Gabriela Jílková survives 50-car field in GT4 Europe to score P7 and P5 at Paul RIcard
Gabriela Jílková and Robert Haub were back for the second round in the GT4 European Series at Paul Ricard – and the ZVO Drago Racing duo continued to put on a show with charging races, finishing P7 and P5 in ProAm class. It was "drive to survive", as Gabriela put it, with a packed 50 car field.
The second round of the GT4 European Series saw one of the biggest fields in GT racing with 50 cars sharing the track at Circuit Paul Ricard. Returning to the series after the Imola season opener were Gabriela Jilkóva and Robert Haub for ZVO Drago Racing, with their Mercedes-AMG GT4 which needed a positive result after some bad luck in the last ADAC GT4 Germany's weekend at the Red Bull Ring.
After Jim Pla and Beaubelique (AKKODIS ASP) dominated both practice sessions, it was the sister car of Gachet and Eric Debard to claim the pole position for Race 1, while Ibañez and Enzo Joulié scored pole for Race 2. The fastest driver in practice, Pla, missed the chance for a better starting position when his best lap was deleted because of track limits and his tires were at that point done for a second run.
Gabriela Jilkóvá put her Mercedes in P22 overall for race 1 while Robert Haub reached the 21st spot overall on the grid of Race 2.
It was then Ortmann and Sasse's race, with a powerful victory after coming from P11 to first at the chequered flag. But the way was long, as a five place grid penalty from the first round at Imola put them back to P11 at the start. At the front, Gachet led the race and pulled away quickly ahead of Verdonck (Gillion, PROsport Racing) and Pla.
A crash with two cars stranded in the run off with suspension damage triggered a Full Course Yellow, before a Safety Car collected the field for a restart while the pit window was already open.
Debard took over from Gachet from the lead, but was forced to come back into the pits for a stop-and-go-penalty for a shorter pit stop time – which put Beaubelique (Pla) into the lead. Sasse was already on the hunt after a good work by teammate Ortmann and put some pressure on the leader until Monti (Potty, SMR) tried to defend outside of the chicane and Sasse passed him for the lead to cross the finish line first, ahead of Monti/Potty and Joulie/Ibanez.
Gabriela Jilkóvá started P22 and had a great opening of the race, passing eight cars on her way up the order before she handed over to Robert Haub. The American had a great pace and took no risks, finishing P12 overall and P7 in class among a 50 car field.
"What a race again! Started P22 and finished P7 in class.", commented Gabriela Jilkóvá.
The second race was again a success for Aston Martin drivers Sasse and Ortmann. From pole, it was Ibañez who led the field into the race, but he was soon struggling to hold off the pressure of Sasse. He defended for a long time and still led as the pit window opened.
Sasse was one of the first in the pits to complete the driver change to Ortmann; Ibañez tried to stay out longer and he was then in shortly before the pit window closed again. Joulié remained in the lead but he had no chance to defend his position against Ortmann and ultimately dropped down to third – as Konstantin Lachenauer (Bowers, Racing Spirit of Léman) also made his way into second place. Sasse/Ortmann therefore secured a double win at Paul Ricard.
Robert Haub started from P21 and, just like Jilkóvá in race 1, he was able to make up many positions until he handed over the car to the Czech driver. Gabriela found herself in a big battling group of several cars fighting for track position. She stayed out of trouble and brought the car home in an impressive P15 overall and P5 in class.
"Today it was absolutely maximum from our side", she said. "We still need to learn and get more experience." - concluded Gabriela Jilkóvá
The next event will take place at Misano from 1st to 3rd July.