in class and overall, while Stuart Middleton took valuable points with fourth place. The #22 TrueRacing KTM X-Bow GT4 finished fifth in class, ahead of the #1 MDM Motorsport BMW and the #103 PROsport Performance Porsche Cayman PRO4.
RACING ONE WINS IN PRO-AM; LEUTWILER CLAIMS AM VICTORY
In Pro-Am, Racing One drivers Markus Lungstrass and Hamza Owega secured their second win of the 2018 season with the #16 Audi R8 LMS GT4. Lungstrass started the race and Owega finished it, crossing the line 10 seconds before the #112 RN Vision STS BMW M4 GT4 of Miguel Cristovao and Pavel Lefterov.
The RN Vision STS BMW had been behind the #38 3Y Technology BMW M4 GT4 after the pit window had closed but took the position when the French car had to serve a penalty. Third place went to the #13 Schwede Motorsport Porsche Cayman GT4 CS MR of Marc Basseng and Phillip Bethke. The Pro-Am points leaders got third place after the #43 Allied-Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 CS MR was given a drive through for exceeding the track limits late in the race.
Porsche Zentrum Oberer Zürichsee by TFT Racing driver Niki Leutwiler got maximum points in the Am class, by winning the opening race of the weekend. The Swiss driver was in second place for most of the race, but a stop and go penalty for Muehlner Motorsport driver Moritz Kranz handed Leutwiler the race lead and victory. Kranz finished the race in second place, with ERC Sport’s Egidio Perfetti and Katarina Kyvalova securing the final podium position.
Autorlando Sport’s Alessandro Giovanelli and Giuseppe Ghezzi finished in tenth place after being involved in an incident on the opening lap.
Milan Dontje, #5 Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS GT4: “I didn’t have the best of starts. I knew I had to stay focused, because of what happened in Misano. Got back some places, as agreed with the team, and then I saved the tyres and let Nicolaj finish it. Saving the tyres was the right strategy on this track. If you don’t save tyres, you’ll lose. I’m happy with this result, which also puts us back in the championship battle.”
Nicolaj Møller-Madsen, #5 Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS GT4: “It was nice and the car was good! Milan gave me the car in P5 and after that I just managed to keep up the speed. Everybody seemed to lose speed. It seemed that we had been a bit clever and focused on the race and not the pace over one lap. I am really happy!”
Markus Lungstrass, #16 Racing One Audi R8 LMS GT4: “I had a decent start. Just want to keep the Pro-Am cars behind. Our car was hard to drive today, because we got a little bit more weight in. It was good, I could get a really good gap and Hamza managed to control it!”
Hamza Owega, #16 Racing One Audi R8 LMS GT4: “Markus had a good qualifying and that gave us a big gap to the other cars in Pro-Am and for me it was just going through, make no mistakes and stay between the white lines. For race 2 we’ll have to attack as we’re a bit further behind.”
Niki Leutwiler, #222 Porsche Zentrum Oberer Zürichsee by TFT Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 CS MR: “My race was almost a bit boring, because it was almost a perfect race. No issues whatsoever. I had a good start, stayed behind some Silver cars and could follow. I could have gone a bit faster, but my engineer told me to stay where I was and that I had a good rhythm and so we just finished the race and made no errors.”