The magic returns for Gabriela Jílková at Zandvoort in ADAC GT4 Germany
After a few unlucky rounds, Gabriela Jílková and Robert Haub returned to Zandvoort one year after their podium in ADAC GT4 Germany - and the spark was back: with an outstanding recovery, the ZVO Drago Racing duo finished fourth after an action-packed race.
The ADAC GT4 Germany series returned to Zandvoort after a spectacular round last year, with more racing action taking place at the Dutch track over the weekend. At the third race weekend of the 2022 season, Indy Dontje and Phil Dörr led the rankings at the midpoint of the championship.
She was on fire last year, protagonist of an amazing recovery and of the move of the year, when she reached the podium with a last lap pass on the final banking: Gabriela Jílková returned to Zandvoort with high hopes as, together with Robert Haub, the ZVO Drago Racing duo aimed for a repeat of that success.
On Friday, Robert Haub was first in the #4 Mercedes AMG GT4 for the first qualifying session and set a fast lap that would put them in P16 for the first race. Due to a grid penalty from an incident at the previous round in Austria, he would start from 21st position into Race 1 on Saturday.
Sasse (Ortmann, PROsport Racing) started from the pole position and pulled away right after the start, quickly opening a margin of four seconds to the following cars. Behind him, in fact, a tough battle saw Lenerz (Piro, piro sports-Burg Zelem Foundation), Vincent Andronaco (Pichler, Allied Racing), Ben Dörr (Leroux, Dörr Motorsport) and Jan Philipp Springob (Gruber, Drago Racing Team ZVO) swapping positions until the pit window opened. But then, chaos began.
Rain started to fall and after the first cars were in the pits - among them was Robert Haub, who handed the car over to Gabriela Jílková - race control decided to put the race under a full course yellow for the difficult weather conditions. The neutralization was not good news for Haub/Jílková. The rest of the field completed their pit stops under yellow and, right after the pit window had closed, the race was interrupted by a red flag.
The restart took place with wet tyres for the whole field and Ortmann pulled away quickly from the rest of the field, continuing his teammate's job. The duo finished first ahead of Leroux and Theo Oeverhaus (Hanses, CV Performance Group), who charged through the field from P8 to the last podium spot. Behind them there was great racing action with some close battles and overtakings taking place, but Gabriela Jílková had little chances to recover after the unlucky pitstop timing and finished P22 at the end of the race.
On Saturday, cars also hit the track for the second qualifying which set the grid for race 2: Sasse and Ortmann confirmed their great pace at Zandvoort with the pole position for Sunday's race. Gabriela Jílková put her Mercedes AMG GT4 on a strong 8th place despite the changing weather.
"Bad luck with the weather in my Quali. P8 when half of the track was wet isn‘t that bad anyway" - she said.
Ortmann started from pole and pulled away from the rest of the field, leading Denis Bulatov (Mayer, Eastside Motorsport). Behind them, there was action for third place between Hendrik Still (Kronberg, W&S Motorsport), Leroux and Oeverhaus; after some position changes, Oeverhaus took over third place. From eighth place on the grid, Gabriela Jílková once again put on an awesome show and repeated her outstanding performance at Zandvoort: she recovered several positions with great passes, stayed out the longest and, with around 20 seconds left on the pit window time, she pitted from the lead of the race. After a great stop, Robert Haub was back out in P3 after the round of stops.
Sasse was back in the lead and managed the race without problems, bringing home the second victory of the weekend. Robert Haub had to defend his last podium spot against Ben Dörr, while Hanses held second position. Haub was eventually passed by the fast Aston Martin for third, but Hanses dropped to fourth after a penalty lap because of an infringement during the pit stop - handing Haub third place again.
The American just about missed out on a podium but crossed the finish line in an equally strong fourth place at the end of the race. It was Jílková/Haub's best result of the season so far and proved what the duo is capable of doing in trouble-free races.
"P4 in Zandvoort! What a race once again! We started from P8! Great job Drago Racing Team ZVO", Gabriela wrote.
The series will return from 5th to 7th August at the Nürburgring, after a month of summer break for the second half of the season. Gabriela Jílková and Robert Haub, though, will be back on track this weekend for the third round of the European GT4 Championship at Misano, Italy.