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JONATHAN HUI EXTENDS ENDURANCE CUP CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD WITH PODIUM FINISH AT THE NURBURGRING

It was a monumental race weekend for Jonathan Hui and the Sky Tempesta Racing team as they went into Nurburgring as Endurance Cup Pro-Am team championship leaders in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS. After a strong team effort, the team took their first class pole position in the 4th race of the 5-race 2021 season. The Hong Kong driver took control of the #93 Ferrari 488 GT3 along with teammates Chris Froggatt from the UK and Italian Rino Mastronardi to produce a stellar drive after an early pitstop setback. Despite being briefly demoted from the lead to P6, the team fought their way back to P2 in the closing stages of the race and extended their advantage in the championship standings.

The penultimate round of the GT World Challenge Europe season concluded at the world-famous Nurburgring GP Circuit in Germany on Sunday. Mastronardi started the race as the leading car in the Pro-Am class after a dominant performance in qualifying. Despite pitting from 2nd in class, a pit stop issue cost Sky Tempesta more than 20 seconds and dropped them down the order and out of the podium spots. Hui had his work cut out as he jostled to make up for the lost time in the middle stint. He managed to extend his time at the wheel as part of a strategic call to overcut the cars in front before he handed the #93 Ferrari over to Froggatt. It was a chaotic last stint with multiple Safety Cars and Full-Course-Yellows being waved, producing a dramatic last 10 minutes, which allowed the Brit to recover and finish to P2.

Combined Qualifying Result – P1 in Pro-Am Class (Avg: 1:55.909)
#93 Sky Tempesta Racing Ferrari 488 GT3
Jonathan Hui | Chris Froggatt | Rino Mastronardi

2021 3 Hours of Nurburgring – Race Recap
The Nurburgring Circuit is arguably one of the most historic racing tracks for motorsport events across the world. On Sunday, 43 cars lined up to battle it out at the 5.1km Grand Prix circuit which hosted the 2020 FIA Formula 1 Eifel Grand Prix. GT World Challenge Europe 2021 is officially in its closing stages with just one event remaining for the Sprint and Endurance championships. Sky Tempesta Racing came into the weekend high on confidence after taking the class lead in the Endurance championship in Spa Francorchamps at the start of August this year.

Hui and Mastronardi immediately showed impressive pace, going half a second quicker than anybody in the Bronze Test. However, Sky Tempesta Racing struggled to show the same dominance over longer runs, as evidenced by the Free Practice session. Determined to make the most of their single-lap pace, the trio strung together excellent lap times and managed to qualify P1 in the Pro-Am class for the relatively short 3-hour endurance.

The #93 Ferrari came under immediate pressure from Baumann in the #20 Mercedes-AMG, battling for the class lead for the good part of the first hour, having been stuck behind a train of cars ahead. Mastronardi did an amazing job managing the pace, only losing 1st place to Baumann shortly before the first pit stop, where he handed the car to Hui.

Unfortunately, Sky Tempesta Racing had a slow pit stop after refuelling was compromised by a sister car which allowed chasing Pro-Am cars to jump the Ferrari and not only rob the class lead but also push the car out of the podium spots. With 20 seconds lost, Hui maintained his spot in P4 for about an hour before conceding to the Pro drivers piloting the #52 Ferrari and #77 Lamborghini towards the end of the 2-hour mark. Switching up the strategy for the final stages, the 43-year old Hong Kong racer went longer in the middle stint in an attempt to overcut the competition.

The overcut worked for Sky Tempesta Racing, with Hui handing the car to Froggatt on fresh tyres and coming out ahead of the #52 Ferrari in P5. Froggatt was released with only 45 minutes to go and allowed to push harder, pressurizing the cars in front. The final stages of the race were suddenly livened up with yellow flags followed by 2 Safety Car periods which bunched the field up together. The #93 Ferrari was in prime position to pounce on the cars in front with more grip on fresher tyres.

Making steady progress, Froggatt overtook 2 Pro-Am class cars and put Sky Tempesta Racing back into the podium spots. The Pro-Am classification was looking to finish with #93 in P3 and less than 7 minutes left. Yet, there was another twist in the tale, as the leading #69 Mercedes-AMG ran wide at the final chicane and went through the gravel trap. The mistake allowed the chasing #19 Lamborghini of Phil Keen and #93 Ferrari of Froggatt to sweep past and assume the top 2 spots, leaving Schiller with P3. Froggatt brought the car home after a characteristic comeback charge taking a well deserved second podium finish of the season.

Following the strong P2 finish, Sky Tempesta Racing came away from the weekend with 19 points and extended their championship lead in the Endurance Cup Pro-Am class from 17 to 19 points. They are in the driver’s seat with just one race left in the season to see out the championship title. The Endurance Cup will conclude in Barcelona at the start of October, where the champion will be finally crowned. 

Race Result – P1 in Pro-Am Class
#93 Sky Tempesta Racing Ferrari 488 GT3
Jonathan Hui | Chris Froggatt | Rino Mastronardi

Jonathan Hui

“This was a hard-earned result and we can be proud of what we’ve achieved. Going into this weekend, we were devastated to learn that our regular star driver Eddie Cheever would not be permitted to join our lineup. Thankfully, we were able to recruit the highly experienced racer Rino Mastronardi, winner of the 24 Hours of Spa in Pro-Am, to keep our championship hopes alive. For the 2nd year in a row, we had a problem in the pit stops, this time losing us 20 seconds. It was flat out driving to try and claw back the lost time, and I must say that both Rino and Chris did amazing

Source. CBR Media

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