CHALLENGING RACE AT THE NÜRBURGRING FOR LEONID MACHITSKI
Leonid Machitski and the Barwell Motorsport team looked like they were set to have a strong race weekend at the Nürburgring, but sadly it turned out to be a tougher challenge than expected.
Machitski was full of confidence going into the next round of the GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS, along with teammates Sandy Mitchel and Rob Collard finished in P6 in the very competitive series at the famous Nürburgring. It was a final position at the chequered flag that the team had hoped to have finished higher.
At the beginning of a very promising race weekend, Barwell’s Pro-Am #77 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo backed by Vimetco Extrusion / Asterus proved at ease on the German track, topping the final 50-minute paid test sessions on Thursday with Sandy Mitchell posting the unbeatable time of 1m56.023s. On Friday the British squad’s car was second fastest in Free Practice and again in Pre-qualifying, before taking P3 in the combined qualifying in Pro-Am category. A position that the team felt confident from in challenging for the win.
The race began with good weather conditions and a track temperature of +19.8C. Rob Collard had made a strong start and moved the team up from P33 to P27 overall and moved into the lead of the Pro-Am just after the first lap, when all of a sudden the safety car was deployed because of an incident involving several cars which had made contact at turn one. The race resumed shortly before the first pit stop window opened, with Rob making the first pit-stop on lap 29 and was then back on the track to finish his stint. He had maintained P20 overall and P1 in PAM before handing over to Sandy Mitchell for the next stint.
The Brit continued to lead PAM in the race, before the driver change meant that Rob was taking over for his final stint. Unfortunately contact was made with the #56 Porsche on lap 78, which sadly dropped him back to P3 in category.
It was exactly halfway to go out of the 6hrs race, when Machitski jumped into the car. Leonid showed great speed and clear overtaking, putting the #77 in P2. When he was overtaking the second place FFF Lamborghini he was hit and this caused the puncture which then meant an extra pit stop and dropped the team back.
The next stint saw Sandy Mitchell jump into the car for his final single stint, before handing the #77 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo back to the Russian driver to go on and complete the 6hr race.
Leonid Machitski: “It was a tough and unfortunate race weekend. We had a very good qualifying session and could aim for a strong race result, but we just missed a little bit of good luck. We were leading the first 3hrs of the race before our car made contact with Porsche which cost us a few positions. It is what it is and now we have to focus on the big one – Total 24h of Spa”.
Sandy Mitchell: “It was a difficult race for us, but we seemed to have good speed when we were on track and the car was very good. The team did a good job. Unfortunately, we had some contact when Rob Collard was driving with one of the Silver Class Porsche’s. Rob was hit from behind and then we had spun around which meant that we lost a lot of time and crucially fell behind the leaders of the overall race which meant when the pit-stop’s started under the FCY it didn’t work well for us. So therefore, we lost some time. Sadly, we had also a puncture driving the race too which didn’t help our progress either. Yeah it was quite a crazy race, but happy that we were able to lead it in our class for nearly 2 and a half hours, but it was just the final part that didn’t quite go for us. We just needed that little bit of luck. Now I look forward to Spa.”
Mark Lemmer (Team Principal): “After Rob’s incredible start, we were looking good leading for the first two and a half hours of the race. Unfortunately, there were complications in the race when Rob got turned around by the Porsche. However, the guys showed great speed to fight back and to take sixth place with some hard earned points”