The maiden race of Christian Hohenadel in the GT1 World Championship at Abu Dhabi (VAE) ended with a dream result. Reigning FIA GT3-European Champion Hohenadel only briefly missed the podium in the Championship Race on the epic Yas Marina Circuit with his teammate Andrea Piccini (ITA) in the Hexis AMR-Aston Martin DBR9 and finished fourth.
34-year old Hohenadel had to cope on his debut weekend in the highly competitive GT1 World Championship with big challenges. During the early minutes of free practise, the oil cooler of the Aston Martin V12-engine broke and caused a preliminary end to the session for Hohenadel/Piccini. Due to the lengthy repair, the two Hexis AMR-drivers had to sit out free practise and also the pre-qualifying session. Valuable practise time was gone. So Hohenadel decided to be on the safe side for qualifying: "I didn't wanted to take any unnecessary risk in qualifying und certainly didn't get the most out of the car. Starting position 15 is not what we expected and what we are capable of, but the races are long and anything can happen."
During the 60-minute Qualifying Race, Hohenadel and Piccini consequently made their way forward. In the second part of the race, Hohenadel was eight and delivered a good show for the TV-cameras, when he defended his position against Le Mans-Winner and ALMS-Champion David Brabham (Nissan) and former Formula 1-driver Karl Wendlinger (Lamborghini). Eventually, Hohenadel had to let Brabham go and finished ninth.
In the main race, the Championship Race, held under floodlight in the evening hours due to the cooler ambient temperatures, Hohenadel therefore had to start from ninth spot in the middle of pack. The start went well for the Aston Martin-driver, Hohenadel gained three positions and could easily defend sixth place until the mandatory driver change halfway through the race. In the second part of the race, Piccini could gain another two positions and brought the Hexis-Aston Martin to the finish line in 4th position.
"Fourth place in my debut race in the GT1 World Championship is almost a dream start. I'm absolutely pleased with the result. considering the troubles we had during practise", Hohenadel was happy after the race. "My start into the Championship Race was good, I was able to defend my position and then, step by step, I moved forward. I'm pleased with my laptimes in the Championship Race, fourth place a dream start into the GT1 World Season. My goal was to collect some points on my debut weekend in the GT1-Aston Martin, I never would have expected that I would only briefly miss a place on the podium in my first GT1 outing. Certainly I'm still not there with my performance where I want to be, but I learned a lot on my first weekend. With this result, I'm travelling very optimistic to the next race in Zolder. We scored good points at Abu Dhabi, but have no success ballast in the car, that gives us a great foundation for the next round."
The Championship Race was won by Clivio Piccione and Stef Dusseldorp in the second Aston Martin DBR9 of Hexis AMR. The next race will take place from 8. to 10. April in Zolder/Belgium.
-source: Christian Hohenadel PR