The penultimate FIA GT1 event took place at the Reiter Engineering team’s home track. Hans Reiter’s team had not been back for FIA GT1 races at the Nürburgring since the successful event in 2010 when the two drivers in a Lamborghini, Peter Kox (NLD) and Christopher Haase (DEU), secured P3 in the qualifying race and finished the championship race in P2.
The team entered two Lamborghinis Gallardo LP600+ for the races last weekend. It was the first time for Mike Parisy (FRA) and Jeroen Bleekemolen (NLD) to share car #24. Peter Kox (NLD) and Stefan Rosina (SVK) competed in the Gallardo #25.
Kox and Rosina in the sister car used the time to optimize the set-up for the three-part qualifying session. The drivers put in a fantastic performance in all the qualifying sessions and took P5 (Kox/Rosina) and P6 (Parisy/Bleekemolen) in Q3.
The start of the qualifying race took place in sunny weather and at a temperature of about 14 degrees Celsius. Stefan Rosina started into the race from P5 on the right side of the start straight and gained 2 places in the first right turn.
Jeroen Bleekemolen had bad luck in his first lap. After losing control over his car at the exit of the “Schumacher-S” turn he crashed into the barriers and was not able to continue the race.
The safety car was deployed as a result of the crash and remained in front of the grid up to the eighth lap. The leading McLaren retired in the lap after the restart due to a technical failure and Rosina took P3 which he defended until the pit stop.
The Reiter Engineering pit crew did a fantastic job at the driver change which led to Peter Kox rejoining the race right in front of the leading Audi. “The team did an excellent job, we took our chance and overtook the WRT team in the pit lane”, said the happy Team Principal Hans Reiter.
Peter Kox defended the lead in front of the WRT Audi with Stéphane Ortelli at the wheel, winning the qualifying race and consequently securing the pole position for the championship race on Sunday.
Having started from the pole position, Peter Kox controlled the pace at the top of the grid and left his competitors behind him. However, during the pit stop and the driver change the engine started with a delay which set Slovak Stefan Rosina back five valuable seconds.
After rejoining the race in P3 he fought hard and tried his best to overtake the Mercedes Benz of Marc Basseng but then decided to keep the safe third place and secure the points.
After starting from the end of the grid, Mike Parisy gained a few places and received a drive-through penalty in lap 9 after the Stewards determined a violation of the start procedure.
After Jeroen Bleekemolen took over he only completed a few laps before he had to pit again due to a damaged drive chain in lap 26. He was not able to complete the race.
Peter Kox: “It was a great weekend for the team. We won the qualifying race and secured P3 in the second race. Unfortunately, our strategy for the pit stop of the championship race did not work out.
And the engine did not start right away after the driver change. We probably lost the victory because of that. We hope to be able to repeat our success at Donington-Park next week”.
Stefan Rosina: “As a young driver, I am glad to be able to compete together with Peter (Kox) in a team. Everything worked well and we could have won the race on Sunday if we had not had the engine problem after the driver change. However, we will put in our best performance at the final race at Donington Park next week”.
Hans Reiter (team principal): “I am quite happy with the GT1 weekend. Mike (Parisy) and Jeroen (Bleekemolen) are excellent drivers but did not really get a chance to prove it because we were forced to retire early from both races. Stefan (Rosina) and Peter (Kox) did a fantastic job and secured a place on the podium for us.
We could have won the race on Sunday. However, our strategy for the pit stop in the championship race did not work out and there was a delay of the start of the engine”.
Source: Reiter Engineering FIA GT1