The GRT Grasser Racing Team returns to action with a victory in Zandvoort

23.08.2018

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Ezequiel Perez Companc and Marco Mapelli won Race 1 from pole position in the #19 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 in the fifth round of the ADAC GT Masters.

Companc remained in front at the start of the race after accidently colliding with teammate Mirko Bortolotti a short time after. The #63 who had started from P2 just behind the sister car had overtaken Companc in the meantime. While the Italian unfortunately span off the track, Ezequiel retook first place and defended it until the driver change. The Lamborghini factory driver Marco Mapelli, who replaced this weekend’s Franck Perera, due to a clashing commitment, went on to secure the win at the finish line with a lead of 0.7 seconds.

A victory in the Pirelli Trophy classification went to the #82 GRT drivers. Having qualified in P13, Rolf Ineichen moved up four positions in the race along with Christian Engelhart and was the best amateur driver, finishing ninth overall in the Saturday race.

It was another story in Race 2, where the GRT Grasser Racing Team experienced a disappointing end to the race weekend.

Engelhart made a very good start and took the #82 car from P11 to P8, but an unfortunate contact with #25 Audi, forced him to retire due to a broken suspension and damaged left rear tyre. It was a similar story for Mapelli, who had made contact with the #21 Mercedes, which also forced the driver to retire from the race.

The #63 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 had a misfortunate weekend from the beginning. When the chequered flag waved in Race 2, Mirko Bortolotti crossed the line in P24 after completing just 35 laps in a frustrating weekend.

The team will now work hard to be ready for five races in a row, which start at the Hungaroring on September 1-2.

Lamborghini Huracán GT3 (ORANGE1 by GRT Grasser) #63 (Mirko Bortolotti, Andrea Caldarelli)
Race 1: DNF
Race 2: 24th (1:39.369), 35 laps

Mirko Bortolotti: “A weekend that looked quite promising with a front row starting position, turned out to be quite disappointing. I got into the lead of Race 1 at the exit of the first corner and then got taken out of the race on the next corner. It was a shame to leave Zandvoort with no points.”
Andrea Caldarelli: “It has been a very unlucky weekend. We started very well having qualified in P2. Unfortunately, Mirko had contact withEzequiel during the first lap, so we didn’t finish Race 1. In Q2, I had a problem with traffic and got stuck during my best lap and couldn’t make it again. We started from P24 and got the car to P18 but had a drive through penalty and finished in P24. It was a very unlucky weekend for us.”

Lamborghini Huracán GT3 #82 (Rolf Ineichen, Christian Engelhart)
Race 1: 9th (1:38.567), 36 laps
Race 2: DNF (1:38.144), 7 laps

Christian Engelhart: “A positive weekend to be, which turned out bad for us. The team prepared the car extremely well, so we had a very good package through Free Practice. We showed good pace. Rolf qualified in P13 and did a very good job, moving up to P10, so we were quite happy with Race 1. However, in Q2 the track conditions changed, and we were not on point and couldn’t show the same performance as we did in the previous day. But I’m still happy, in Q2 our car was the top Lambo. I made a good start and put the car from P11 to P8 after three corners, but then I got hit by an Audi and couldn’t do anything to avoid the contact.”

Lamborghini Huracán GT3 #19 (Ezequiel Perez Companc, Marco Mapelli)
Race 1: 1st (1:37.615), 36 laps
Race 2: DNF (1:39.295), 10 laps

Marco Mapelli: “We did a lot of preparations on Friday and the car was very good. Ezequiel did a mega job in Quali and in the race. Beside a bad situation and contact with the sister car, I’m very happy with our win in Race 1. However, today conditions changed. The track was slippery, and I didn’t manage the gap in Quali, because I got stuck in traffic during both of my quickest laps. Obviously, when you start from P22 you can end up making some contacts and this time the race didn’t go in the right direction for us. Anyway, we did a good job.”

Ezequiel Perez Companc: “Saturday’s qualifying and the race were perfect. I had my first pole in the GT Masters, which was a big achievement for me. In Race 1, I managed to stay first in my stint. Then Marco did an amazing job too. Today we were unfortunate and qualified at the back, after making contact with the Mercedes and broke the suspension. Unfortunately, we had to retire in Race 1, but generally it was a very good weekend in terms of our personal and the team performance, I am very happy.”

Gottfried Grasser, the Team Owner: “On Saturday we made positive setup developments on the cars and everything worked well. We got pole position and P2 for the start, which made me very happy and proud of the guys. It could’ve been a double podium in Race 1, but I’m still happy because we got back to winning ways. Today I would call it “black Sunday”. In Race 2 nothing seemed to work, and the setups weren’t right, so we couldn’t put the cars exactly where we wanted. Christian put in a very good lap, only 0.3s behind pole. There was a chance to put the car in front again but couldn’t manage it. He made a very good start and put the car in P8. Then he was hit by an Audi and broke the left rear tyre and suspension. Unfortunately, the #19 car was in the same situation and made contact with the Mercedes #21. It wasn’t Marco’s fault, he just couldn’t avoid the contact. The #63 also had a tough race. It was very hard to gain from such a starting grid position. We made a small mistake during the pitstop and had a drive-through penalty, but focusing on the positive things, I’m now looking forward to the weekend off to prepare for the next race five races in-a-row.”