Div.B Brands Hatch Report

written by mark_van_haze

pictures by The-Nameless-01

Season 3 Round 1 Division B GT4: Brands Hatch

Sprint Race

The 3rd season of the EGTM started with a reverse grid sprint race, where the grid positions are inverted to the qualification order. Two drivers were missing so batti and McMalan came in to fill the grid.

  1. Grisu
  2. Marcelpocki
  3. Manuel5025
  4. AKMakko47
  5. The Nameless
  6. McMALAN
  7. Berthouben89
  8. Mark van haze
  9. Meisterbock
  10. RF Heinz
  11. Simbalora
  12. Batti
  13. ii_nookal

Right from the start things were heating up with McMalan riding off towards the pit wall and Mark lagging badly, forcing him to drop out of the race entirely.

After the first lap shuffle, Grisu kept his lead, followed by Manuel, Nameless and AKMakko. As they dropped into Druids, the two Mercedes drivers were battling it out, with Manuel taking the inside line but not managing to make the pass while Nameless climbed right into 3rd and pulling up to the bumper of Manuel. But it didn’t last for long as Nameless missed the braking point and caught the gravel with his rear tire in Hawthorns, causing him to slide over the track and also bump battis flank.

Meanwhile Meisterbock was pushing his GTR hard and in lap 3 managed to grab the lead over Grisu. As the leading pack entered the last turn, we got to see Grisu, Manuel and batti 3 a breast racing to the line. But then a collision between the whole group caused some massive damage and only Meisterbock, Simbalora and batti pushed through the chaos.

But the collision fest went on and AKMakko caught some gravel in Hawthorns and nookal had no chance and slammed right into him. Nookal went straight to the pits but for the sprint race, this was a death blow.

Lap 5 Meisterbock was still leading, followed by Simbalora and batti7, while McMalan was trying his best to push past batti7.

Lap 7 AKMakko on 6th was pressuring Marcelpocki but Brands Hatch is a track that really does not offer many opportunities for overtaking, so it really comes down to waiting for that error of the leader, to make a move.

By lap 8 McMalan passed into 3rd and a really fast recovering Nookal got all the way up to 4th again and on the way, he drops a fast one with 1:28:625 too. But for Manuel things were not looking good as he made too many mistakes and fell all the way down to 11th, after a slip in the final turn, giving RF Heinz the 10th position.

By lap 10, Meisterbock had a 4 secoind lead over SImbalora who was ahead of McMalan in 3rd by over 12 seconds. In 4th was batti and followed by AKMakko who managed to fight back into the top field. Nookal was dropping back a bit and ended up in 8th. And so the final lap concludes with a win for Nissan and Meisterbock.

Final standing Sprint Race

  1. Meisterbock
  2. Simbalora
  3. McMalan
  4. Batti7
  5. AKMakko
  6. Marcelpocki
  7. ii_nookal
  8. Berthouben89
  9. RF Heinz
  10. Nameless
  11. Manuel5025
  12. Grisu
  13. mark_van_haze

Main race

A pretty decent formation lap opened the first race of the season with the grid line up as follows:

  1. Nookal
  2. Batti7
  3. Simbalora
  4. RF Heinz
  5. Meisterbock
  6. Mark van haze
  7. Berthouben89
  8. McMalan
  9. Nameless
  10. AKMakko
  11. Manuel5025
  12. Marcelpocki
  13. Grisu
  14. LoneSurvivor

Right from the start nookal managed to clear some space between himself and the rest of the field.  Batti in 2nd trailed him by 1.2 seconds and then after him came a very tight pack consisting of RF Heinz, Simbalora, Meisterbock and mark van haze. For the following few laps, Simbalora and Meisterbock kept a very tight battle, with mark van haze getting the advantage of the third in a battle, closing the gap.

By lap 6, Simbalora goes for the attack on Heinz, as they storm down side by side into the long and descending turn 1 but the GTR did a good job on defending. And so another lap passes with the leading pack glued together while the first pitstops were coming up. Mark van haze stayed out for another lap and slipped into 4th, with Heinz in 3rd, batti in 2nd and nookal leading with a comfortable 2.5 seconds.

However just when the flying chicken was feeling good coming down Sheen curve, the KFC Porsche of mark van haze slipped on the grass and sent him into a spin. Luckily the damage was only on the front aero and other than dropping into 5th, he managed to get into the pits without any issues.

Lap 8 saw batti who had yet to pit, took the lead with 19 seconds over manuel, then nookal in 3rd, Heinz 4th, Meisterbock 5th, Simbalora 6th, AKMakko 7th and Nameless 8th. There were various pitstop strategies, mainly depending on how far the drivers could push their medium race tires but for the most part, nobody filled up to the max as at least one more pitstop was unavoidable.

 Coming out into lap 9, batti just managed to push past nookal, keeping the lead with a 0.4 second gap. A 3.3 second gap down we saw Heinz holding his own, followed by Meisterbock and Simbalora in 5th. AKMakko was in 6th followed by McMalan and then mark van haze in 8th.

Lap 13 starts with AKMakko coming out of his pitstop, joining the grid in position 12 while batti was still being pressured by nookal who was trailing by only half a second. But batti was unphased and drops a fast lap of 1:28.017. On 3rd was Heinz followed by Meisterbock and pretty much at the same distance Simbalora in 5th.

Lap 15 the battle in the front continues although now the Audi of batti was struggling on the spent tires and nookal was right up his rear tailpipe, just waiting for a tiny mistake and take the lead. Even so, the battle was always a clean one, making for a thrilling race for the next few laps.

Lap 17 starts with Meisterbock and Simbalora in the pits, shifting the line up with Simbalora in 3rd, McMalan 4th and mark van haze in 5th again. Things were looking good for the flying chicken (if I may say so myself) and by lap 18 the first cars were being lapped. Batti and nookal were still battling it out and the question who would get the lead came down to a tiny mistake by batti who in the Sheene curve followed in mark van hazes tire treads and slips in the grass, giving a clear pass through for nookal.

Batti rejoined losing only time as he still had a 8 second lead over Simbalora in 3rd. Luckily there was no damage and while nookal did manage to grab the lead, the same lap he had to do his pitstop, so the 19th lap started with batti back in the lead, Simbalora in 2nd, McMalan in 3rd, Heinz 4th and nookal 5th. Meisterbock in 6th followed by berthouben in 7th and mark van haze in 8th.

Batti finally had to do his last pitstop and rejoined the grid at lap 20 with nookal right behind him in 2nd. Heinz was not trailing badly either, so this was still looking like a very close fight for the lead. However, with 12 laps to go, there was still a lot ahead and although batti and nookal didn’t have to pit anoymore, there was going to be more shuffling in the order as other driver still had their last pitstop coming up.

Lap 22 Heinz was struggling to keep the gap down and now had a 2.7 second problem ahead of him. However, he did also have a comfortable lead over Meisterbock who now had Simbalora breathing down his neck. By lap 23 Heinz went in for his last pitstop and as he came out of the pitstop, the flying chicken just slips ahead of him, grabbing 5th position. By lap 25 Meisterbock goes in for his last pitstop and this causes the final shake up with batti leading, nookal in 2nd, Simbalora in 3rd and an incredibly happy mark van haze in 4th.

Still the battle between batti and nookal went on with hardly any gap between them and again, it all comes down to keeping your nerve if you are ahead and putting on the pressure if you are trailing. But rolling into the last turn of lap 27, nookal made a small error, causing to open up a gap of 1.2 seconds. Now that the race was coming to an end, this was going to be a hard climb for nookal and on top of that, there were cars to lap, making passes impossible. By lap 29 the gap increased to 2.5 seconds, making it near impossible to catch up unless batti made a mistake.

Meanwhile quietly in the background, the flying chicken was killing it with constant 1.28 laps and getting faster, even on spent tires, with Heinz trailing him by 1.4 seconds. With 4 laps to go, things seemed to settle in, all looking good for batti when suddenly in lap 29 on turn 1, batti went wide shovelling gravel and nookal flies past coming out of Druids in the lead.

Batti might have lost the nerve for a split second but he was not going to have this race slip through his fingers and fought hard to stick behind nookals BMW, reducing the gap to 0.6 seconds. 14 seconds down Simbalora in 3rd was struggling to keep the pace, probably because he was smelling fried chicken now only 3.3 seconds behind him.

More lapping of back markers sees the gap between nookal and batti stay around 0.7 seconds, by then both on rather spent tires running 1:29 laps. Still 14 seconds behind was Simbalora whos laps were also around 1:29 while the KFC Porsche was doing really solid 1:28 laps, fuelled by Hot Wings. Coming into the final turns of lap 31, it all got a bit too much and Simbalora lost control, sliding into the gravel while mark van haze slips into 3rd.

And so the final lap started with nookal giving it all, leading with a second over batti while both were battling their spent tires but it was not enough for batti and nookal took the win.

final standing main race

  1. Nookal
  2. Batti
  3. Mark van haze
  4. Simbalora
  5. RF Heinz
  6. Meisterbock
  7. McMalan
  8. Berthouben89
  9. LoneSurvivor
  10. AKMakko
  11. Marcelpocki
  12. Grisu
  13. The Nameless
  14. Manuel5025

Rewatch Stream:

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Photos credits Michael Janik

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