Silver and Pro-Am title battles go to the wire at Nürburgring as RN Vision STS wins race 1

15 September 2018

The GT4 European Series Silver and Pro-Am titles will be decided in tomorrow's final race of the season after a very exciting first race at the Nürburgring today. Beitske Visser and Nico Menzel (#110 RN Vision STS BMW M4 GT4) capped a perfect race with their second victory of the season. The final race promises to be a thriller, with the HHC Motorsport and MDM Motorsport drivers level on points at the top after today's race. Markus Lungstrass took a major step towards the Pro-Am championship title by winning his class, while Niki Leutwiler became the first driver to seal the title in the Am category.

SILVER CUP RACE WIN FOR MENZEL/VISSER, CHAMPIONSHIP DECIDED ON SUNDAY

Nico Menzel and Beitske Visser today celebrated victory in the GT4 European Series the Nürburgring. The RN Vision STS drivers took the lead on the opening lap and held off late charges from the Equipe Verschuur McLaren. It was the second straight win for the #110 BMW M4 GT4 of the two BMW Motorsport Juniors.

The Silver Cup battle could not be closer after today, with the MDM Motorsport and HHC Motorsport drivers level on points. Will Tregurtha and Stuart Middleton finished the race in fourth place ahead of Simon Knap and Max Koebolt, after Middleton passed the #1 BMW M4 GT4 two laps from the end.

With just one one-hour race left both crews have amassed 143 points. Phoenix Racing’s Milan Dontje and Nicolaj Møller-Madsen are ten points behind, following the exclusion of the PROsport Performance Porsche Cayman PRO4 cars from the race.

Nico Menzel took the lead on the opening lap, beating the #35 CMR Alpine A110 GT4 of Gael Castelli into the first corner. Castelli was given a drive through for an incorrect starting position, ruling the car out of contention for the race win.

Finlay Hutchison in the #10 Equipe Verschuur McLaren 570S GT4, who started the race from the seventh row on the grid, had moved into fourth place by the end of lap 1 and the Scottish driver moved into second place three laps later. He handed over his McLaren to his teammate in second position.

The #110 RN Vision STS BMW M4 GT4 was still leading when Menzel came into the pits on lap 16, handing over to Beitske Visser. Visser then pulled out of the pits as Ricardo van der Ende came across the line and despite his best efforts Van der Ende was unable to catch the BMW in his stint. After 28 laps Visser crossed the line to claim her second win of the season, finishing 1.043s ahead of Van der Ende.

In the closing stages of the race True Racing's Reinhard Kofler closed the gap to Van der Ende and nearly passed the Dutchman, but the Equipe Verschuur driver was able to keep the KTM X-Bow GT4 of the Austrian behind.

Behind the top three, a hard but fair battle between the Silver Cup title contenders resulted in a fourth-place finish for the HHC Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4 of Tregurtha and Middleton. Knap and Koebolt took fifth place with their BMW M4 GT4.

The two PROsport Performance Porsche Cayman PRO4s finished sixth and seventh on the road, ahead of the #5 Phoenix Racing Audi, but a post-race exclusion for both cars resulted in Dontje and Møller-Madsen taking two more points. Dontje was one of several drivers having to serve a penalty during the, after improving his time under yellow, which could prove costly in the end.

LUNGSTRASS CLOSES IN ON PRO-AM TITLE AS LEUTWILER SEALS AM CHAMPIONSHIP

Markus Lungstrass and Jules Szymkowiak claimed their third consecutive victory in the Pro-Am category, scoring valuable points for the drivers’ title as well as the teams’ title. Lungstrass started the race from pole and it was Szymkowiak who took the #77 Racing One Audi R8 LMS GT4 across the line in first place.

3Y Technology drivers Luiz Floss and Jamie Vandenbalck finished the race in second place, 22.747s behind the race winning Audi, while V8 Racing’s Jordan Grogor managed to keep the W&D Racing Team BMW behind to take third in class with the #18 Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R.

Phillip Bethke and Marc Basseng finished the race in eighth place, which gives Lungstrass an 18-point lead ahead of the final race. Basseng, however, will start the final race from pole position.

Nicolas Schöll overcame a drive through penalty to win his third race in a row for Allied-Racing. Porsche Zentrum Oberer Zürichsee by TFT Racing’s Niki Leutwiler took third place, behind the Autorlando Sport Porsche 911 GT4 of Alessandro Giovanelli and Giuseppe Ghezzi. The third-place finish was enough for the Swiss driver to clinch the Am title with one race still remaining, as he now has a 37-point lead over his Italian opponents.

DRIVER QUOTES

Nico Menzel, #110 RN Vision STS BMW M4 GT4: “Going into the race from fourth place, I knew we would have a chance to win. But from the very first moment I was in P1 and I was very much surprised by that. From that moment on I could handle the pace, save the tyres for Beitske and she defended really well against the McLaren in the end.”

Beitske Visser, #110 RN Vision STS BMW M4 GT4: “This was fun. The pace was good, Nico did a great job of saving the tyres. By the end of the race I was struggling a little bit with the tyres and Ricardo came quite close. But I was able to hold him off and am very happy with two wins in a row.”

Markus Lungstrass, #77 Racing One Audi R8 LMS GT4: “It was a tough race. I could keep the first place in Pro-Am as planned and then I handed over to Jules and he did a superb job. He did pretty well, the team did a superb job after we struggled in practice.”

Jules Szymkowiak, #77 Racing One Audi R8 LMS GT4: “The car felt good when I got in, but immediately I kind of lost my confidence and I was fighting it all race because of tyre degradation I tried to stay safe and was happy to take first place.”

Nicolas Schöll, #42 Allied Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 CS MR: “It’s been great. The pace of the car was really good today. It was a bit tricky at the start, but we managed to come back after a drive-through penalty. All in all it’s been amazing and I’m so proud of my team!”

Niki Leutwiler, #222 Porsche Zentrum Oberer Zürichsee by TFT Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 CS MR: “Having won the championship means a lot to us all at Porsche Zentrum Oberer Zürichsee by TFT Racing. I’m happy for everybody who was involved. My engineer, my mechanics, everybody. Their work is really important and it’s an achievement of everybody! We’ll be celebrating a bit tonight.”

RESULTS (PROVISIONAL)

Monza

12 - 14 April 2019

Brands Hatch

4 - 5 May 2019

Paul Ricard

31 May - 2 June 2019

Misano

28 - 30 June 2019

Zandvoort

12 - 14 July 2019

Spa-Francorchamps (Endurance)

19 - 21 July 2019

Nürburgring

30 August - 1 September 2019