Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS, 6-7 APRIL 2024

THE FIRST FGTWCE RACE OF THE SEASON AT THE PAUL RICARD ENDS IN P6 FOR SAM 

The first round at Circuit Paul Ricard kicked-off the new season of the Endurance Cup in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS. Sadly, it ended with a bitter taste for Sam De Haan, Ahmad Al Harthy and Jens Klingmann.

It was a challenging and closely-fought race throughout as predicted, and a strong points haul was looking promising, but the Oman Racing Team by WRT received an unfortunate 30-second penalty.

The race in the South of France, near the medieval village of Le Castellet, has acquired a well-defined personality thanks to the many interesting ingredients: its fast, technical and difficult and the 5.771km track is never easy to master in a 3-hour race that starts in the day and finishes in the afternoon on Sunday.

The weekend in Provence started with a P8 in Free Practice and P9 in Pre-qualifying by car #30 of De Haan-Al Harthy-Klingmann. The team worked well through both sessions and eventually improved their performance and qualifying yielded P6.

The sun was shining for the start of the race on Sunday, where Ahmad Al Harthy was first behind the wheel. Lap 1 saw him dropping one position in the Bronze Cup. A short Safety Car period was required for a racing incident involving the #32 and #51. After 2 laps, the race went green again and the #30 BMW M4 GT3 continued the fight, with Ahmad running consistently in P6.

After the first pit stop on lap 25 and behind a safety-car, the #30 now with Sam behind the wheel were running in P4 and improving the times and fighting for the podium. The Brit had a great stint, showing good pace. The Oman Racing Team by WRT made their final pit-stop on lap 51 and Jens jumped into the car for the 3rd and final stint of the race.

However, it was bad luck and the team received a 30-second timed penalty for track limits in the second hour, which meant a final P6 finish in the Bronze Cup. But, the team still claimed some points for the championship.

The next stop for Sam De Haan will be his home race at Brands Hatch for the first round of the Sprint Cup on May 4th– 5th.

Sam explained:

“Race was good. We had good pace from the start. Ahmad has a very strong stint, I took over and also continued to make places until I caught a large train of cars, in the battles unfortunately I was a bit too greedy with the track limits which cost us a penalty later in the race. Sorry to my team mates for that but we showed we had the pace to fight the top places. P6 in the end. Next time!”

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