The second race weekend of the 2017 GT4 European Series Northern Cup was another success. With a total of 31 entries at Brands Hatch, the paddock in Fawkham was packed again. Charlie Robertson and Tom Hibbert, driving the #100 Ginetta G55 GT4, won on their debut, but they weren’t the only ones having successful outings last weekend.
North meets South
The second round of the GT4 European Series Northern Cup was also the first race that counts towards the GT4 European Series overall title, resulting in a number of GT4 European Series Southern Cup teams making the trip to Great Britain.
CMR, which entered a Ginetta G55 GT4 at the last minute for Soheil Ayari and Nyls Stievenart, finished fifth in Race 2 and team owner Charly Bourachot liked what he had seen.
“We really had a blast in Brands Hatch last weekend in the GT4 European Series Northern Cup,” said Bourachot. “It was a different experience in terms of atmosphere and logistics and we thoroughly enjoyed the cool and relaxed vibe that permeated the whole event. Max Braams does a really good job and his organization is very straightforward.”
“On the sporting side, we worked really hard and had a lot of fun on track with Soheil and Nyls. We had such a great time that we’re keen to come back for the other two rounds counting towards the overall title in Zandvoort and the Nürburgring, if not do all the other Northern Cup race weekends as well,” Bourachot added.
Energy by ART ran a single Porsche Cayman Clubsport MR GT4 at Brands Hatch for Alain Ferté and Grégoire Demoustier and like Bourachot, ART team manager Georges Kaczka was impressed by what he saw. “Coming to Brands Hatch and competing as part of the global GT4 European Series championship was quite an experience,” Kaczka said.
“We were warmly welcomed by the GT4 European Series Northern Cup and there was a good atmosphere among all the teams. Racing wise, Alain and Grégoire both told me that the field was quite competitive, so we’re looking forward to coming back for Zandvoort and the Nürburgring later this year.”
“I was very happy to return to Brands Hatch, which is really a cool track,” added Demoustier. “Then, the racing in the GT4 European Series Northern Cup is quite intense and we had some great on-track battles.”
TFT Racing’s Ander Vilarino loved racing at Brands Hatch, despite not finishing Race 2. “Fans in Brands Hatch are great, some people came with pictures of my previous wins there in other series and I found that cool. The marshals and workers of the track are great too, it is obvious that this track has held many races of many kinds, they’ve got a lot of experience.”
Niki and I are very motivated and hope to keep improving in the setup of the car with the TFT team. Now we go back to southern cup races, in two weeks we will be at Pau where Northern Cup teams will come and it is scheduled for us to come back to the Northern Cup at Zandvoort.”
Gostner beats the boys on her own!
Just under two weeks before her birthday, Scuderia Villorba Corse driver Manuela Gostner gave herself a very nice present by winning the AM class in Race 2 at Brands Hatch. The 32-year-old Italian is the only driver competing solo, making her achievement in her second weekend in the series even more remarkable.
“At the end of my second stint my team continued to tell me I was third. The SIN car overtook me, but ended up in the gravel and my team then told me I was second. I then saw two Maserati’s in front of me and one of them had a problem with its tyre, but I wasn’t able to see if it was a PRO or AM car that had to retire,” said Gostner.
“When the safety car came out again I could see that the Maserati in front of me was a PRO car. Although my team didn’t tell me my position, I was pretty sure I was first! I knew I had to keep the Porsche behind and my only thought was: push push push! I cannot describe how happy I am about this victory. It’s not just my first victory in this series, but my first podium at all!”
Gostner knows how difficult it is to race solo, but she is happy with the support of the Scuderia Villorba Corse team.
“I think for me, as I’ve only been racing for two years, it’s quite hard and challenging in an emotional and physical way. It would be much easier to share the car with a PRO driver who gives me a benchmark. Fortunately Giorgio Sernagiotto is a great coach and he helps me a lot even from outside the car,” she said.
“The GT4 European Series Northern Cup is an awesome series with lots of different cars, a high number of participants, a great organization and incredible race tracks like Brands Hatch, which has become my favorite track. I only drove in single brand championships, without pit stops and without strategy, which is why the GT4 European Series is so exciting for me.”
Mixed fortunes for Academy Motorsport
Ginetta and Aston Martin had been strong at Brands Hatch in the past in the British GT Championship and this GT4 European Series Northern Cup weekend they showed that again. Ginetta won both races, but the Academy Motorsport Aston Martins showed their strength in Race 2, following a disastrous Race 1 in which both cars ended up in the gravel trap.
Starting Race 2 from 7th and 20th place on the grid, Academy Motorsport took third and fourth in Race 2. Dave Robinson and Mike Hart nearly made it to the podium, only to be beaten by their teammates Matt Nicoll-Jones and William Moore.
“It was 12 months since my last competitive outing, my first time in a GT4 car and a 20th place start was transformed into a near podium result after an action-packed race, a great opening stint by Mike and many on-track overtakes. A mega result! Now let’s hope we can get another outing in the series later in the year,” said Robinson.
Strong run unrewarded for Sean Walkinshaw Racing
On Saturday Romain Sarazin was not a happy man, after problems in qualifying meant he had to start from the back of the grid. However, the NISMO Athlete and his teammate Charlie Fagg didn’t give up and Sarazin even managed to fight for victory in Race 2, but a penalty cost him a shot at victory.
“Our performance with the Sean Walkinshaw Racing team this weekend was exceptional, but we were not rewarded. If we would have had some luck on our side, we would surely have fought for two podiums,” said Sarazin, who made his way back from 28th place to fourth place in Race 1.
“It was a positive weekend after all and I think we will be battling for the GT4 European Series Northern Cup title at the end of the season.”
Successful debut for Besagroup Racing Team
Besagroup Racing Team made its debut in the series at Brands Hatch and the Porsche Cayman CS MR GT4 of Franjo Kovac and Cora Schumacher finished fifth and third in the two races on Sunday, exceeding Kovac’ expectations.
“It was a very good event and a challenging competition among a top level driver field. I enjoyed it very much. Of course many things were new to us and because of our late entry it was sometimes in a way like practicing. So finishing third in class in the second race was already more than what we hoped for. Now we are looking forward to the next events, especially to the upcoming event at the Red Bull Ring,” said Kovac.
“It was quite a good experience to race at Brands Hatch. It was my first race after three years and I can say it wasn’t really easy without testing, in a new car and with such a strong field of drivers. But I really enjoyed it, I learnt a lot and would like to learn more. To finish on the podium really was a surprise and I am looking forward to the other races this season,” added Schumacher.
Next race: Red Bull Ring
The teams and drivers of the GT4 European Series Northern Cup will now start their preparation for the third round of the season, which takes place June 9-11 at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. The Red Bull Ring hosted a GT4 European Series round once before, in June 2015. The races will be broadcasted live on north.gt4series.com/live.
Source. SRO Motorsports Group/Photo. John Patterson