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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Wiebelhaus untouchable as Heyer and Härtling win title 

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The opening dash on Saturday afternoon proved a washout as heavy rain thwarted two makes an attempt to get the race going. However with 5 laps accomplished behind the protection automobile, a end result was referred to as, half-points had been awarded and that meant SR Motorsport’s Härtling and Heyer had been confirmed because the 2024 GTWS champions – in unusual circumstances. 

Qualifying had been cancelled earlier within the day, so the grid was shaped from apply instances from the pre-weekend check periods. That meant Piotr Wira led the sphere from pole place in Goodspeed Racing Crew’s Mercedes AMG GT3 Evo from a security automobile begin. However hopes of releasing the sphere for racing had been scuppered when Martin Kacsmarski – a dash race winner at MotorLand Aragón per week earlier – beached his PTT Racing Mercedes in a gravel entice on the second security automobile lap. 

The sector retired to the pitlane however had been later launched for a second try, just for the incessant rain to pressure the organisers to throw the purple flags as soon as once more and name the end result, with Wira a nominal winner. Härtling had run second within the security automobile prepare, and his rating wrapped up the title. 

“It feels a bit unusual after immediately as a result of we didn’t do one thing for it,” stated Heyer. “Nevertheless it’s half-points so it’s sufficient. Later we’ll realise it’s been an extended wintertime with quite a lot of races. This rocket man with me right here has been going quicker and quicker each weekend, and for me, as an {old} man, it’s been wonderful to see. In a number of hours, it’s going to have an effect on us, however proper now it feels a bit unusual.” 

“It’s an unimaginable feeling to grow to be champion,” stated Härtling, “as a result of it’s the primary for me in a GT3 automobile, and with Kenneth, now we have been an excellent pairing. I’m very joyful. In the present day it has been a little bit bit bizarre, however I’m grateful for all of this to the Schnitzelalm workforce. Tomorrow we’ll push to win the 2 races.” 

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A grid shaped by apply instances set in combined situations left some frontrunners out of place in a dry second dash on Sunday morning. However Haupt Racing’s Wiebelhaus wasted no time in charging to the entrance, selecting the within line from third on the rolling begin to lead into Flip 1. The 17-year-old then merely drove away from the sphere. 

New co-champion Härtling was again within the SR Motorsport Mercedes and ran second till an issue left him briefly stranded on the finish of the pit straight. Härtling coaxed the automobile again to the pits and the workforce ultimately despatched him again out, however the hassle with the Mercedes persevered. 

Wiebelhaus held a 13-second benefit over 2023 champion Johannes Kapfinger within the Joos Sportwagentechnik Porsche 992 GT3 R, however his large hole was worn out by a security automobile interlude. Race 1 ‘winner’ Wira had come along with the Rinaldi Racing Ferrari 296 GT3 pushed by Pierre Ehret. 

Racing resumed with 4 minutes of the 30 left on the clock, and Wiebelhaus once more charged away as his Haupt team-mate Kwanda Mokoena – up from 14th on the grid – demoted Kapfinger, who then got here below stress from the Schnitzelalm Mercedes of Luca Arnold. However the race was stopped abruptly by a heavy accident at Flip 9 for the AF Corse Ferrari 488 Problem entry of Talal Shair, who fortunately walked away from the wreck which left detritus strewn throughout the monitor. 

“The tempo was fairly good and the beginning was additionally superb,” stated an understated Wiebelhaus after his sixth win of the winter season. “I made a decision to ship it into Flip 1 and it labored out fairly effectively, then I made a decision to push a bit. Mid-race I attempted to handle the hole after which there was a security automobile. The restart was fairly good as effectively, earlier than the purple flag. The primary factor is the driving force is OK.” 

“That was tremendous enjoyable,” stated second-placed Mokoena. “There was a little bit of standing water at Flip 1, so I used to be capable of capitalise in my battle with Kapfinger and I noticed a possibility going into Flip 3. In the beginning, I might really feel the monitor wasn’t pretty much as good because it was on Friday however I made probably the most out of it. There was loads of pleasure within the first laps, so I made a decision to remain cool after which when there was a spot I went for it.” 

Amaury Bonduel took the Lamborghini Tremendous Trofeo class honours in fifth general, simply forward of Simon Birch’s novel KTM X-Bow GT2. Dieter Svepes gained the Porsche Cup class for Racar in eighth general, with John Dhillon the perfect of the Ferrari Problem runners. 


The 55-minute endurance race on the finish of Sunday afternoon was neutralised from the primary lap when Mertel Motorsport’s Ferrari 488 Problem entry pushed by Tommaso Lovati and Stefano Marazzi’s Rossocorsa Racing Ferrari 296 GT3 got here collectively, with Plusline Racing Crew’s Marcel van Berlo incomes a drive-through penalty because the perpetrator of the incident. Wiebelhaus and Haupt team-mate Mokoena had efficiently repelled first-corner challenges from Bonduel’s Lamborghini and Michael Kapfinger’s Porsche to guide the prepare, with racing resuming on lap six. 

From there, the race ran via with out additional interruption, as Wiebelhaus calmly delivered his seventh victory out of 9 begins within the GTWS. He led residence Mokoena by a powerful 18.585s, with twins Johannes and Michael Kapfinger chasing the second Haupt Mercedes residence simply 1.8s down of their Porsche.  

However post-race Mokoena picked up a penalty for crossing the pit exit white line, which dropped him to fifth general, selling the Kapfinger brothers to second place. 

Härtling ran the primary stint for SR Motorsport earlier than handing over to Heyer, but it surely wasn’t to be a cheerful ending for the champions. Daan Arrow within the Goodspeed Mercedes caught Heyer within the closing levels and relieved him of what was ultimately third place after Mokoena’s penalty, with a dive down the within at Flip 10. 

Bonduel took one other Lamborghini Tremendous Trofeo class win in sixth general, whereas Hubert Darmetko shared his PTT Racing Porsche with Mateusz Lisowski to assert GT3 Cup honours. Dhillon, sharing with skilled Ferrari racer Matt Griffin, once more gained the 488 Problem class, with a well-known identify cropping up within the JVO Racing entry. Ex-Method 1 driver Timo Glock completed runner-up within the class with Frank Kewitz.

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