Despite an on-track collision losing the team nearly two hours early on at the Hankook 12H HOCKENHEIMRING, points scored in an impressive recovery drive means Vortex V8 is still 2nd in the championship standings.
Words – James Gent
Images – Petr Frýba
Vortex V8 remains well in the fight for GTX Teams’ honours in both the 24H SERIES European standings and the Championship of the Continents, despite a frustrating race at the Hankook 12H HOCKENHEIMRING.
The Vortex 1.0, an evolved ‘2.0’ version of which is set to make its debut next year, finished 4th at Hockenheim, 98 laps behind GTX class winner E2P Racing, lost more than 90 minutes in the pits in the opening stages after making contact with the Lestrup Racing Team Volkswagen, the repercussions of which would continue to be felt during the course of ‘part one’ on Saturday. A clean run on Sunday however meant Vortex V8 was able to finish 4th in GTX, securing enough points to retain its second place in the European standings and the Championship of the Continents.
Solid runs from Sebastien Lajoux, Lionel Amrouche, and Philippe Bonnel in their respective qualifying sessions meant the Vortex 1.0 lined up 3rd in-class and 13th overall for the start of the Hankook 12H HOCKENHEIMRING. A conservative start during Lajoux’s opening stint, plus opposing pit strategies brought about by the opening Code 60 caution period, meant the lightweight French sports car even ran as high as 7th at one point.
On lap 16 however, Lajoux and the Lestrup Racing Volkswagen made contact at turn two, the Vortex losing the next 1 hour 36 mins in the pits with significant damage…
“What frustration!” team owners Arnaud and Olivier Gomez explained in an official statement. “The suspension lasted only 28 minutes and was followed by a collision with a competitor [on-track]. It was just the wrong angle at the wrong location, and the suspension inserts on the gearbox were ripped off. Only the dedication of the mechanics allowed us to get back into the race after nearly two hours of hard work!”
Following the accident, issues would continue for Vortex throughout the day, the repaired gearbox causing Amrouche to grind to a halt on-track once again during his first stint. Lajoux’s closing stint of the day meanwhile proved even more tumultuous: the Frenchman came close to making contact with, ironically, Lestrup Racing’s Audi RS 3 while recovering from a spin at the final turn, and ended up beached in the gravel at Sachs with just minutes of the race left to run. Lajoux’s ill-advised recovery meant he was not invited to contest the second part of the event at the Hockenheimring.
Sunday though would prove much smoother for the French team, bar a 30-minute pit stop two hours into the day to sate overheating concerns, Amrouche and Bonnel eventually bringing the car home 4th in-class.
Ironically, issues for championship rivals Leipert Motorsport and RD Signs – Siauliai racing team mean Vortex V8 is still just six points behind the German team in the Championship of the Continents, and just a single point adrift of both Leipert and RD Signs in the European standings heading into the Hankook 24H PORTIMAO on 9-10-11 July.