- Team three points clear with only two remaining GT Open races
- Krupiński serves one of the highlights in Saturday´s race
- Team stays on in Spa to participate in 24-hours this coming week
Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium), 18th October 2020
The second-to-last race weekend of the GT Open PRO-AM Championship was a great success all along the lines. An eighth and seventh overall results, meaning P4 and one podium with P3 in PRO-AM, was enough to secure the team around Christian Klien and Patryk Krupiński the top two in the PRO-AM standings. The team is now aiming for the lead with only two remaining races.
Race 1, Saturday, 17th October 2020
It was Patryk Krupiński turn to take behind the wheel of the #88 Mercedes-AMG GT3. The Pole, who lately impressed with his performance at Monza, showed once again an ambitious job. Unfortunately, the team was not able to get the most out of the second new set of tyres due to a red flag. They had to settle for tenth place on the grid rather than P8 for the 70-minute race.
JP Motorsport´s closes competitor, Marcelo Hahn, was six points clear of them ahead of the race, and the pilot of the number 16 McLaren 720 S GT3 started into the race two places ahead of Krupiński. It was valid to stay close and gain some points.
And the Pole did so with bravery and was responsible for one of the race´s highlights. A three-way-battle for position eight started to form between the #44 Mercedes-AMG GT3 by Jens Liebhauser and the said Hahn. After Krupiński kept P10 after the start, he was closely running behind the #44 Mercedes, which in term had its nose in the back of the #16 McLaren.
They were three-cars-wide running down the start-/finishing-straight. Krupiński tried to pass on the inside going into the hairpin but had to back off. Whilst driving towards Eau Rouge, Liebhauser took a chance and passed the #16 McLaren at the bottom of the corner whilst the JP Motorsport driver saw his favour of the hour. He demonstrated a lot of courage and went around the outside of Marcelo Hahn going up the infamous Eau Rouge to secure 9th place.
Team-mate Christian Klien took over the #88 Mercedes-AMG GT3 on lap 13 and returned to the track in tenth place following the obligatory 5-seconds-penalty at the pitstop due to the second place from Monza.
After a solid race, Klien finished in eighth place (P4 in PRO-AM), two positions ahead of the #16 McLaren and gained two points in the PRO-AM standings.
Race 2, Sunday, 18th October 2020
The cards were laid newly on the table for Sunday. Christian Klien qualified in P8 in dry conditions and was two places behind the #16 McLaren.
Following an exciting start, Klien was forced to run wide going into the hairpin but was able to continue the race without damage on the car. The Austrian closed in on Fran Rueda´s #16 McLaren from lap six and would have been able to go quicker. The team decided to pit early on lap 11 since the gearbox temperature was running quite high. Krupiński took behind the wheel of the #88 Mercedes-AMG GT3 and went to complete his final stint of the weekend.
Meanwhile, the #16 McLaren lost one position down into seventh place. Krupiński was one seconds behind his closest rival at that time. However, there was pressure from a fast approaching Olli Millroy in the #7 McLaren 720 S GT3, who was soon involved in the battle.
Hahn lost control of his #16 McLaren in Turn 12 on lap 20, which allowed Krupiński to pass him on the inside to secure seventh place. Only one lap later, the Pole had a gap of one second.
With only four minutes to go until the end of the race, both McLaren #16 and #7 touched. However, they were able to continue the race, but the number 16 lost one position.
In the end, the JP Motorsport Mercedes crossed the finishing line in seventh overall and third place in PRO-AM. The team is now heading up the PRO-AM Championship with 61 points with only two races remaining and is clear by 3 points ahead of Marcelo Hahn.
The team is now staying on in Spa to compete in the prestigious 24-hours next week.
Our goal this weekend was to take back the lead in the championship and we managed to do so. Patryk showed an improving performance once again this weekend. He had strong stints and had some great overtakings in both races. In qualifying, especially in Christian´s run, we were defeated below our potential and hoped to achieve better at Spa. But compared to the turbo engines, such as the McLaren and the Ferrari, we were lacking with our Mercedes-AMG GT3 especially in the first and third sector. The weekend was a great preparation for the upcoming 24-hours, which are taking place next week.Dirk Martin, Performance Engineer
The highlight in Saturday´s race was without a doubt Patryk´s overtaking in Eau Rouge. This was a really strong move. He did also well in Qualifying, despite not being able to get the maximum out of the second new set of tyres. The temperatures in Spa were quite cold and the red flag did not help.
The race was good but difficult as we had the five extra seconds from Monza at our pitstop. But we were still happy with the result. Qualifying on Sunday did not go as planned. We had issues with the Set-up and were lacking Top-Speed especial in the first and third sector. As we had to pit early due to the raising temperatures, Patryk´s stint was a bit longer and maybe we lost out on second place. Despite all, Patryk had a good second stint and he was able to overtake our direct competitor (Marcelo Hahn). It was very important towards the championship, which we are now heading up again.Christian Klien (Austria)
It was a good weekend for us, and it was a lot of fun to drive at Spa. We learned a lot from the two races as a team. It was a good preparation for the upcoming 24-hours race, which takes place next week. Of course, we are very pleased to lead once again the PRO-AM Championship. We are also proud of having secured a podium at each and every GT Open weekend to date.Patryk Krupiński (Poland)