Just a week after the opening round of the Simsport Racing GT4 Championship Season 4 at Imola, in which Luka Berk took an excellent victory ahead of a stellar cast of names including one Jenson Button and Pietro Fittipaldi, Zolder would be the venue for Round 2 of what was already warming up to be another intriguing season.
The Belgian circuit, a former host of the Belgian Grand Prix, famous for it’s wind turbines and of course the car-launching Kleine Chicane, would provide yet another challenging venue for the drivers to test their skills with it’s reputation for being notoriously tricky to overtake.
As ever, qualifying places were decided by the top 15 from the previous round reversed and with Jenson Button and a number of star names on the grid once again, it would be Sebastien Detollenaere who would lead the pack away from Pole with Dave Hedges sitting alongside on the front row. Season 3 Champion Karolis Sipavicius would certainly be looking to banish away the memories of a difficult race at Imola in 6th, while Jenson Button rounded out the top 10. Berk, Charlie Crossland and Aiden Browe would be the ones to watch as they looked to make their way through the field of yet another jam-packed grid.
With the lights turning Green and as the cars raced towards turn one, Dave Hedges took advantage of a slow start from Pole sitter Detollenaere to take the lead in his Mercedes, while Stephen Haley also made light work of the slow starting McLaren to move into second place and chase down his Simsport Racing colleague for the lead.
It was certainly a frantic first lap, with Crossland and Aaron Walker involved in a great piece of racing as the cars went through the final chicane as Walker used all of his defensive guile to hold off the fast starting Mercedes of Crossland who was looking to make early inroads. There were greats starts for Button and Browe, who were up to fifth and seventh whilst Luka Berk rounded out the top ten at the end of lap one.
Still in the early stages of the race, an enthralling five-car battle for seventh had started to ensue. As the cars raced towards turn two three-abreast, Aaron Walker decided to make an audacious move through the middle of the battling pair of Browe and Crossland. It was certainly a brave attempt, but the move edged the unfortunate Crossland out wide and almost off the track, although the Fordzilla driver did a great job to keep it on the tarmac and not lose too much ground on the battling pack ahead.
This was a battle that continued to rage on and while Aaron Walker continued to move through the field, Aiden Browe began to drop places and under threat of dropping out of the top ten having lost out to Berk and de Baar and finding himself under heavy pressure from Crossland.
Just ahead, as Detollenaere, Marshall and Walker fought it out for third position, Steve Proudley and Button became involved in a close, hard-fought battle, with the 2009 F1 World Champion having to be at his best to come out on top as the two diced it out in a hectic opening ten minutes of the race.
With Haley still leading the way ahead of Hedges, Aaron Walker was once again not far away from the action, as a slight tangle with Marshall as they entered the Kleine Chicane left the door open for Round One winner Luka Berk to move past them both and into the podium positions.
As the race entered it’s final stages and with Haley and Hedges enjoying a twenty second lead at the front, Berk and Walker once again went door-to-door as the battle for the final spot on the podium really began to heat up. In a fight that began at turn 2, Walker, who was clearly in a particularly boisterous mood, stuck it on the outside of Berk and stayed with him, getting a great exit out of turn four to use the pace of the McLaren to out-drag Berk’s Porsche and move up the inside and into third place as the pair dived into the Kleine Chicane.
With the 45-minutes up and chequered flag waving, Season 2 Champion Stephen Haley took the win ahead of Dave Hedges in a dominant display from lights to flag. Walker completed the rostrum in third ahead of Berk as Browe recovered well to bring his Aston Martin home in seventh, although later dropped to 20th as a result of stewards enquiries.. The Jenson Team Rocket duo of Buncombe and Button came home in 7th and 9th, reigning Champion Sipavicius endured another race to foget in 17th, whilst it was Daniel Handover who was promoted to 15th following a number of driver penalties and with it, Pole Position for the next race at Zandvoort.
Once again, Adam Isailovic and Aaron Martin-Pilkington have produced another excellent highlights video which you will certainly not want to miss ahead of Round 3, so please make sure you give it a watch and while you’re there don’t forget to hit the Like button and subscribe to our Youtube channel to ensure you don’t miss any of the action from our Live Stream as the drivers tackle the banks of Zandvoort and the fight for the Championship enters it’s next chapter.
We look forward to you joining us for another Wednesday Evening of close, action packed racing with all the usual twists and turns of the Simsport Racing GT4 Championship.
Driver and Team Standings after Round 2:
Picture courtesy of Angus Martin