Ricardo van der Ende and Max Koebolt have secured their second victory in the 2017 GT4 European Series Northern Cup, with another win at the Red Bull Ring. The Ekris Motorsport drivers drove faultlessly in the sixth round of the season. Eduard Anton scored his first AM class victory, while Luc Braams and Duncan Huisman clinched their second win in the Pro-AM class.
Denis Dupont overtook pole-sitter Arne Hoffmeister right after the start, while Max Koebolt moved into second place coming out of turn 1. With a KTM right on the tail of the #8 Ekris M4 GT4, the #7 Street Art Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT4 was able to open up a small gap to his rival and Dupont maintained the gap to Koebolt until the end of the stint.
On lap nine Lennart Marioneck passed fellow KTM driver Arne Hoffmeister to take third place and shortly after AM class leader Eduard Anton attempted to overtake the #54 RYS Team Pankl KTM X-Bow GT4 as well. However, the Romanian braked too late and spun the #11 Sofia Car Motorsport by BADI Sin R1 GT4.
When the pit window opened Dupont still had the overall and Silver Cup lead. Gabriele Piana, driving the #111 RN Vision STS Porsche Cayman CS MR GT4, was leading the Pro-AM class, ahead of the #22 Allied-Racing Porsche Cayman CS MR GT4 of Jan Kasperlik and the #9 Las Moras Racing McLaren 570S GT4. Despite his spin, Eduard Anton was still in the lead of the AM class, ahead of the #94 KTM X-Bow GT4 of Achim Mörtl and the #77 Scuderia Villorba Corse Maserati Gran Turismo GT4 of Giuseppe Fascicolo.
Koebolt was the first to pit of the two overall leaders at the end of lap 15, with Denis Dupont opting to stay out for two more laps. Dupont’s team mate Jerome Demay came out right in front of the #8 Ekris M4 GT4, but on the run down to turn 3 Ricardo van der Ende overtook the Aston Martin and moved into the lead. From there on the former GT4 champion was able to stretch his lead, eventually finishing 18 seconds clear of the #7 Street Art Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT4.
After being passed by Van der Ende, Demay lost another position to #14 RYS Team KTM driver Reinhard Kofler, but the Austrian was given a drive-through and dropped down the order again. After 30 laps Demay crossed the line to take second place overall and in the Silver Cup, almost a second ahead of the third-placed Silver Cup entrant, the #34 RYS Team Kiska KTM X-Bow GT4 of Lennart Marioneck and Gottfried Pilz.
Fourth overall and winning the AM class was Eduard Anton, who was able to stretch his lead over the second placed #77 Scuderia Villorba Corse Maserati GranTurismo MC GT4 to over 18 seconds. Giuseppe Ghezzi and Alessandro Giovanelli (#76 Autorlando Sport Porsche 911 GT4) finished the second race of the weekend in third place, benefiting from a penalty for RYS Team Schönramer / Racecom driver Achim Mörtl. A pit lane speed infringement resulted in a drive through for the Austrian, which dropped out of the top three and ultimately finished fourth in class.
Luc Braams and Duncan Huisman scored their second win of the weekend and finished fifth overall, despite losing nine places just after the start, when another competitor spun in front of him. Braams recovered most of the lost ground, before handing over to Huisman. Huisman ultimately made it all the way up to fifth place with the #9 Las Moras Racing McLaren 570S GT4. Andy Meyrick and Stephen Pattrick gave Bullitt Racing its second podium finish of the weekend by finishing second in the #33 McLaren 570S GT4. Like Huisman, Meyrick fought his way past several rivals, showing the pace of the McLaren in Austria. Allied-Racing drivers Jan Kasperlik and Timothy Stupple finished third in Pro-AM, scoring the second podium finish of the weekend for the German team, with former race leaders RN Vision STS finishing fourth in class.
Ricardo van der Ende (#8 Ekris Motorsport Ekris M4 GT4): “This is really great! We made some setup changes after Brands Hatch and the car worked extremely well from the moment it rolled from the transporter. Winning twice, was something we really didn’t expect and is unbelievable. It looks like it will be our year. We are perhaps not the fastest, but right now we are the best!”
Max Koebolt (#8 Ekris Motorsport Ekris M4 GT4): “We didn’t do any crazy things and made no mistakes, while others did. I started the race, moved into second place. I had some pressure from behind, so the Aston was able to pull away. The gap was some three seconds, but towards the end of my stint he made some mistakes and I kept pushing to close the gap. I lost some time when a backmarker moved in front of me. But I brought it into the pits in second place and Ricardo managed to win it for us!”
Eduard Anton (#11 Sofia Car Motorsport by BADI Sin R1 GT4): “It was a really hard race, because I got stuck in a group of five cars and had quite some pressure from the back. But, I managed to overtake them. With the help of my team, as we had a good strategy, we did it and I won!”
Luc Braams (#9 Las Moras Racing McLaren 570S GT4): “It was a nice race. I had some bad luck in turn 2, when a KTM stopped right in front of me and I lost some nine places. I then got into the rhythm and overtook six of them again and, like yesterday, Duncan did the rest. I’m really proud!”
Duncan Huisman (#9 Las Moras Racing McLaren 570S GT4): “After we got some extra weight and had to increase the ride-height last night, the car felt better than yesterday! The car felt perfect, the tyres were perfect and I was able to do some consistent laps. A 100% score, so I am really satisfied!”
The next round of the GT4 European Series Northern Cup will take place at the Slovakiaring in Orechová Potôň, Slovakia (July 14-16).
Source. SRO Motorsport Group