Eastalent Highly Motivated with Trophy at the Hungaroring

27. June 2024 Zurück zur Artikelübersicht »

Hungaroring/Mogyoród/ Hungary: The mid-season race of the International GT Open was held from June 21 to 23 at the Hungaroring. The Kirchberg-based team Eastalent-Racing returned home with a victory but also a lot of frustration.

During the two free practice sessions on Friday, it became quite clear that the Austrians and their Audi R8 LMS evo II would be among the front runners this weekend. On Saturday morning, Simon Reicher qualified the GT3 car in seventh position for the first race. Until halfway through the race, the driver duo Reicher/Haase maintained their position. After a smart, strategic pit stop, Christopher Haase moved up to fourth place. Nine minutes before the end of the race, it began to rain. The rain did not justify another pit stop to switch to rain tires. Christopher Haase delivered a stellar performance on the final, slippery laps and won the race.

Team owner Peter Reicher describes the situation as follows: “Saturday’s race was world-class. Winning in the rain on slick tires with such finesse is amazing. Having a world star like Christopher Haase in the car, who really shows his talent in these tough conditions, is simply fantastic. Both drivers and the entire team did an extremely good job.”

The final race on Sunday proved to be more difficult. The team positioned itself in fourth position during the qualifying session. The race started with a bang in the first right-hand corner, where several protagonists pushed each other into the barriers. Christopher Haase, who started the race, barely managed to stay out of serious trouble, though he was not left unharmed after an emergency maneuver. “Unfortunately, I hit the Ferrari in front of me at the start, which damaged our front a bit and cost us a few positions.”

After Simon Reicher took over the wheel, the Audi was spun out by an overeager competitor just a few minutes before the end of the race. Team principal Peter Reicher describes the race retirement as follows: “Sunday’s race was very unfortunate. Professional drivers should know what they are doing, assess situations correctly, and not play bumper cars with GT3 vehicles.”

Christopher Haase adds his perspective: “We traveled to the Hungaroring with a good feeling, also due to our strong performance here last year. I think we fundamentally did a very good job. In free practice, we could see that we were somewhat disadvantaged by the Balance of Performance (BoP). In the first race on Saturday, we stayed within striking distance the entire duration of the race. And when the rain came, we made it happen and won. At that point, it was clear that we would have to deal with a 10-second handicap during the driver change on Sunday. The qualifying session on Sunday was challenging. Getting spun out by your competitor is obviously not a nice conclusion for us at the Hungaroring. But that’s motorsports sometimes.”

Simon Reicher describes his viewpoint: “We started the weekend well on Friday. On Saturday, we had a fantastic victory, also thanks to some luck. The rain helped us prove our performance. I have no idea what happened in the Sunday race. In any case, it was far from fun. The accident caused by our competitor trying to overtake us in a corner where you really can’t overtake was very frustrating. But we have to live with the retirement.”

The second half of the GT Open season kicks off on July 19 at the Paul Ricard Circuit in Marseille in the South of France.