In the face of a renewed Malmedie threat, Team Shmee150 had weathered the storm well down under in the penultimate round of the REMUS GT3 Championship. As expected, the Mount Panorama Circuit at Bathurst provided plenty of thrills and spills. Emre Cihan stood out as one of the better performers although a win would not come his way.
He’d hope that this would change with the final round approaching. The challenge of driving tin-top machinery around twisty tracks would only escalate at Macau’s legendary Gaia Circuit – home to the Macau Grand Prix.
After missing out on pole position last time out and with Shmee150 looking to put the championship to bed, Jack Keithley utilised his many years of experience to blitz the field in qualifying with a lap nearly five-tenths better than anyone else. One of Malmedie’s front runners, Florian Hasse, had a very important launch ahead of him.
Christopher Högfeldt was up there once again with Bence Bánki locking in a Shmee150 second row. Malmedie points leader Marko Pejic started from fifth on the grid.
Reminiscent of Sir Lewis Hamilton at the weekend, Hasse’s start could not have gone better. Taking the lead of the race, everyone else remained calm and well behaved behind. Unfortunately for Hasse’s nearest teammate, the pressure would get too much. Down at the impassable Melco Hairpin, Pejic lit up his Porsche’s rear tyres too aggressively. The resultant traffic jam not only ruled him out of the race but gave the top four a huge gap to manage.
The pilot to benefit the most from this calamitous mistake was Michael Rächl who gained four places up from 11th to seventh. Sadly for spectators, the action very much died down from there on in with the misadventures of Leonard Krippner the only real change in order to highlight.
Keithley’s patience could not have been more tested sitting behind the green and black Audi ahead. With five minutes to go, the British driver even picked up damage in an attempt to overtake down the outside of Lisboa. However, his chance would finally come after a poor exit up St. Francisco Hill for the German. The Bentley slipped through with glee.
In sensational fashion, the overall points leader earned another win to add to his cabinet; a second Race 1 win in consecutive weeks.
Team Malmedie desperately needed a big points haul in the final race of the season and the outset looked alright with a front-row lockout led by the previously unfortunate Pejic. Sadly, his partner and previous race winner Lucas Müller wasn’t in support for long. The German’s front bumper made acquaintances with the outside wall at Hotel Lisboa on the first lap.
Guest competitor Adam Christodoulou was systematically escorted down the order from his lofty starting position giving way to the likes of Adam Pinczes and Alex Dornieden, who could certainly affect the podium battle. Högfeldt, meanwhile, was tearing his way up the ranks with 12th place his and the better part of 17 minutes left to run.
A brief respite would require enduring as Maximillian Paul performed his best impression of a rolling roadblock keeping multiple cars behind from 9th. Finally, his resolve broke after a lap or so with Alessandro Ottaviani and the aforementioned Högfeldt slipping through immediately. This would start a domino of mistake after mistake. First a couple of scraps with the wall, then spearheading his own teammate Emre Cihan.
With the Swede’s rapid progression through the field, thoughts turned towards the Drivers’ championship and if an unlikely snatching of the title could occur. Unfortunately for Högfeldt, Keithley was calmly passing cars at his own pace. By the final lap, the Brit was in 10th.
So, despite Pejic cruising home for a Malmedie win, Team Shmee150 had done enough to win the championship’s spotlight battle whilst Jack Keithley was crowned the first winner of the Drivers’ title.
“It feels fantastic to win the Remus championship and great that my team, Team Shmee, won it!” explained the championship victor.
“We are all overjoyed and go into the new year not only with some extra cash in our pockets but also with the feeling of victory. I pray that I can carry this momentum into the new year with all the upcoming championships and that this winter will be a great time to improve on what I could have done better this year.
“I hope everyone has a great Christmas and a Happy New Year!”
- Jack Keithley – Shmee150 – 20:45.718
- Florian Hasse – Malmedie – +0.824
- Christopher Högfeldt – Shmee150 – +1.292
- Bence Bánki – Shmee150 – +3.891
- Emre Cihan – Malmedie – +8.461
- Petr Pliska – Malmedie – +9.878
- Michael Rächl – Shmee150 – +14.077
- Max Pfeifer – Malmedie – +19.722
- Marc Gassner – Malmedie – +20.164
- Alessandro Ottaviani – Shmee150 – +20.946
- Marko Pejic – Malmedie – 20:43.707
- Tim Jarschel – Shmee150 – +9.135
- M. Rodríguez – Shmee150 – +15.150
- Adam Pinczes – Malmedie – +15.821
- Alexander Dornieden – Shmee150 – +16.262
- Max Pfeifer – Malmedie – +16.708
- Christopher Högfeldt – Shmee150 – +26.068
- Leonard Krippner – Malmedie – +34.353
- Jack Keithley – Shmee150 – +40.201
- Alessandro Ottaviani – Shmee150 – +40.560