After being knocked off the top of the rankings by German pilot Swen Dolenc (Fach Auto Tech Porsche 911 GT3 R) at the last racing weekend at the Eurospeedway (DEU) Marc A. Hayek (CHE) tried his best at the beginning of the weekend to take the lead again. There is only a seven points difference.
The TT Circuit Assen (NLD) is 2.83 miles (4.555km) long and fast. The track is also new to Hayek. Therefore he used the two free practice sessions to get to know the peculiarities and to complete kilometres in his Lamborghini Gallardo LP600+. His partner, Peter Kox, had a home advantage this weekend.
The qualifying session took place in perfect racing conditions late Saturday afternoon. By then, Hayek was able to use his new knowledge about the track placing his car in P28 with a starting field of 39 cars. Peter Kox thought that his qualifying session afterwards could have been better because the Dutch got stuck in the traffic after only one lap. Nevertheless, he placed the Gallardo in P7 for the second race on Sunday noon.
Hayek went first in the race on Saturday and left the chaos at the start behind him without any problems. The starting rain caused difficult conditions but only for a short time since the track began to dry up again. Hayek pushed through safely. However, his direct competitor in the amateur class, Swen Dolenc (Porsche 911 GT3 R), spun and lost a few places in lap 7. His partner, Daniel Dobitsch, was forced to retire the Porsche shortly before the end of the race due to a technical fault.
Kox took over the Gallardo after a very fast pit stop by Team Reiter Engineering and did a phenomenal job pushing from P26 to P13 in the end. As a result, Marc A. Hayek won in the amateur class scoring 25 points and reaching the top of the rankings again after the first race.
Due to sudden rain the race on Sunday was dominated by yellow phases and a safety car phase shortly after the start. Almost all teams decided too late to fit wet tyres causing chaotic conditions on the very wet track. Peter Kox and all his competitors came into the pit lane at the same time to change to wet tyres. Hans Reiter’s team did a phenomenal job and as a result Kox gained places with his Gallardo during the stop and after the safety car phase. Hayek took over in P8 and was able to keep up until the end of the race even though the wet tyres deteriorated more and more on the drying track. In the end he won a place on the podium taking the lead in the amateur class with 207 points, with Oliver Mayer (DE) 12 points behind him.
The final race of the 2011 ADAC GT Masters season will take place at the Hockenheimring in Germany from September 30th to October 2nd, 2011. German TV station Kabel 1 will broadcast the races live in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Marc A. Hayek:
“By the end of the qualifying sessions I had become a bit more familiar with the track and the times got better. Well, the result could have been better but I am happy. In the first race the speed of the car was good. However, overtaking was very difficult because I did not want to risk anything. When it started to rain I was able to keep up with my slick tyres even though you could not see a lot due to the spraying water. Later, Peter gained a lot of places ensuring my victory in the amateur class. I am happy to be back at the top again.
I was not happy at all with the race on Sunday. The wet tyres were overheated after two laps and therefore not much of use anymore. After that you are only a passenger in the car. At least we scored some points and now I am looking forward to the last racing weekend at the Hockenheimring.”
“After a good free practice session it became clear that our conditions for the weekend were not too bad. Marc (A. Hayek) has become better and better. My qualifying session was not great and in retrospect I am very happy that I was able to reach P7. I simply did not have a free lap. I was the first one to go out but after one lap I got stuck in the traffic. Finding a good strategy is difficult considering this large amount of cars.
In the race on Saturday Marc (A. Hayek) was confronted with the same conditions as at the Red Bull Ring recently when it started to rain shortly after the start. He managed well using his wits and the car was in a good condition when I took over. During my stint the track became dry very quickly and I managed to gain a few places and eventually win the race for him.
On Sunday I managed a good start and wanted to support Johannes (Stuck) when Philipp Eng (Corvette) wanted to pass me at all costs and touched me. Someone else crashed into me from behind immediately afterwards and then I made a mistake which cost a lot of time. The team did a phenomenal and fast job during the pit stop. I had a great new start after the safety car phase and was able to gain a few more places. The conditions were extremely difficult for Marc (A. Hayek) and he absolutely wants to be at the top of the rankings at the end of the season. Anyway, he has taken the lead again and that is great for all of us.”
Hans Reiter (Team principal, Reiter Engineering):
“Marc (A. Hayek) was not familiar with the track but did a phenomenal job, once again a very positive surprise. This track in Assen has very fast turns which require a lot of courage and Marc has a lot of courage. Peter (Kox) placed the car in P7 in his qualifying session. However, we were not happy because we were not able to find a free lap for him. Our strategy was not ideal and because of this he got stuck in the traffic. He did not get to set his fastest time until lap 8 and then only with used tyres.
On Saturday we were able to win back the lead for Marc (A. Hayek). He is still learning very quickly and manages to implement it on the track. On Sunday we did not react well when it started to rain. Our change to wet tyres came much too late. At least almost all the other teams did the same which was quite good. In the end everything worked well for Marc (A. Hayek). We were able to win back the lead in the amateur class on Saturday and build upon that on Sunday and with this we will travel to the Hockenheimring.“