4 out of 4 in GTS | But trouble in LMP and GT class
Last weekend, the NEO Endurance Series head over to the 4th round on the Nürburgring. Let´s read through the different views of our Teams:
Strategical master stroke sealed 4th win in the 4th race of the season in the GTS class:
The GTS Audi R8 LMS had another great NEO weekend. Starting from P2 next to MSP-Drivers-home’s car on pole piloted by Lukas Jestädt, it was Patrick Pichler’s job to save fuel and keep the field together at the same team. The strategy was to do the 6h in only 5 stints, so it was necessary to perform a passive driving style while not losing too much time to the other GTS cars.
Patrick managed to keep second position behind the very fast Jestädt in his first and only stint of the race. During the second and third stint it was Jonas Wallmeiers duty to do the two 38-lap-stints, that were required for the strategy. Fuel saving made lap times slower and MSP gained a lead of about 30 seconds but it was obvious that they were on a 5-stop-strategy and will lose about 35 to 37 seconds with their last pit stop.
Maximilian Wenig had to drive the last two stints and keep the gap to MSP in order to take the win. But it turned out differently: MSP spun in their fourth stint and collided with our GT Aston Martin in turn six some laps later. The contact damaged the steering of Julian Grünastel’s Audi and made it impossible for them to keep up their pace. The gap decreased rapidly and Maximilian even managed to overtake them before their last pit stop. Still the team felt confident about a win, even without MSP’s issues. 4 out of 4 describes the successful weekend and with 80 points Patrick, Jonas and Maximilian feel comfortable for the last two races.
Uneventful first laps but a good result in the end for our LMP Black team:
With P7 in the grid our LMP Black effort was in for a hard one, as they had troubles finding the right setup adjustments and started with a less than optimal car configuration. The start was rather uneventful and pretty clean from our perspective, we could keep up with the train that lasted up to P3 for a while with Patrick overtaking the TeamGT HPD entry pretty early for P6. Up to the first pitstop the train of 4 cars stretched out, with Mivano and Team Chimera opting for earlier pitstops then us and the Friction Simsport HPD.
We came out of the pits in P6 with Chimera and Friction directly in front of us. Unfortunately though we lost Friction Simsport because we got involved in a fight with Jack Keithley in the #24 Team Chimera HPD which cost us a lot of time. Ended up having to let Jack go as our car was very understeery through fast corners and with draft we ended up shredding our tires. The 2nd round of pitstops saw Mivano and Chimera once again pit earlier than us.
While most of the teams already switched out their starting driver for a fresh driver, Patrick stayed in the car for another 2 stints which were rather uneventful with us having to save a bit of fuel in the 4th hour. At the 4th pitstop Patrick finally got his well deserved rest as Denis climbed into our #12 HPD. He had some troubles in his first stint as he couldn’t find his rhythm which resulted in very close and dangerous situations such as a 3wide into the Advan-Bogen with the #64 Fenix Corvette and the by then lapped #24 Chimera HPD which resulted in a warning for us.
About 20 minutes later there was another close call as Denis tried to overtake the #74 TeamGT Audi in the Michael Schumacher-S, with the Audi having to go offtrack to avoid a collision which resulted in us getting another warning which meant we had to serve a Stop and Go penalty, which put us in a bad spot because we had to pit a lap earlier than planned because otherwise we would have run out of fuel as we’re not allowed to do a pitstop while serving a penalty. The last stint then was all about bringing the car home, some close moments occurred again but nothing we had to worry about, other than our fuel going dangerously low in the last few laps which meant we had to save fuel to ultimately bring home P5 with about 0.1kg of fuel left in the tank.
A little ray of hope, but a mistake in the worst position in our GT class:
In this race our GT1 lineup changed and Marc E. competed in addition to Laurin H. On Saturday Laurin H. struggeled to set fast laptimes in the cold weather conditions with only 18 degree track temperature. In the end it was only 12th place for our Aston Martin DBR9. Starting in the mid of the field both drivers were happy about the warmer asphalt on Sunday. Laurin H. did his job in the first laps of the race and kept the car without damage. He also started to save fuel so we could stay on the track for two additional laps.
After two stints the team got penalised due to an incident on pit entry with a prototype car. That meant a 15 second longer pit stop. Marc E. did a great job in saving fuel for four extra laps while he could still manage to gain time compared to the top 5. After his two stints Laurin H. found himself on the 4th postion in class, but on the outlap he had an unlucky contact with the MSP-Drivers-Home Audi R8 LMS so the team got penalised again with a 15 second stop&hold penalty. The team could still manage to end the race on P6 because both drivers saved fuel for a total of 10 laps.
Watch the full race here (broadcasted by RacespotTV on iRacingLive):