The third round of the ADAC GT Masters took place in Belgium at the Circuit Zolder last weekend. 34 dream sports cars competed at the 4,000 m (2.5 miles) long former Formula 1 track.
Swiss Marc A. Hayek races in a Team Reiter Engineering Lamborghini Gallardo LP600+ with starting number #24 this season. He shares the Italian racing car with experienced Dutch pilot Peter Kox and competes in the amateur class of the ADAC GT Masters series.
Hayek used the free practice session on Friday to familiarise himself with the track, where he raced for the first time. The qualifying session on late Friday afternoon took place in difficult conditions in the rain. However, the Swiss managed it well and finished the qualifying sessions without any damages.
The race on Saturday started in dry conditions with Hayek in P31. He managed a good start and was able to gain a few places during his stint. In lap 16 he came in for the mandatory stop and driver change. The Dutch took over in P23.
According to the rules the duration of the pit stop from the pit entry to the pit exit is 70 seconds minimum. The Stewards of the Meeting obviously determined that this duration was cut short by two seconds and gave Kox a stop and go penalty. As a result of this Kox lost a lot of places. In the end he was able to regain a few places and reach P15, winning a great P2 in the amateur class and a place on the podium for Hayek.
Peter Kox started the second race on Sunday in great weather from P15. After a serious crash in the first lap the safety car came out. A few cars in the front collided. Kox passed the site of the crash without damages and pushed forward in his stint. During the driver change at half-time Marc A. Hayek took over the Lamborghini in P6. Once again the team did not watch the time, undercutting the mandatory duration again. The Swiss had to come in for a stop and go penalty. In the meantime almost the entire field passed, Hayek dropped to the end of the field and finished the race in a disappointing P19.
Marc A. Hayek: “The qualifying session was difficult under those conditions. I did not know the track and fought against the downpour. Zolder is a very nice track, I really like it but overtaking is not easy. The car feels really good and I realize that I get better and better. Unfortunately the pit stops in both races were too short and we were given a stop and go penalty each time. After that we could not expect any good places anymore. I am looking forward to the next race at the Nürburgring. I have never driven there before either.”
Peter Kox: “We did not do great in the qualifying and did not have good start positions. In race 1 on Saturday we were given a stop and go penalty because apparently we cut the mandatory duration of the pit stop short by two seconds. I do not really understand that. However, we were able to win the second place in the amateur class for Marc (Hayek) and that is important. On Sunday we managed well. However, during the pit stop the same happened like on Saturday. We got out too soon and Marc (Hayek) was given a stop and go penalty. That is very frustrating; especially with the great lap times he set. We could have reached the top 5 in the championship and Marc (Hayek) could have won a place on the podium again. He gets better and better and there are still a lot of races for scoring points in the amateur class.”
Hans Reiter, team principal: “Two stop and go penalties in one weekend, that is not acceptable and we have to do something about this in the team. However, Marc (Hayek) did a great job. After the driver change in the race on Sunday he set lap times comparable to those of the top field. He gets better and better with every race.”
Marc A. Hayek is leading the amateur class with 93 points.
Marc A. Hayek will compete at the Nürburgring on the next racing weekend (July 8th - 10th, 2011). Both races will be broadcast on Saturday and Sunday at 11.45 a.m. by German TV station Kabel 1 in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.