First season win and championship lead for Max Koebolt and Simon Knap
MOGYORÓD – With their MDM Motorsport BMW M4 GT4, Dutch drivers Max Koebolt and Simon Knap arrived at the Hungaroring for the penultimate race weekend of the GT4 European Series in third place in the drivers’ standings. They head home as the new points’ leaders. At the Grand Prix circuit near the Hungarian capital of Budapest, a strategic tyre choice in the first race enabled Koebolt and Knap to score their first race win of the season. In the race on Sunday, again with changeable weather conditions, they finished seventh overall and sixth in the Silver Cup. With the results from Hungary, the Dutch duo moved up into the lead of the drivers’ standings. “This is more than we had expected. Of course, we will now try to clinch the title in the final weekend of the season,” Knap and Koebolt say.
In qualifying for race one, Koebolt ended up eighth with a time of 1m54.280s. Simon Knap drove in second qualifying, decisive for the starting grid positions in race two, and was classified seventh with a time of 1m54.607s. “We weren’t too happy with our classifications, but seventh or eighth place is where we have been almost all the time in qualifying this season, so that is probably where we are with the speed of our car,” Knap said.
Koebolt took the start of the first race and was able to move up from eighth to fourth place straight away. “Everybody went to the inside, but I stayed on the outside and thus was able to make up some positions,” he reported afterwards. “Then, I saw two drivers battling for second place and I decided to wait for them to make a mistake. That is what happened and I went past. After that, the rain set in and made things interesting. We opted not to change from slicks to rain tyres during the pit stop, because you have to stand for 30 seconds when you do so as per the regulations. We tried to get an advantage by saving that time.” That worked out well: after the driver change, Simon Knap rejoined the race in the lead. He managed to keep control of his car with slick tyres on the wet track until the safety car came out. “How much luck can one have,” Knap laughed. “It was pretty difficult to follow the safety car because of the aquaplaning. Eventually, race control decided to stop the race due to the conditions and thus we emerged as the winners!”
Knap was the starting driver in race two. Again, there was rain, but now prior to the race already, so that the team decided to start with rain tyres. “During my stint, the track dried out pretty quickly, so it was clear that slicks would be faster eventually,” Knap said. Accordingly, tyres were changed during the pit stop and Max Koebolt left the pit lane with slicks for the final stint. “It took me a while to get the tyres to the working temperature, but once they had warmed up enough, the speed was there and we finished seventh overall and sixth in class as a result.”
With the results scored in Hungary, Knap and Koebolt are leading the drivers’ standings for the first time this season. That puts them into a promising position for the final race weekend of the year at the Nürburgring, 15-16 September. “That is a circuit that is know to be slightly favourable for BMW. Provided we don’t get too big changes in the balance of performance, we hope to do well there. Winning the title is our goal,” the two drivers announce.