HALFTIME LEAD FOR EKRIS MOTORSPORT AFTER A PAIR OF WINS IN AUSTRIA
SPIELBERG (11 June, 2017) – Ekris Motorsport keeps on winning. After its pair of victories in the streets of Pau in the south of France, the Dutch outfit seamlessly continued its streak of success at the Red Bull Ring in Austria, the venue for round three of the GT4 European Series Northern Cup. The team’s drivers Ricardo van der Ende and Max Koebolt moved up from third on the grid to victory in the first of this weekend’s two races and then doubled up by taking the spoils on Sunday after good progress from fourth place on the grid. After its two wins in Austria, Ekris Motorsport is leading the GT4 European Series Northern Cup standings at the halfway point of the season. “A pair of wins here at the Red Bull Ring is even more than we had expected,” team owner Dick van Ekris says. “But what is making me even happier than the results in itself is the fact that our drivers are so pleased with the car, the way it handles and performs. It is a car we have developed and built ourselves, so that fills me with pride.”
In qualifying for the first race at the undulating track in the Styrian mountains, the Ekris Motorsport team was classified fifth, but was promoted to third on the grid due to penalties for other teams. In the race, that included one safety car intervention in the second half, the Ekris M4 GT4 moved up into the lead and then take victory after the driver in the leading McLaren had made a mistake and was called in for a penalty. Overnight, the Ekris M4 GT4 was given 25 kg additional weight and a ride height adjustment (3mm higher at the front and 5 mm higher at the rear), but that didn’t prevent the team from scoring its second win from the weekend in the race on Sunday.
Ricardo van der Ende: “Victory in the first race was our seventh podium from seven races this year, a great result. Above all, it is a fantastic success for everybody in the team. The car I had in this race was the best I have ever had. The strong point of the Ekris M4 GT4 is its consistency: where the performance of the predecessor started to drop off after eight or nine laps, you could drive our current car for one and a half hours and the performance still remains at the same level. Of course, handling of the car was more difficult on Sunday with the increased weight and ride height adjustments, but we managed to put in a faultless performance that resulted into yet another win. Not making any mistakes is the secret of our success, and that pays off, as we have been seeing so often this season already. I really have to praise Max as well, he is doing a great job in his first season in this series. Together, we are a great team. We may not be the fastest, but we are the best, and that is what keeps us going.”
Max Koebolt: “The Red Bull Ring was another new circuit for me and once again, my preparation on the simulator paid off. I probably had done a few thousand laps already before even arriving here, so I quickly found my way. In the first race I joined the field in second place after the pit stop and then was able to move up as the McLaren came in for its stop and go penalty, but as the McLaren driver had made a mistake in the final sector, I would have caught him anyway. Then it was just a matter of bringing it home. On Sunday, I made a good start and moved up from fourth to second straight away. I brought the car into the pits in that position and then Ricardo completed the job. I am really pleased with the way things are going for us at the moment. The fact that we are now in the lead leaves us in a comfortable position. We don’t have to push all the time. Now, we just have to keep scoring points and avoid any mistakes.”
The second half of the GT4 European Series Northern Cup season gets underway at the Slovakia Ring, 15 and 16 July.