Stefan Rosina and Filip Sladecka made True Racing by Reiter Engineering’s home race dreams come true with victory in the Fanatec GT2 European Series’ first ever outing at the Red Bull Ring.
The Slovakian duo kept their cool amid a dramatic and incident-packed first 50-minute race of the weekend to take a comfortable win in front of the team’s home crowd in Austria.
The pole-sitting #16 crew took command after the pitstop window, overtaking the #88 LP Racing Audi which had jumped to the order following confusion under the safety car required after an opening lap incident. After a stellar opening stint by Sladecka, who only joined the team this weekend to stand in for Sehdi Sarmini, Rosina continued unchallenged to take his first win since Spa last year.
In the Am battle, Henry Hassid spoiled KTM’s intensions of a 1-2 finish on home soil. The Frenchman managed to overhaul class polesitter Klaus Angerhofer heading into the final 10 minutes to take LP Racing’s second class win of the season.
Peter Guelinckx and Bert Longin finished third after steadily climbing the order from ninth on the grid, maintaining their 100 per cent podium record so far this season.
First race thrills at the Red Bull Ring
The Fanatec GT2 European Series’ first race in Austria was a dramatic one, with thrills and spills from the start. Although the grid initially got clean away, contact in the mid-field heading up to turn one caused a domino effect which pitched Aurelijus Rusteika’s High Class Racing Audi into the barriers and brought a premature end to Kris Rosenberger’s home race in the #15 KTM.
Whilst the safety car led the field through the pit lane to allow the track to be cleared, confusion for the #88 car meant Diego Alessi continued on track, leaving the LP Racing Audi in the lead when racing resumed 10-minutes later. A stop-go penalty would later rectify the order after the pitstops, reinstating KTM to the top spot.
In the meantime, the battle raged in the mid pack, Gianluca Giorgi making gains from his seventh-place grid start to overhaul Angerhofer for the Am class lead and third overall. Not far behind, things got a bit too close for the SPS Automotive Performance Mercedes-AMG GT Track Series invitational entry with Stephane Ratel and Nicolas Saelens’s PK Carsport Audi making contact in turn five just ahead of the pitstop window.
Once the pitstops played out, the real racing order was established, with Rosina – now in the lead KTM able to make good his escape – but the order was far from set behind him. Although a well-timed late pitstop returned the #17 KTM to second spot, Hubert Trunkenpolz came under growing pressure from the four-car train of Hassid, Anders Fjordbach in the Brabham BT63 GT2, Giorgi’s Porsche and Bert Longin’s Audi.
The final 15-minutes of the race was almost as intense as the start, with Hassid making his move stick to regain the Am lead, and the pursuing pack followed suit demoting Trunkenpolz to sixth. But with the Brabham still to serve a penalty that would drop the #1 car down to finish ninth, the fight for third between Giorgi and Longin Sr went down to the wire – a late-breaking move into turn four eventually securing the spot for PK Carsport.
Series newcomers, Horst Felbermayr Jr and Reinhard Kofler opened their Fanatec GT2 European Series account with third in Pro-Am, pipping the Ebi Motors Porsche for fourth overall, whilst Trunkenpolz held onto sixth to complete the Am-class podium.
Leonardo Gorini finished seventh in the LP Racing Porsche ahead of the recovering #88 Audi, with Bernd Schneider bringing the Mercedes home tenth overall.
The Fanatec GT2 European Series action continues with race two tomorrow scheduled for 11:15 CEST, streamed live on the series website and GT World You Tube channel.
Source. SRO Motorsports Group