Incredible Home Podium for GRT Grasser Racing Team

10.06.2018

The GRT Grasser Racing Team finished second in the third round of the ADAC GT Masters which was held at the beautiful Red Bull Ring, just 5km from the team’s base in Knittelfeld.

The team already having the experience of winning the second race last year were hoping for a repeat performance at their home track this time around.

The race started in dry conditions, when the weather soon intervened; rain began to fall just 10 minutes after the start. But, that didn’t dampen the mood in the GRT Grasser Racing Team today as Mirko Bortolotti and Andrea Caldarelli took a 2nd place in the second race of the weekend coming from P25 on the Start grid. The decision was made to keep the #63 car on slick tyres for the best strategy. The team and mainly Mirko Bortolotti did a fantastic job keeping the car on the track in those tricky conditions. Consistent fast lap-times was the key for that brilliant success.

It was also a good day for Ezequiel Perez Companc and Franck Perera. Starting Race 2 from 31st on the grid, car #19 moved up to 7th, showing clear intentions from the start. From an impressive race they also claimed 3rd place in the Junior Trophy – an amazing double success.

This morning it was Christian Engelhart in the #82 turn to tackle qualifying for Race 2 and he qualified in P9. As the best Lamborghini Car in the Grid. Unfortunately, a small accident with a BMW at the beginning of the race mixed with a challenging strategy, saw the #82 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 with Rolf Ineichenand and Christian Engelhart behind the wheel finish in P24.

From second, a win doesn’t seem too far away. Can the GRT Grasser Racing Team get there in the next round? Be sure to follow the next Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup at Misano, where the next race takes place over the weekend of 23rd – 24thJune.

Lamborghini Huracán GT3 (ORANGE1 by GRT Grasser) #63 (Mirko Bortolotti, Andrea Caldarelli)
Race 1: DNF (1:30.569), 28 laps
Race 2: 2nd (1:31.882), 37 laps

Mirko Bortolotti: “I still can’t believe it. What a race! When the car was in the pitlane I looked at my engineer and said “let’s stay on slicks”! He listened to me and it worked out and I fought my way up to P2 in the end. It was incredibly tough in the beginning but what a feeling at the end. A huge thanks to the team and Andrea for a phenomenal job. It’s so cool to get a podium in the team’s home race.”

Andrea Caldarelli: “It was an amazing race. After the transmission failure, yesterday we tried hard this morning in qualifying but didn’t work out. We started in P25 and when I started it was raining and we decided to keep slick tyres and it was really hard but we were able to bring the car home in P2. It was amazing, one of the most thrilling stints I have ever had. I enjoyed it a lot. The team made an amazing choice to stay on slicks even if it was still raining. Mirko was able to bring us back up to P2 in very difficult conditions. It’s very nice for all the team to bring this podium at home race for GRT Grasser Racing Team.”

Lamborghini Huracán GT3 #19 (Ezequiel Perez Companc, Franck Perera)
Race 1: 29th (1:30.309), 34 laps
Race 2: 7th (1:32.342), 37 laps

Ezequiel Perez Companc: “This was a very positive race for us. We started from P31 and finished in P7 overall and P3 in the Junior Trophy. Franck did a great job too, staying with slick tyres even in the rain. Then it was my turn and we continued to push and race. In the end this was a mega result for the team. Especially from the strategy point of view - our engineer Daniel made the right call and choose a winning race strategy, whilst the team mechanics did great pit stops."

Lamborghini Huracán GT3 #82 (Rolf Ineichen, Christian Engelhart)
Race 1: 12nd (1:30.793), 36 laps
Race 2: 24th (1:31.333), 36 laps

Gottfried Grasser, the Team Owner: “It was great to be back on our home land. Race 1 was a lot more difficult than we expected; all of the cars were struggling a little bit, so yesterday things didn’t really work out for us. But, today’s race was a big weather lottery were we did all the right calls. I’m very happy with the final result and an amazing podium. For each car, we used three different strategies. Well done to the #63 crew; they did a great job. Wim Everaerts, the engineer of #63 together with Mirko Bortolotti, made the right calls and decisions throughout the race. My deepest respect to the driving skills of Mirko to keep the car in the track in that rainy conditions. We also had a little bit of luck with the weather that had changed during the end of the race and dried the track out. I’m also very happy for car #19, who also chose the right strategy to change the tyres during the pit window, and we were lucky. Unfortunately, car #82 wasn’t that lucky but we showed our performance and we will come back for the next race.”

Fotos by Lucas Pripfl Photography