True Racing KTM wins opening race at Brands Hatch
5 May 2019
True Racing KTM drivers Patric Niederhauser and Reinhard Kofler took their first win of the season in the opening round at Brands Hatch. Niederhauser had started the race from fifth on the grid, but took the lead during the pit stop window, never to be caught again. Pro-Am victory went to Leipert Motorsport, with Street Art Racing claiming the win in the Am class.
There was early drama in Race 1, with the #21 Allied Racing Porsche of Niki Leutwiler pushed of the track by one of the KTM X-Bow GT4s and then the #66 Bullitt Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 crashing into the pit wall. Whilst the first incident prompted a Full Course Yellow, the second resulted in a safety car period, as the Mercedes was heavily damaged and unable to move.
The race was resumed as the pit window opened. Pole man Florian Thoma, who had retained the lead, opted to stay out, while Equipe Verschuur driver Benjamin Lessennes handed over the championship leading #14 McLaren 570S GT4 to Daniel McKay.
Race leader Thoma came in to the pits at the end of lap 15, but teammate Akhil Rabindra rejoined the race behind the #16 True Racing KTM X-Bow GT4, now driven by Reinhard Kofler, which had stopped two laps earlier.
The True Racing driver had a comfortable lead over the cars behind him as he started his stint, with Akhil Rabindra coming under pressure from the #1 Phoenix Racing Audi of Nicolaj Møller-Madsen and the McLaren of McKay. The 2018 Silver Cup champion rapidly closed the gap to the #18 PROsport Aston Martin and took second from the Indian driver, but just after that move he spun the #1 Audi R8 LMS GT4 into the barriers.
Kofler was able to hold onto the lead and after 32 laps the Austrian was the first driver to cross the line. Rabindra in the #18 PROsport Performance Aston Martin was second across the finish line, followed by the #14 Equipe Verschuur McLaren of McKay.
Fourth went to the #4 Leipert Motorsport Mercedes of Jan Kisiel and Max Koebolt, with the #19 PROsport Performance Aston Martin of Jeremy Sarhy and David Griessner and the #25 MDM Motorsport BMW of Alec Udell and Simon Knap completing the top six.
In Pro-Am, Norway’s Marcus Paverud in the #2 Leipert Motorsport Mercedes and Gabriele Piana in the #111 RN Vision STS BMW battled for the class win in the final stages of the race, but it was the Norwegian who secured his and teammate Luci Trefz’ second win of the season. British drivers Tom Wood and Fiona James completed the Pro-Am podium with their Academy Motorsport Aston Martin.
Victory in the Am category went to Eric Mouez and David Loger in the CMR Alpine. First to cross the finish was the Street Art Racing Aston Martin, but Pascal Bachman and Clement Seyler were given a penalty for overtaking behind the safety car.
Patric Niederhauser, #16 True Racing KTM X-Bow GT4 (1st Silver Race 1): “We were very strong in the race and I knew it was all about the second stint. We knew we had to do something different with the pit stops compared to the guys ahead of us and it worked out. Reinhard did a mega outlap and I think that was crucial for our win.”
Marcus Paverud, #2 Leipert Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT4 (1st Pro-Am Race 1): “Piana came really fast in the end, it was crazy how much he gained on me. But in the end, I managed to keep up with his pace and managed to keep him behind me. We had a small contact, but it was fun! Luci had a good qualifying and he did a great job today, which helped us.”