ADAC GT4 Germany Red Bull ring race report
Tom had high hopes and great momentum going into Round 2 ofthe ADAC GT4 Germany Championship, sitting joint 2n thechampionship after a strong showing at Oschersleben.
Thursday and Friday consisted of Free practice for all the teams to prepare their cars for the race weekend ahead. Tom and his Racing One squad made great progress with their set up, topping FP1 in the process on Friday. Despite this, Tom was finding it difficult to stay consistent around his less favoured less technical circuit. He commented “I love this place. The scenery, the fans and the layout are all amazing. I normally favour more technical circuits with less straight lines, so being consistent here in the race is going to be super challenging.”
Saturday was to see Tom qualify the car and start the first of two races of the weekend. With rain over night, qualifying was to be a big gamble on tyre choice and the timing of pushing for the ultimate lap time due to the circuit constantly changing.
Tom opted for slick tyres which was proving very tricky with the circuit still a little damp. As the circuit got drier and drier, the times came down and Tom went to P3 on his first flying lap. Struggling with grip, he found it hard to better it by the same margin as the top times of the session. On his last lap, an uncharacteristic error put him wide at Turn 4 only putting the Number 6 Aston Martin P14 on the grid for Race 1. Tom commented shortly after “I’m very disappointed in myself. The team have done a great job and gave me a great car but I just made a small error which cost us dearly. We have to focus on scoring good points in the race, and utilise our pace we have shown throughout the weekend so far”.
For Race 1, Tom was to start on the outside of the grid into the tricky first corner. As the lights went out he got a great initial getaway, placing himself in the middle of the 2 lines of the grid. Into the braking zone with the traffic being congested on the inside, Tom stayed on line on the inside of the Mercedes ahead. With him being so close due to the congestion, the Mercedes slightly jinked to the right and with nowhere to go, Tom hit the side of him, breaking his tow link in the process meaning it was to be a very unfortunate DNF. “I’m gutted” Tom explained. “It was such an unfortunate incident, we were all so close and the slightest movement can end the race in a split second. We have to move on and focus on Sunday now”.
Sunday’s qualifying saw Euan McKay, Tom’s teammate, set some blistering times in the first half of the session, putting the car on Pole. As the session came to a close he wasn’t able to quite improve on his lap with others around him doing so. Nevertheless, it was to put the pair on P5 on the grid, ahead of some of the key championship rivals.
Race two was to be an eventful one. With a clean start, Euan maintained position through the first corner and up the hill into Turn 2. Caught on the inside of the corner, he lost a few positions to the Dorr motorsport Aston and the Allied Porsche. In P8, he settled into the rhythm as the first of many safety cars came out. Post safety car, Euan did a great job of holdingP9/P10 and 11 behind. At the half way mark it was time to hand the car over to Tom for the last stint of the race. Tom and the Racing One squad brilliantly executed the pitstop, gaining 2 positions bumping them up to P6 and back in the fight for a podium position. With the brakes overheating substantially, Tom did his best to set some very quick lap times whilst cooling the brakes down as best he could. With 25 mins to go the 2nd safety car came out for two stricken cars, meaning Tom could potentially capitalise on the slower cars ahead. At the restart he did just that and jumped up to P5 before the safety car was quickly deployed once more. Tom’s focus remained, as he set about climbing up the order even further. Tom brilliantly capitalised again on the restart gaining not one but two places to put the Aston Martin on the podium in P3. Tom wasn’t done yet however, and with 5 minutes to go he chased down the Number 69 Dorr Motorsport car in P2, which he was catching around half a second per lap. Unfortunately, once again, the safety car was deployed with only 3 minutes left on the clock. P3 was to be the final result, a brilliant way to end the weekend.
Tom comments “I’m over the moon, I really am. For me, this almost feels like a win. We had such a tough day yesterday, we deserve this podium more than anyone else on the grid. I want to thank the team, their work means the world to me. We are still very much in the fight for the championship, with the next round at Zandvoort being pretty suited to us In the Aston Martin GT4”
Tom’s next race falls on 25/26 June at the infamous Zandvoort circuit in Holland. You can follow his races live onMotorsportTV.com with both German and English commentary available.