Max Koebolt and Simon Knap again on the podium at Misano
After their pair of podium finishes in the previous race weekend at Brands Hatch, the Dutch NSL sponsored driver Max Koebolt and Simon Knap again scored a top three finish at the circuit of Misano Adriatico. In the first race of the third round of the season in the GT4 European Series, Koebolt and Knap finished third in the Silver Cup. “From 13th place on the grid, we were able to make good progress, but finishing on the podium is not something we really had expected,” Koebolt and Knap commented.
For the Dutch duo, preparation for the weekend was anything but ideal as conditions with torrential rain prevented almost any running in Friday’s free practice sessions. “It was unbelievable how much water there was on track. Therefore, we decided to use the time to practice pit stops and driver changes,” Max Koebolt reported. In qualifying for the first race, Koebolt posted the 13th time while Simon Knap was classified sixth in qualifying for race two. “We had to deal with a balance of performance that didn’t do us any favours, but fortunately, it was changed between qualifying and the races,” Koebolt said.
It was Koebolt who drove the opening stint in the first race. “I had a lack of grip on the front axle which made it difficult to keep up,” he said. “Then a Porsche hit me from behind. It turned out that the bumper, the differential cooler and the exhaust were damaged, so we were lucky being able to continue in the first place.” After the pit stop during which the team carried out a quick repair, Simon Knap drove the remainder of the race. He managed to make up many positions. Initially, he was fifth across the line in the Silver Cup with the BMW M4, but after two opponents were penalised, the Dutch duo was classified third. “After the pit stop, I rejoined the race in 22nd place and I was able to move up quickly after that. It was a crazy race, and then a podium finish on top of that. Now that was really special,” Knap laughed.
Knap took the start of the second race and showed a strong performance, but a wheel and the steering were out of alignment following contact with another car. “I had some battles that also involved contact. The pit stop wasn’t perfect either, so we lost some more time there,” Knap reported. Koebolt added: “After the stop, driving was difficult for me. I was lacking grip and that is just what you need here at Misano. Moreover, gear shifting didn’t work well, which didn’t make things easier either. Nevertheless, we kept the damage limited and we were classified ninth overall and eighth in the Silver Cup.”
The next two races of the GT4 European Series will be held at the circuit of Spa-Francorchamps: the series is racing in the Belgian Ardennes on 21 and 22 July. “That is a track we both know well. The long straights should be better suited for the BMW, although this season shows that nothing is certain. At Spa however, we want to be in contention for victory,” Koebolt and Knap announce.