Last weekend, the two races that form the Road to Le Mans formed one of the international highlights of the season on the LMP3 scene. Among those in action were teams and drivers from the Prototype Cup Germany, and they claimed a total of eight results in the top ten. The best of these was a second place courtesy of Reiter Engineering and its two drivers Freddie Hunt and Mads Siljehaug. The Nielsen Racing pairing of Anthony Wells / Colin Noble were waved home in third place, while WTM Racing took a fourth place with Torsten Kratz and Leonard Weiss at the wheel. Kratz also set the fastest time in his qualifying session.
The two 55-minute races at the 13.626-kilometre Circuit de la Sarthe featured on the support programme ahead of the 24-hour race, which provided a big stage for the competitors. This clearly motivated Kratz in the second qualifying, which he ended in first place. Even a red flag in the middle of the session was unable to stop the man who also shares a Duqueine with Weiss in the Prototype Cup Germany. The fastest man in qualifying one was Stuttgart’s Laurents Hörr in a DKR Engineering Duqueine.
Kratz and Weiss started race one from 13th place on the grid, one position behind Wells and Noble, and two ahead of Hunt and Siljehaug. The Reiter Ligier, with Hunt – son of the 1976 Formula 1 world champion – at the wheel, initially battled its way through half of the field. By the time all the driver changeovers had been completed, and with Siljehaug now in the driving seat, it had taken the lead. However, the Norwegian was unable to withstand the pressure applied by the chasing pack and dropped back to fifth place. Wells and Noble fared better in their Ligier, crossing the finish line in third place. That made Nielsen Racing the best Prototype Cup Germany representative in that race. Jamie Winslow came home eighth and could be very satisfied with his place in the top ten; he had switched to the DKR Engineering team for the outing in Le Mans, but usually drives a Ligier for Inter Europol Competition in the Prototype Cup Germany.
In the second heat, the Safety Car was called into action with roughly 20 minutes remaining, as two stranded cars had to be recovered and the crash barriers repaired in the Mulsanne turn. After the restart, there was only time for another two laps, which Siljehaug started from the front of the field. However, as in the first race, he was again unable to defend the lead in race two; this time, he followed Duncan Tappy over the finish line. Weiss also put the Reiter driver under plenty of pressure, but the German was unable to find a way past. In fact, he actually lost third place by the end of the race and ultimately came home fourth. Winslow also made it into the top ten; he and his partner Alexander Bukhantsov finished seventh, ahead of two Nielsen cars. The duo of John Melsom and Matthew Bell, who also start in the Prototype Cup Germany, came out on top in the battle within the team.
The fourth Prototype Cup Germany team to travel to Le Mans was Inter Europol Competition. After failing to finish the opening race, Donald Yount and Noam Abramczyk crossed the finish line in 20th place in race two.
22 – 24 April Spa-Francorchamps (B), 24H Series
15 – 17 July Nürburgring, ADAC Truck Grand Prix
19 – 21 August DEKRA Lausitzring, Family & Friends Festival
21 – 23 October Hockenheimring, ADAC GT Masters
(subject to changes)