Racing Experience duo also lead the championship. Second-placed Valentino Catalano and Robin Rogalski win the Junior competition. Sensational fightback from Saturday’s winners Tunjo and Apothéloz ends on the podium.
The Sunday race in the Prototype Cup Germany was quite something. Exciting motorsport, thrilling wheel-to-wheel battles and fantastic overtaking manoeuvres offered spectators at the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg great entertainment. At the end of an action-packed race, it was Gary Hauser (31/LUX) and Markus Pommer (32/Untereisesheim, both Racing Experience) who took victory on a Duqueine D08, ahead of fellow Duqueine racers Valentino Catalano (17/Westheim) and Robin Rogalski (22/POL, both DKR Engineering) in second place, and Oscar Tunjo (27/COL) and Julien Apothéloz (22/CHE, both JvO Racing by Downforce Motorsports, also Duqueine) in third. “I simply cannot describe how nice this triumph is. A huge thank you goes to the whole team, which has worked day and night to make this possible,” said a beaming Hauser. The man from Luxembourg and his team-mate Pommer now head to the next race weekend at Motorsport Arena Oschersleben as championship leaders.
Local favourite Valentino Catalano started the race from pole position and immediately pulled clear of the field at the start. A few places behind him, however, things got rather turbulent and tight in the approach to the hairpin. The victim was Saturday’s winner Apothéloz, who was spun by a rival and dropped to the back of the field. Unaffected by all the turmoil further down the field, Catalano continued to go about his work at the front and had opened a lead of a good four seconds over second-placed Gary Hauser by the time the pit stop window opened. “Our strategy was to look after the tyres in the first half of the race, to give us the chance to attack towards the end of the race,” said eventual winner Hauser, explaining the team tactics.
It was a very different story for Apothéloz, who battled his way through the field after the spin on the opening lap, and handed the Duqueine over to team-mate Tunjo in seventh place. The driver changeover initially changed nothing at the front of the field. Catalano’s partner Rogalski was able to defend his lead against Markus Pommer, who had taken over from Hauser. However, the former ADAC GT Masters driver gradually closed in on the Pole as the race progressed. With roughly three minutes remaining, he pulled off a skilful manoeuvre to take the lead and ultimately the win.
“I had a good stint, but it is really hard to overtake in Hockenheim with an LMP3 car. I was able to put some decent pressure on the car in front. When he then made a slight mistake, I passed him. After second place yesterday, winning today is the stuff of dreams,” said Pommer. Catalano and Rogalski also had cause for celebration. Second place overall was enough to earn them victory in the Junior competition.
There was also plenty of action behind the two-way battle at the front. Tunjo had by now gained more positions and closed in on third-placed Lucas Mauron (24/CHE) in the second Duqueine of JvO Racing by Downforce Motorsports. At almost exactly the same time as the lead was changing hands, the Columbian took third place from his Swiss team-mate, who went on to finish fourth alongside Gabriela Jílková (28/CZE).
Fifth place went to the Duqueine of Gustavo Kyrila (29/BRA) and Nico Göhler (19/Grasleben, both BWT Mücke Motorsport), ahead of the best-placed Ginetta G61-LT-P3 of Sebastian von Gartzen (30/Butzbach) and Maximilian Hackländer (33/Rüthen, both Konrad Motorsport), and the Ligier JS P320 of Elio Sperandio (17/CHE, BHK Motorsport). Rounding off the top eight were Jan Marschalkowski (20/Inning am Ammersee) and Marco Kacic (20/CAN, both MRS GT-Racing) in another Ligier. Victory in the Trophy competition went to ninth-placed Ligier driver Mark van der Snel (52/NLD, More Motorsport by Reiter).
Valentino Catalano – second place for DKR Engineering: “I was immediately able to pull clear a little from the start. When I then saw that the lead was growing all the time, I became increasingly motivated. I was ultimately able to stretch the lead by a few seconds and give Robin a good cushion. He then did a super job. We are really pleased with second place and the Junior win.”
Robin Rogalski - second place for DKR Engineering: “For me, today was all about getting to know the car better. Ahead of the weekend, I had not had many opportunities to do so. However, we did very well. I was able to improve my pace and learn a lot. The podium is what we expected after Valentino’s pole position and our goal for the coming races.”
Julien Apothéloz – third place for JvO Racing by Downforce Motorsports: “I was spun by another car on the opening lap, which was a bit unnecessary. The fact that we were able to fight back so well is obviously great. When we spun, I never expected to finish up in third place. In doing so, we really made the most out of the situation.”
Oscar Tunjo – third place for JvO Racing by Downforce Motorsports: “It was a tough race with a happy ending. Having found ourselves in last place on the opening lap, we managed to make it onto the podium. That is obviously great for the championship. I also had a great battle with my team-mate Lucas at the end. I made the right move at the right moment and overtook him to take third place. We have good pace and I am also happy for Julien. If we didn’t know how to do it before, then we certainly learned to overtake today.”