14th July, 2019 – International GT Open, Red Bull Ring
Frederik Schandorff and Tuomas Tujula took a convincing Pro-Am victory in Saturday’s GT Open race at the Red Bull Ring and finished fifth overall.
Series regular Frederik Schandorff was joined by Finland’s Tuomas Tujula for the fourth round of the International GT Open Championship which took place this weekend at the Red Bull Ring in Austria. The competitiveness of the field was clear from the free practice sessions when the top eighteen cars were covered by less than one second. It was Tujula who qualified the car for race one and the Finn set a time of 1’28.996, just eighth tenths off the pole and second fastest in the Pro-Am category.
From his spot on the fifth row of the grid Tujula was quick to take the class lead in race one, passing Hahn’s McLaren on the opening lap and slotting easily into the middle of a long train of cars queuing up behind Grenier in third place. As the race settled down the VSR driver focused on putting pressure on the cars ahead of him, Konrad’s Mercedes and Wilkinson’s Aston Martin, while pulling out a margin to Hahn behind. A drive through penalty for Crestani pushed the VSR Lamborghini up to eighth overall and when the pit window opened on lap nineteen Tujula had a nine second gap to Hahn and the rest of the Pro-Am field. He pitted immediately and Schandorff took over at the wheel of the Lamborghini, exiting onto a clear track. Hahn stopped one lap later and his co-driver Khodair set about attempting to catch Schandorff but the Danish driver was just too fast. One of the quickest on track for most of his stint his mesmeric consistency allowed him to keep a comfortable five second gap to the pursuing McLaren. Schandorff took the flag in fifth place, claiming the team’s first Pro-Am victory of the season.
Sunday morning’s qualifying was undertaken by Schandorff who, hampered by traffic on his best lap, set the fifth fastest time in class in a difficult session which included a red flag and light rain in the final minutes. When the race began he made another aggressive start and was up to third in class by the end of the first lap, running between Khodair and Lisowski. A lap later Lisowski nudged him wide and the Lamborghini slipped down to eighth place, fourth in class. For the rest of the first half of the race the positions throughout the field were stationary and Schandorff remained in the slipstream of Lisowski’s Audi. The pit window opened on lap sixteen and Schandorff was the first of the Pro-Am runners to stop, handing the VSR Lamborghini over to Tujula. The pair had accumulated a significant success handicap of fifteen seconds and Tujula exited the pits behind Liang. He was soon past the Chinese driver and back up to sixth in Pro-Am but was ten seconds back from Froggatt’s Ferrari in fifth. As he closed on the Ferrari, Froggatt in turn was reeling in Hahn and Habul, and on the final lap the four cars were covered by just two seconds. Whilst there were no changes of position before the chequered flag fell a time penalty for Froggatt promoted Tujula to fifth in class.
VSR’s most successful GT Open weekend so far this season leaves Schandorff second in the Pro-Am championship with three double header race weekend’s left. The next race will be at Silverstone in September.