In spite of heartbreak in finale, Max Koebolt and Simon Knap “absolutely happy” after strong GT4 sea
NÜRBURGRING – Dutch drivers Max Koebolt and Simon Knap have concluded the GT4 European Series season equal on points with the eventual champions. Because of this ex-aequo, the number of race wins was decisive for the title. As a result, the Dutch team with the MDM Motorsport BMW M4 GT4 was classified third in the final standings of the hotly contested series. “A result we can be absolutely happy with. We didn’t have the fastest car this season, but by consistently scoring points and not making any mistakes, we end up equal on points with the champions. We have worked hard to achieve this and this is a nice result,” the two drivers commented after the final race weekend of the season at the Nürburgring.
This time, it was Simon Knap who drove in qualifying for the first race. With his time of 2m05.836s, he ended up sixth in the field of 45. “Nothing untoward, just a good lap,” was his verdict. Max Koebolt drove the BMW with starting number 1 to ninth place in second qualifying with a time of 2m05.185s. “That was a better lap time than we had expected after free practice,” he said.
At the start of the first race, Simon Knap opted for the outside line, which turned out to be the right choice as he was able to move up to third place right away. He then managed to defend this position from his charging opponents so that be brought the car into the pits for the mandatory pit stop in third place. “We just did our job,” Knap briefly commented afterwards. During the second half of the race, Max Koebolt battled with a KTM and a Ginetta and eventually had to let these two cars ahead. “It is always the same with the lighter cars,” he said later on. “They have much less tyre degradation, so that they have a considerable advantage in the closing stages. That clearly showed again today.” Thus, Knap and Koebolt were classified fifth in the first race, putting them equal on points with the British HCC Ginetta team prior to the final race of the season that was to decide the battle for the title.
Beautiful late summer weather ensured excellent conditions for the decisive race on Sunday morning. Max Koebolt was the starting driver in the BMW, but his race was a brief affair. His comment: “Another car was tapped into a spin in front of me and the car was facing into the opposite direction. The driver braked when I arrived and I had absolutely nowhere to go. That was the end of our race, really bad luck.” For Simon Knap, disappointment was huge as well. “Fluids were coming out of the car everywhere. There was nothing we could do anymore. Too bad, but we were fighting till the end. We still ended up third in the championship, equal on points as the champions, so that says enough.”
Knap en Koebolt are happy looking back upon the GT4 European Series season: “We were able to consistently score points in a highly competitive field. We scored podium finishes on four consecutive weekends including victory in the previous round in Hungary that brought us back in the battle for the title, in which we were able to compete till the very end. We have worked hard and got the maximum out of every race. We are absolutely happy with that!”