Ekris Motorsport wins final race; Huisman/Braams claim Pro-AM title

17 September 2017

Ricardo van der Ende and Max Koebolt finished the GT4 European Series Northern Cup season on a high with their second win of the weekend at the Nürburgring. The Ekris Motorsport drivers made no mistakes and controlled the race from start to finish. Duncan Huisman and Luc Braams claimed the Pro-AM title after main rival Umbrarescu failed to finish.

After an incident-free first round yesterday, there was drama in the final race today. The front runners made it into the Mercedes-Arena without any issues, but behind them things went wrong. One of the victims was the #111 RN Vision STS Porsche Cayman CS MR GT4 of Razvan Umbrarescu and Hendrik Still. The Porsche suffered severe damage to the left-hand side door and the team was forced to retire the car in the pit lane.

The safety car was deployed and on track for about ten minutes, before the race was restarted and Van der Ende could try to pull away from the #62 Academy Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage GT4 of Matt Nicoll-Jones again. Nicoll-Jones himself then came under attack from the #144 GenerationAMR SuperRacing Aston Martin Vantage GT4 of Matthew George and before the pit window opened George passed Nicoll-Jones. The British youngster, however, was unable to close the gap to Van der Ende.

After the pit stops Koebolt rejoined right in front of George’s team mate James Holder, who was subsequently passed by Academy Motorsport driver Will Moore. The #74 RYS Team TrueRacing KTM X-Bow GT4 of Laura Kraihamer initially moved into third overall, before she was overtaken by Alain Ferté in the #4 Energy by ART Porsche Cayman CS MR GT4 right before the end of the race.

Koebolt controlled the race and saved his tires, finishing 4.636s clear of Will Moore after 27 laps and completing an Ekris Motorsport clean sweep. Kraihamer finished third in Silver, ahead of the #10 Equipe Verschuur McLaren 570S GT4 and the #14 RYS Team KTM and #64 RYS Team InterNetX KTM X-Bow GT4s. 
Nicoll-Jones and Moore finished the season second in class, passing Lennart Marioneck in the standings in the final race of the season.

Luc Braams and Duncan Huisman claim Pro-AM title; Energy by ART wins race
The three-way battle for the Pro-AM title was turned into a two-way fight very early on. Five Pro-AM cars were involved in accidents on the opening lap, with the #111 RN Vision STS Porsche Cayman CS MR GT4 of Razvan Umbrarescu retiring on lap two. That mean Braams and Huisman only had to finish to win the title.

The #4 Energy by ART Porsche, which was in 13th place by the time the pit window opened, gradually made its way up through the field. Alain Ferté quickly passed several other drivers and moved into the lead on lap 20. By then Luc Braams was fourth in class, but two laps from the end he passed the GenerationAMR SuperRacing Aston Martin to take third place. Schwede Motorsport drivers Rudolf Schulte and Dominik Schraml scored a second-place finish in only their second race in the series.

With Umbrarescu not scoring any points and Jan Kasperlik finishing in seventh place, the podium finish was more than enough for the Las Moras Racing drivers to pass Umbrarescu in the championship and claim the title. Umbrarescu finishes the season as runner-up, with Kasperlik taking third place.

Autorlando Sport wins again in AM
In the AM class Autorlando Sport had just one target after securing the drivers’ title for Giuseppe Ghezzi yesterday and that was getting Manuele Mengozzi into second place in the championship. Mengozzi had qualified the #76 Porsche 911 GT4 on pole position and the Italian pairing finished the race 11.104s clear of the second placed #21 Allied Racing Porsche Cayman CS MR GT4 of Nikolaus Schelle and Joachim Bölting. Ivan Vlachkov finished on the podium with the #11 SIN R1 GT4, while Scuderia Villorba Corse’s Manuela Gostner finished in fourth place.

As Romy Dall’Antonia and Giuseppe Fascicolo retired on the opening lap, the win for Ghezzi and Mengozzi means Mengozzi jumps to second in the final rankings, with Gostner finishing the season third in class.


DRIVER QUOTES

Max Koebolt (#8 Ekris Motorsport Ekris M4 GT4)
: “It really went well and we ended the GT4 European Series Northern Cup with a perfect score. Double pole, double race win. We’ve really shown why we are the champions. I wasn’t pushing in order not to destroy my tires before the end of the race, but it wasn’t cruising either. Now onto Barcelona!”

Ricardo van der Ende (#8 Ekris Motorsport Ekris M4 GT4): “The car was faultless, no errors at all. I have to thank the team for that. It really was a team effort. At the beginning, I really had to push and the gaps weren’t that big compared with the other Pro drivers. Our car isn’t the fastest out there, it’s all down to driver pairings. Nevertheless, I’m very happy with the car and if it wasn’t for Zandvoort, we would have had podium finishes in all races. How unique is that.”

Luc Braams (#9 Las Moras Racing McLaren 570S GT4): “It wasn’t easy. We had some luck as our main rival was out of the race after the first corner. Duncan handed over the car to me during the stops and I just had to finish it to win the title. The team kept updating me throughout my stint and now we’ve done it!”

Duncan Huisman (#9 Las Moras Racing McLaren 570S GT4): “To be honest, I took it nice and slow and didn’t want to push and risk our chances. At the start, I didn’t take any risk as I was certain there would be something happening in the first corner. We were lucky that our main rival was involved, on the other side it would have been nice to have gone head to head, but I’ll take it as it is!”

Zolder

7 - 8 April 2018

Brands Hatch

5 - 6 May 2018

Misano

23 - 24 June 2018

Spa Francorchamps

21 - 22 July 2018

Hungaroring

1 - 2 September 2018

Nürburgring

15 - 16 September 2018