Pole and podium puts Endurance Cup title within striking distance
Sky Tempesta Racing secured second place in the Pro-Am Class at the penultimate round of the 2021 Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup, held at the Nürburgring, Germany, on 4-5 September 2021. Sky Tempesta Racing leads the Pro-Am Teams’ Standings by 19 points, and is just one round away from the 2021 titles concluding with 26 points available.
Drivers Chris Froggatt and Jonathan Hui were joined by Italian Rino Mastronardi in the #93 Sky Tempesta Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 for the three-hour endurance event, which was contested around the 5.137km, 17-turn Nürburgring track in the Eifel region.
Guest driver Mastronardi set a fastest lap time of 1:56.072 during the first qualifying session of the weekend. In Qualifying 2, Hui set the pole position time of 1:56.194, with Froggatt achieving a lap of 1:55.461 in the final qualifying session. The combined time of 1:55.909 secured the Sky Tempesta Racing trio the Pro-Am pole position by a strong margin and added a point to each driver’s championship points tally.
From the 42-strong grid, Mastronardi led the team’s charge. He put in a strong drive, defending hard from the #20 SPS Automotive Performance Mercedes-AMG in the latter stages of the first stint. However, a slow first pit-stop meant the team lost 20 seconds and the Pro-Am lead. With Hui at the wheel during the middle stint, the team was running consistently fourth in class despite the best efforts from the rest of the field. As the final pit-stop window opened, Hui handed over to Froggatt for the final stint, which would turn out to be a dramatic ending to the race.
With 33 minutes on the clock, a safety car period compacted the field, which Froggatt took advantage of and jumped into third position. Up ahead, the #19 Orange1 FFF Racing Lamborghini was leading the class with the #20 SPS Automotive Performance Mercedes-AMG in second place. With 12 minutes to go, the #20 with Fabian Schiller at the wheel dived into the lead. Yet he soon faced heavy traffic and ended up running wide at the chicane, allowing the #19 Lamborghini to reclaim the lead. As the clock ticked down, Froggatt was on a final charge to the finish line and took advantage of Schiller’s mistake, managing to pass him in the closing laps. As the three-hour race came to a conclusion, Froggatt brought the #93 Sky Tempesta Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 across the finish line in second place to put the team on the podium.
Sky Tempesta Racing leads the Pro-Am Team Standings having secured 91 points this season, with the closest rival team on 72 points. In the Pro-Am Drivers’ Standings, Froggatt leads on 88 points with Hui in second place on 82 points, as Hui was forced to miss the first round of the season due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.
Chris Froggatt: “Along with the rest of the team, I’m very happy with the podium result this weekend. As always, the racing was close and competitive. Given the cards we were dealt with in terms of losing time in the pits, everyone did a fantastic job of maintaining focus on our goals, keeping their heads down, doing whatever possible and working hard to catch up with the front-runners. We’re one step closer to the championship title. We can’t wait to go to Barcelona and seal it!”
Jonathan Hui: “This was a hard earned result and we can be proud of what we’ve achieved. Going into this weekend, we were devastated to learn that our regular star driver Eddie Cheever would not be permitted to join our line-up. Thankfully, we were able to recruit the highly experienced racer Rino Mastronardi, winner of the 24 Hours of Spa in Pro-Am, to keep our championship hopes alive. For the second year in a row, we had a problem in the pit stops, this time losing us 20 seconds. It was flat out driving to try and claw back the lost time, and I must say that both Rino and Chris did amazing jobs to bring home P2.”
Rino Mastronardi: “The Nürburgring race was very good and fun for me. Pole position was great; Chris, Jon and I did a very good job. It showed straight away that we had a strong and fast car and a chance for the race as well. Second place was an amazing result and I can’t wait to go to Barcelona and compete again with Sky Tempesta Racing – the team is amazing, the people are super nice and I immediately felt at home.”
The Pro-Am Teams’ and Drivers’ titles of the 2021 Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup will be decided in Barcelona, Spain, on 8-10 October 2021. Ahead of this, Sky Tempesta Racing will head to Valencia, Spain, on 24-26 September for the conclusion of the 2021 Sprint Cup.