Beitske Visser and Nico Menzel took their first victory in the 2018 GT4 European Series in race 2 at the Hungaroring on Sunday. They beat teammates Gabriele Piana and Razvan Umbrarescu in an RN Vision STS 1-2 finish at the Hungarian Grand Prix circuit.
Victory in the Pro-Am class went to Racing One’s Jules Szymkowiak and Markus Lungstrass again, with Allied-Racing’s Nicolas Schöll also claiming his second win of the weekend in the Am class.
Dutchman Milan Dontje started from pole, but the #5 Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS GT4 was overtaken by Stuart Middleton in the #55 HHC Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4 before Turn 1 and dropped down the field after contact on the opening lap and a subsequent drive through penalty. Middleton only managed to hold onto the lead for two laps, before he had to hand it over to Mads Siljehaug in the #24 Felbermayr-Reiter KTM X-Bow GT4.
The Norwegian was able to pull away from the rest of the field on a drying track, apart from Nico Menzel in the #110 RN Vision STS BMW M4 GT4. Menzel made it into the top 10 on lap seven and rapidly passed the cars in front of him. By lap 10 the BMW Motorsport Junior was in third place and he took the lead when Siljehaug pitted as soon as the pit window opened.
Rain returned to the Hungaroring just when the pit window opened, forcing teams to make a quick decision to change strategy. Several teams that started on slicks moved to rain tires, others went to slicks and there were also teams that opted to keep it as it was.
Menzel was one of the last drivers to get into the pits and he handed over the BMW to Beitske Visser with a comfortable lead over teammate Gabriele Piana in the #111 BMW. Visser returned to the track with a 37 seconds advantage over her Italian teammate and she was able to keep the gap stable at around half a minute.
Ten minutes from the end of the one-hour race Leipert Motorsport’s Marcus Paverud went off at the exit of the final corner. The #2 Mercedes-AMG GT4 hit the pit wall and came to a stop on the middle of the track. Paverud emerged from the crash unscathed, but the safety car was deployed. After a couple of minutes behind the safety car the decision was called to red flag the race.
Beitske Visser and Nico Menzel were declared winners, with Gabriele Piana and Razvan Umbrarescu making it an RN Vision STS BMW 1-2. Gottfried Pilz and Mads Siljehaug completed the Silver Cup top three.
Despite a difficult start of the race Milan Dontje and Nicolaj Møller-Madsen finished fifth in class, ahead of Max Koebolt and Simon Knap. Will Tregurtha and Stuart Middleton came across the finish in ninth place, which means the MDM Motorsport drivers now lead the Silver Cup with just one weekend remaining.
Szymkowiak/Lungstrass Inhrit Pro-Am Win, Scholl Wins Again
Jules Szymkowiak and Markus Lungstrass claimed their second win of the weekend, even though they finished behind the Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS GT4 of Gosia Rdest and Cédric Freiburghaus. A post-race penalty promoted the #77 Racing One Audi R8 LMS GT4 to first place, with Rdest and Freiburghaus dropping to sixth in class.
Freiburghaus had taken the class lead on lap 22, but he crossed the white line and was given a drive through penalty after the race, which was converted into a 26 seconds time penalty. The W&D Racing Team BMW M4 GT4 of Paolo Meloni and Massimiliano Tresoldi took second place, with 3Y Technology drivers Jamie Vandenbalck and Luiz Floss claiming third place.
Victory in the Am class went to Nicolas Schöll in the #42 Allied-Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 CS MR. The young Austrian won his first race in the rain-affected opening race on Saturday and a perfect strategy handed him the win in Race 2 as well.
Niki Leutwiler secured second place in the #222 Porsche Zentrum Oberer Zürichsee by TFT Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 CS MR, ahead of Alessandro Giovanelli and Giuseppe Ghezzi in the #76 Autorlando Sport Porsche 911 GT4. As a result, the gap Leutwiler and his two Italian rivals remains at 40 points, with just two races to go.
Nico Menzel, #110 RN Vision STS BMW M4 GT4: “We started on slicks and it was just the perfect decision. I’m pretty happy with my stint, I could pull a gap and Beitske defended the gap. Gabriele got back a bit, but then in the end Beitske fought back and it was half a minute, so it was easy for us. Perfect first win, finally. The next one is the Nürburgring, let’s do it there again!”
Beitske Visser, #110 RN Vision STS BMW M4 GT4: “It was super. We started the race on slicks and it was quite difficult in the early part of the race. Nico completed a super stint and we were already in the lead before the pitstops. After that I just had to keep it on the track and make no mistakes. We had a big lead and are extremely happy!”
Markus Lungstrass, #77 Racing One Audi R8 LMS GT4: “We decided to start on rain tires and I could gain a lot of positions. I put the car in second place in Pro-Am and then it got drier. I could manage to stay in position and then we had a clean pit stop. Jules did a really brilliant job and Matteo, our engineer, made some good decisions. A great result!”
Jules Szymkowiak, #77 Racing One Audi R8 LMS GT4: “Markus was able to maintain his position and when I got in the car on slicks it was quite difficult to get some heat in the tires on the first couple of laps. It was really slippery and I hard to work hard. I had to find the right rhythm in the first two laps, but then I got into a flow and made up a lot of places we’d lost by changing to slicks. I really enjoyed myself!”
Nicolas Schöll, #42 Allied-Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 CS MR: “It’s been amazing. It was a really good start and then we decided to go back to slicks and is was just awesome. It was a perfect drive. It’s a shame the race had to be stopped earlier, but we’ve done the best we’ve could.”