First victory in the ADAC GT Masters for EFP by TECE in Sachsen!

Monday, September 10, 2018


Unexpected often comes, the vernacular knows. And not so rarely this truism also applies to motorsport. Often enough followed by bad luck this season, lucky goddess Fortuna was for once really kind to the team EFP by TECE at the Sachsenring. However, the first victory in the highly competitive "League of Super Sports Cars" in Sunday's race was also quite unexpected for the team from Bobingen near Augsburg.


At first, the race weekend on the 3.6 kilometre long mountain and valley track near Hohenstein-Ernstthal had not even started as planned. The first qualifying session on Saturday morning was quite a mess for Florian Spengler (30, Ellwangen) and Dries Vanthoor (19, Hasselt/B) in the Audi R8 LMS with starting number 12 as well as Elia Erhart (30, Roth) and Pierre Kaffer (41, Salenstein/CH) with starting positions 25 and 30. And even the final positions 21 and 24 in the first one-hour race didn't elicit any cheers from the participants.


That changed a lot the next day. Although the second qualifying with the starting positions 17 (Vanthoor) and 26 (Kaffer) didn't go according to plan, this was due to a technical problem at the brake of the 12 and a competitor driving on a blockade course at the 11. And the chaos and drama of the second race was hard to beat.


The preliminary decision was made when the pit stop window was opened between the race minutes 25 and 35. While most of the peloton went to the pits early for the mandatory driver change, the EFP by TECE team management decided to leave their cars on the track, with the result that the two yellow-black Audi R8 LMS were now clearly in the lead. When another incident forced the safety car onto the track again, team boss Holzer recognised the opportunity and ordered Vanthoor and Kaffer into the pits immediately and simultaneously. Because both cars made it back onto the track in front of the peloton behind the safety car, they were now almost one lap ahead after they had re-connected to the peloton.


Since the safety car was mistakenly placed in front of the wrong car, the race control decided, to the regret of the Holzer squad, to "wave-by" and allowed the peloton to lap back again, which meant that Erhart and Spengler had their direct rivals right on their necks again. Unfortunately, Spengler made a small mistake in the 12-minute final sprint to the chequered flag, which ultimately cost him and his partner Vanthoor 17 positions. Kaffer-Co Erhart, however, proved his nerves of steel and drove the victory home in spite of furious attacks by his backman and brand colleague Sheldon van der Linde.


"Leaving the cars outside when opening the pit stop window was like an inspiration," laughed team boss Thomas Holzer. "At first we had assumed that the yellow flags would remain in view of the Ferrari stuck in the gravel. But when the safety car drove onto the track, we immediately fetched both cars and luckily brought them back onto the track in front of the lead car. 20 seconds later the whole field would have been over again. In qualifying we lacked luck again - in the race we got it back twice and three times."


The season finale of the "League of Super Sports Cars" will take place on 22/23 September in Hockenheim.






Images Copyright: Roland Hasenmüller, Michael Ehrensperger

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