Despite no out-and-out dominant evening for either team in the REMUS GT3 Championship, there is no denying that Team Shmee150 appears to have had the greatest early-season strength in depth. Leading Malmedie by just shy of 100 points heading into Round 4 at Road America, there was a lot of work for the likes of Florian Hasse and Marko Pejic to do.
Both drivers actually hold more points than new Shmee150 points leader Christopher Högfeldt, who played a starring role last time out at the Red Bull Ring. He’d be hoping to put an end to his mercurial form and begin a new chapter of his RaceRoom Racing Experience career.
No one would have expected yet another refresh of front runners yet the REMUS GT3 Championship produced intrigue yet again. Sitting on pole position would be Emre Cihan; the Turkish driver featuring strongly a week ago with impressive top ten drives following his ADAC GT Masters Esports GT4 championship victory. He would lead a timely Malmedie front row with Max Pfeifer stealing some of the spotlight with a great lap.
A new face spearheaded the Shmee150 effort with Alessandro Ottaviani, securing his first top-three start ahead of the established Hasse and Högfeldt. If Malmedie was to gain points back on their rivals, it appeared here would be as good an event as any to do it.
The start for the green team could not have gone much better with Hasse flying past a sluggish Ottaviani, keen to stick with the front row who stretched their legs early. Marc Gassner meanwhile was left to fend off the horde of Shmee150 cars eager to make haste. The most dramatic affair on Lap 1 arrived through Kettle Bottoms as Alex Dornieden veered sharply into the wall after a touch from Petr Pliska behind.
Involved in intra-team on-track negotiation last time out, Cihan was once again holding a firm hand on his intentions defending from a very eager Pfeifer; hungry for championship points. Eventually, with half the race still to run, the German triumphed through Thunder Valley, though not without serious persistence.
The fallout was catastrophic for the pole sitter with his run out of the final turn compromised. Both Hasse and Ottaviani made sure to escort the previous race leader off the podium. The red mist descended and sadly Ottaviani was in the Cihan warpath being spun heading towards Turn 6.
It wasn’t just Malmedie with driver squabbles though. Over at Shmee150, Tim Jarschel was providing Högfeldt with all sorts of trouble. The two would switch places after the Swede twitched via contact ahead with Gassner out of Turn 14.
Things would go from bad to worse as, under pressure from Pliska, he would careen into the inside wall where Ottaviani found himself earlier. There were no excuses for his rejoin, taking out the helpless Adam Pinczes.
The drama ran right to the last lap as Pliska and Jarschel went at it, but Pfeifer came home calmly, in the end, to win his first race of the season ahead of Hasse and, surviving investigation, Cihan.
Malmedie would appear in the frontrunner majority for Race 2’s starting grid. However, in a twist, Högfeldt ended up on pole following his earlier antics. He would lead the field out of Turn 1 ahead of Lucas Müller and Marko Pejic. Cihan, Jarschel and Leonard Krippner would be early casualties.
The messy opening corner swung a positive power play in Shmee150’s direction putting greater emphasis on the now leading Malmedie of Pejic to chase down the Swedish leader. Previous race winner Andre Santos would have a huge moment through the exit of Carousel, aiding the cause of the green team.
With Pejic chasing the win, Müller was left horribly isolated against the trio of Shmee150s behind. After a couple of laps, Bence Bánki was finally able to pass the German; almost providing passage for Dornieden in the process. Yet further up the field, his sacrifice was not in vain with Pejic grabbing first place with relative ease.
Müller’s trials were not yet run with contact forcing him to concede to Dornieden, Keithley and indeed Pinczes before Axel Vermeylen had to take evasive action himself to avoid a collision.
As the clock confirmed five minutes left to run, the battle for the lead heated up once again. Högfeldt would not stay put and muscled his way back past Pejic with the ever-closing Bánki a bigger part of their rear-view mirror. The German had cooked his tyres in trying to bite back instantly and, as the Mercedes entered battle with him, the Corvette pulled away.
Perhaps still to feel the full wrath of the stewards, Högfeldt would go part of the way to redeeming himself with a battling win. Pejic would hold on to second ahead of the charging Bánki.
Race 1 – Top 10 results
- Max Pfeifer – Malmedie – 20:43.705
- Florian Hasse – Malmedie – +0.670
- Emre Cihan – Malmedie – +3.754
- Marc Gassner – Malmedie – +9.611
- Tim Jarschel – Shmee150 – +9.996
- Petr Pliska – Malmedie – +10.369
- Martin Barna – Malmedie – +11.987
- Alessandro Ottaviani – Shmee150 – +12.198
- Michael Rächl – Shmee150 – +13.997
- Luciano Witvoet – Shmee150 – +16.771
Race 2 – Top 10 results
- Christopher Högfeldt – Shmee150 – 20:44.488
- Marko Pejic – Malmedie – +2.830
- Bence Bánki – Shmee150 – +3.244
- Alexander Dornieden – Shmee150 – +3.770
- Jack Keithley – Shmee150 – +6.947
- Adam Pinczes – Malmedie – +7.343
- Petr Pliska – Malmedie – +7.469
- Luca Müller – Malmedie – +9.554
- Alessandro Ottaviani – Shmee150 – +9.730
- Julian Kunze – Shmee150 – +9.862