The fourth race weekend of the GT4 European Series at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli (28th – 30th June) took place in temperatures approaching 39 degrees Celsius. Patric Niederhauser and team-mate Reinhard Kofler braved the heat and showed their potential in True Racing’s KTM X-Bow GT4. Niederhauser finished fifth in first practice. Kofler was seventh in the second session.
Q1 went even better. Niederhauser came home second behind the team’s sister car. However, gremlins struck during the second session. A broken drive-shaft prevented Kofler from setting a lap time, so it was self-evident that their #16 KTM X-Bow GT4 would be last on the grid in Sunday’s race.
Swiss driver Niederhauser started Saturday’s race with the repaired car, but bad news came after just a few laps. The Race Director handed Niederhauser and his team-mates in the sister car a drive-through penalty. As far as the stewards were concerned, they had set off before the lights went out, which is against the rules. The two True Racing drivers served their penalty and dropped way down the field. Niederhauser had been second on the grid but found himself in P16. He and team-mate Kofler fought their way up into eighth place, limiting the damage to some extent by securing four points.
In the second race on Sunday morning, Kofler made a strong charge from 32nd and last place on the grid, working his way up into P16. A full course yellow period began just as they had completed the driver handover. Their rivals had not pitted at this point and were able to swap drivers without losing too much time. After the restart, Niederhauser fought his way up into 17th place.
He will be back in action in just two weeks’ time, as the GT4 European Series will be at Zandvoort for the penultimate race meet of the season, July 12th – 14th.
The two qualifying sessions brought joy and sorrow… Patric Niederhauser : « Q1 was mega! A position on the front row of the grid is obviously terrific and looked very promising for the first race. Unfortunately, Reinhard had a technical problem in Q2. A broken drive-shaft meant he couldn’t set a time. That was a big blow for us, because it meant being last on the grid in Sunday’s race. »
You were hit by another setback after just a few laps of Saturday’s race. What do you think of the penalty? How do you see things? Patric Niederhauser : « In my opinion, our starts were 100 percent in line with the rules. We can even prove it and are still having discussions with the Race Director. Of course, we can’t change the race result now. We may just possibly have missed out on a win. I’ve never experienced anything like it in my entire motor racing career. We just cannot understand where the penalty came from. We fought our way up through the field after serving the drive-through, but four points for eighth place are only small consolation. »
You made another impressive charge up the field in Sunday’s race… Patric Niederhauser : « Reinhard had moved up from last place on the grid to P16 before coming in to switch drivers, but then our luck ran out. There was a full course yellow period right after our pit stop, which completely ruined our race. Our immediate rivals had not pitted at this point and were able to use the full course yellow period to their best advantage and swap drivers. »
How will you approach the final two race weekends of the season? Patric Niederhauser : « We’ll continue to fight. We have to win if we want to achieve anything in the championship. Our pace at Misano was decent, especially in qualifying. We showed our potential but got hardly anything back in return. We were just mega unlucky, but I hope Lady Luck will smile on us again during the last two race weekends of the season. »
Press release Patric Niederhauser]]>