CMR drivers Stéphane Tribaudini and Pierre-Alexandre Jean set the pace in Saturday’s qualifying sessions at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit.
The two French drivers, driving the brand new Alpine A110 GT4, were fastest in their respective sessions.
Racing One’s Markus Lungstrass and Bullitt Racing’s Andy Meyrick claimed the Pro-Am poles for this weekend’s races, with Muehlner Motorsport’s Moritz Kranz and CMR’s David Loger setting the fastest times in the Am qualifying sessions.
Qualifying 1: CMR Alpine Fastest, Muehlner & Racing One Claim Class Poles
Having already set the fastest time on Friday, the CMR Alpine A110 GT4s were on the pace again in Qualifying and it was Stéphane Tribaudini in the #35 Alpine A110 GT4 who set the fastest lap in the 15-minute session.
The 34-year-old French driver set the fastest time of the session with just over a minute left on the clock, in a session that once again saw many drivers exceeding track limits at the top of the Raidillon. However, Tribaudini wouldn’t start Sunday’s opening race from the front row, as he would serve a three-place grid penalty given to him after an incident at the Misano World Circuit.
Guest starter Moritz Kranz in the Am-class entered #69 Muehlner Motorsport Porsche Cayman GT4 CS MR was the fastest driver in the first part of the session, but the eventually qualified his car in fourth place overall and on class pole.
First to beat Kranz’ time was Team GT’s Paul Rees and moments later HHC Motorsport’s Will Tregurtha went even faster. Behind them Tribaudini went for it again and right before the end he clocked a 2:32.073 in his car. Paul Rees was then forced to park the #87 Team GT McLaren 570S GT4 with a damaged tyre, which led to a yellow flag and no further improvements.
Finlay Hutchison qualified the #10 Equipe Verschuur McLaren 570S GT4 in fifth place, ahead of the #16 Racing One Audi R8 LMS GT4 of Markus Lungstrass, who claimed the Pro-Am pole position. Silver Cup title contender Milan Dontje qualified his Phoenix Racing Audi in seventh overall, followed by the #47 Lechner Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 of Jakob Schober, the #1 MDM Motorsport BMW M4 GT4 and the #31 Selleslagh Racing Team Mercedes AMG GT4.
Luiz Floss ultimately came out in second place in Pro-Am, with Phoenix Racing’s Gosia Rdest in third place. Niki Leutwiler ended the session second in Am, followed by Autorlando Sport driver Giuseppe Ghezzi.
Qualifying 2: CMR Alpines Take Silver Cup and Am Poles, Bullitt Racing AMG First In Pro-Am
In Qualifying 2 there was more of the same, with a large number of lap times deleted for exceeding track limits and CMR’s Pierre-Alexandre Jean making it two from two in Qualifying for the #35 CMR Alpine A110 GT4.
The young French driver’s fastest lap of 2:31.916 was the fastest time set so far and it was 0.196s quicker than the time set by Stuart Middleton in the #55 HHC Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4. Right behind Middleton it was his rival Nicolaj Møller-Madsen in the Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS GT4.
Fourth-fastest overall and fastest in the Am class was David Loger in the #27 CMR Alpine A110 GT4. Ricardo van der Ende (Equipe Verschuur – McLaren) and Andy Meyrick (Bullitt Racing – Mercedes) completed the top six, with Meyrick claiming the Pro-Am pole for Sunday’s second race.
Nicky Pastorelli qualified the #18 V8 Racing Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R in second place in the Pro-Am class. Pastorelli was only a couple of hundredths quicker than his former teammate, Marc Basseng in the #13 Schwede Motorsport Porsche Cayman GT4 CS MR. In the AM class second place went to Allied-Racing’s Nicolas Schöll, while Niki Leutwiler set the third-fastest time in his class.
Phoenix Racing driver Cedric Freiburghaus went off the track towards the end of Qualifying 2, causing extensive damage to the #3 Audi R8 LMS GT4. The Swiss driver walked away unscathed, but his team will have some work to fix the car for tomorrow’s races.
Stéphane Tribaudini, #35 CMR Alpine A110 GT4: “It is really great to be fastest. Last week we raced the Alpine in the French championship and we had two bad qualifying sessions because of some problems. Normally, we would have had a win on the first race, but we had a puncture. So this is a great for us and we’re really happy. Unfortunately, I will only start from fourth on the grid as I had an accident at Misano. It’s a bit unlucky, but fourth is much better than the last races.”
Pierre-Alexander Jean, #35 CMR Alpine A110 GT4: “It was a great quali. I am quite happy about my lap, it’s my first pole position in this championship. I was very close in Zolder, so it’s good to have a pole position on this track!”
Phoenix Racing and CMR were victorious in the two GT4 European Series races at Spa-Francorchamps on Sunday.
Nicolaj Møller-Madsen and Milan Dontje won the opening race in the morning before Stéphane Tribaudini and Pierre-Alexandre Jean gave the Alpine A110 GT4 its first international victory in the second race of the weekend. Class victories in the two races went to Racing One and Bullitt Racing in Pro-Am and TFT Racing and Muehlner Motorsport in the Am category.
Race 1: Phoenix Racing Take The Win
Phoenix Racing drivers Milan Dontje and Nicolaj Møller-Madsen won the first of the two GT4 European Series races at Spa-Francorchamps. A faultless performance by the winners of the opening races at Zolder and Brands Hatch resulted in their third victory of the season. Racing One and Porsche Zentrum Oberer Zürichsee by TFT Racing claimed class victories at Spa-Francorchamps.
HHC Motorsport’s Will Tregurtha started the race from pole position, but the Ginetta driver dropped to fourth on the opening lap, with Team GT driver Paul Rees taking the overall lead, ahead of Muehlner Motorsport’s Moritz Kranz and CMR driver Stéphane Tribaudini.
Rees was able to keep Kranz and Tribaudini behind until the pit window opened, but shortly after the first drivers came into the pits for their mandatory stop Rees’ McLaren 570S GT4 suffered a puncture. This handed the lead to the #69 Muehlner Motorsport Porsche Cayman GT4 CS MR of Kranz.
After the pit window had closed, Kranz was seven seconds clear of Nicolaj Møller-Madsen, who had benefited from a faultless run by teammate Milan Dontje and a trouble-free pit stop of his Phoenix Racing team. Kranz, however, was given a 1-second stop and go penalty for a too short pit stop and when he came in to serve it, Møller-Madsen moved into the lead, followed by the #10 Equipe Verschuur McLaren 570S GT4 of Ricardo van der Ende and the #1 MDM Motorsport BMW M4 GT4 of Max Koebolt.
Møller-Madsen went on to take the overall and Silver cup race win and the Dane was followed home by Van der Ende in second place. CMR’s Pierre-Alexandre Jean overtook Koebolt on lap 20 to take third in class and overall, while Stuart Middleton took valuable points with fourth place. The #22 TrueRacing KTM X-Bow GT4 finished fifth in class, ahead of the #1 MDM Motorsport BMW and the #103 PROsport Performance Porsche Cayman PRO4.
Racing One Win Pro-Am; Leutwiler Claims Am Victory
In Pro-Am, Racing One drivers Markus Lungstrass and Hamza Owega secured their second win of the 2018 season with the #16 Audi R8 LMS GT4. Lungstrass started the race and Owega finished it, crossing the line 10 seconds before the #112 RN Vision STS BMW M4 GT4 of Miguel Cristovao and Pavel Lefterov.
The RN Vision STS BMW had been behind the #38 3Y Technology BMW M4 GT4 after the pit window had closed but took the position when the French car had to serve a penalty. Third place went to the #13 Schwede Motorsport Porsche Cayman GT4 CS MR of Marc Basseng and Phillip Bethke. The Pro-Am points leaders got third place after the #43 Allied-Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 CS MR was given a drive through for exceeding the track limits late in the race.
Porsche Zentrum Oberer Zürichsee by TFT Racing driver Niki Leutwiler got maximum points in the Am class, by winning the opening race of the weekend. The Swiss driver was in second place for most of the race, but a stop and go penalty for Muehlner Motorsport driver Moritz Kranz handed Leutwiler the race lead and victory. Kranz finished the race in second place, with ERC Sport’s Egidio Perfetti and Katarina Kyvalova securing the final podium position.
Autorlando Sport’s Alessandro Giovanelli and Giuseppe Ghezzi finished in tenth place after being involved in an incident on the opening lap.
Milan Dontje, #5 Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS GT4: “I didn’t have the best of starts. I knew I had to stay focused, because of what happened in Misano. Got back some places, as agreed with the team, and then I saved the tyres and let Nicolaj finish it. Saving the tyres was the right strategy on this track. If you don’t save tyres, you’ll lose. I’m happy with this result, which also puts us back in the championship battle.”
Nicolaj Møller-Madsen, #5 Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS GT4: “It was nice and the car was good! Milan gave me the car in P5 and after that I just managed to keep up the speed. Everybody seemed to lose speed. It seemed that we had been a bit clever and focused on the race and not the pace over one lap. I am really happy!”
Markus Lungstrass, #16 Racing One Audi R8 LMS GT4: “I had a decent start. Just want to keep the Pro-Am cars behind. Our car was hard to drive today, because we got a little bit more weight in. It was good, I could get a really good gap and Hamza managed to control it!”
Hamza Owega, #16 Racing One Audi R8 LMS GT4: “Markus had a good qualifying and that gave us a big gap to the other cars in Pro-Am and for me it was just going through, make no mistakes and stay between the white lines. For race 2 we’ll have to attack as we’re a bit further behind.”
Niki Leutwiler, #222 Porsche Zentrum Oberer Zürichsee by TFT Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 CS MR: “My race was almost a bit boring, because it was almost a perfect race. No issues whatsoever. I had a good start, stayed behind some Silver cars and could follow. I could have gone a bit faster, but my engineer told me to stay where I was and that I had a good rhythm and so we just finished the race and made no errors.”
Race 2: New Alpine A110 GT4 Takes A First Win
CMR gave the Alpine A110 GT4 its first victory in the second GT4 European Series race of the SRO Speedweek at Spa-Francorchamps. Stéphane Tribaudini and Pierre-Alexandre Jean started the race from pole position and took the chequered flag in first place 23 laps later. Bullitt Racing’s Stephen Pattrick and Andy Meyrick recorded their first win in Pro-Am, with guest starter Moritz Kranz claiming victory in the Am class.
Pierre-Alexandre Jean had qualified the #35 CMR Alpine A110 GT4 on pole for the final race of the weekend at Spa and the young French driver held the lead into the La Source hairpin. He was followed onto the Raidillon by Stuart Middleton, Ricardo van der Ende, Nicolaj Møller-Madsen and Andy Meyrick and the two V8 Racing Chevrolet Camaro GT4.Rs, with only the #55 HHC Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4 able to stay very close to the new Alpine.
Behind the top three several drivers swapped positions and soon Meyrick was into fourth place overall, while further down Reinhard Kofler passed Max Koebolt to take fifth in the Silver cup. When the pit window opened the top three was still the same and it was HHC Motorsport’s Stuart Middleton who pitted first. Jean came into the pits one lap before the other frontrunners did, but when teammate Stéphane Tribaudini came out, the Alpine was still leading the race.
Will Tregurtha could not catch the race leading Ginetta after the pit stops, but despite running in second things soon began to look even better for the Silver Cup points leaders. Firstly the #10 Equipe Verschuur McLaren 570S GT4 retired in the pits and not much later the #5 Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS GT4 also retired from the race, leaving Møller-Madsen and Dontje without points in Race 2.
After 23 laps Tribaudini crossed the line to take the first ever win for the new Alpine A110 GT4. Tregurtha crossed the line in second place, 8.145s behind Tribaudini, with Simon Knap claiming third place in the #1 MDM Motorsport BMW M4 GT4. Selleslagh Racing Team, True Racing and Team GT completed the overall and Silver Cup top six.
First Victories For Bullitt Racing and Muehlner Motorsport
Following a great qualifying run Bullitt Racing secured its first ever win, merely 18 months after the foundation of the team. Andy Meyrick battled with the frontrunners, before handing over to teammate and Bullitt Racing team owner Stephen Pattrick. Pattrick made no mistakes at all and took the #33 Mercedes-AMG GT4 to eighth overall.
The #18 V8 Racing Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R of Wolf Nathan and Nicky Pastorelli took second place, the best result of the season for the Dutch team and the first ever podium for the American muscle car in the GT4 European Series. Nathan finished just four seconds behind the class winning Mercedes. Schwede Motorsport claimed another podium, with Rudolf Schulte and Dominik Schraml taking third in the #15 Porsche Cayman GT4 CS MR.
The #38 3Y Technology BMW M4 GT4, the #13 Schwede Motorsport Porsche and the #97 Lestrup Racing Team BMW M4 GT4 completed the top six in Pro-Am.
Muehlner Motorsport’s Moritz Kranz took his first class win in only his second race in the GT4 European Series. The Muehlner Motorsport driver started the race almost from the back of the grid and eventually finished in seventh place overall. Niki Leutwiler took second place and with the #76 Autorlando Sport Porsche 911 GT4 not scoring any points he has now taken a solid lead in the Am points standings. The #39 3Y Technology BMW M4 GT4 of Gwenael Delomier and Sylvain Debs completed the podium.
Stéphane Tribaudini, #35 CMR Alpine A110 GT4: “We are really happy. I think we should have won earlier this season already and we had a bit of bad luck this morning. Third place was great, but we should have fought for the victory. Now we had a perfect race. Everyone in the team did a perfect job. I am really happy to get the first win with the new Alpine.”
Pierre-Alexandre Jean #35 CMR Alpine A110 GT4: “I did everything possible to get this victory. I am so happy to be there. No there’s a big break, so it is very good to finish like this before the break!”
Stephen Pattrick, #33 Bullitt Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4: “Andy did a fantastic job in qualifying. He set the car up. The team really worked well today and this season. We worked really hard and I hopefully this is how we’re going to end up in every race.”
Andy Meyrick, #33 Bullitt Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4: “Really good. I’m really over the moon. The team didn’t exist 18 months ago, and it started from scratch. Stephen put a lot of time and effort in it. To win races in this championship within 18 months of starting his racing career is just amazing. This means more to me than some of the big races I’ve won in my career.”
Moritz Kranz, #69 Muehlner Motorsport Porsche Cayman GT4 CS MR: “It was a bittersweet victory. The second race was quite okay, from 45th to seventh overall and first in Am. The first race was a little unfortunate, so I ended second in Am and 14th in overall. But that’s racing.”