First win for Catalano / Rogalski in the Prototype Cup Germany
The duo Robin Rogalski (22/POL) / Valentino Catalano (17/Westheim, both DKR Engineering) prevailed in the second race of the Prototype Cup Germany in the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben, recording a first triumph in the LMP3 series organised by the ADAC and Creventic. “The whole weekend was brilliant, the team did a great job and our car was perfect. We will go into the upcoming race weekends in a great mood, having learned a lot here,” said a jubilant Catalano.
Oscar Tunjo (27/COL) and Julien Apothéloz (22/CHE, both from van ommen racing by DataLab) and Markus Pommer (32/Untereisesheim) and Gary Hauser (31/LUX, both Racing Experience) followed in second and third positions. This was the fourth podium finish of the season for both duos, in the fourth race of the Prototype Cup Germany 2023. Tunjo / Apothéloz also departed the Magdeburger Börde region as championship leaders.
The start saw Xavier Lloveras (23/ESP, van ommen racing by DataLab) take the lead, but the Spanish driver rolled out of contention with technical problems on lap two. Valentino Catalano inherited top spot ahead of Julien Apothéloz, while Lucas Mauron (25/CHE, BHK Motorsport) claimed third place at the restart after the safety car phase triggered by Lloveras. The Swiss driver was subsequently chased by Danny Soufi (19/USA, Konrad Motorsport) and Gary Hauser, but he was able to defend his position.
BHK Motorsport had to abandon any hopes of securing a podium finish during the pit stop for the driver changeover, as the engine refused to restart in the Ligier, prompting the retirement of the Swiss duo Mauron / Elia Sperandio (17/CHE, BHK Motorsport). Constantin Schöll (24/AUT, Aust Motosport) also spun around and could not get out of the gravel trap. Race control initially called for yellow flags there, followed by a Full Course Yellow (FCY) phase to recover the Aust Ligier. By the time the pit-stop window closed, Catalano and Robin Rogalski enjoyed a large lead over their rivals and were able to secure the win. “I had to focus on driving through traffic, but apart from that it was a relatively quiet race for me. I could have gone faster but I didn’t need to take the risk,” explained Rogalski. His team-mate Catalano delivered an honest assessment: “We were certainly lucky with the timing of the FCY, and Robin didn’t have to risk everything.”
While Oscar Tunjo and Apothéloz, as well as Markus Pommer and Hauser, were in no danger of losing their positions behind the DKR duo, Danny Soufi was applying pressure to Martin Andersen (28/DNK, Mühlner Motorsport) in fourth place and Sebastian von Gartzen (30/Butzbach, Konrad Motorsport) could only see Nico Göhler (20/Grasleben, BWT Mücke Motorsport) in his mirrors. Andersen successfully defended his fourth place, while his rival Soufi fell back one place after losing a wheel on the final lap. Göhler managed to overtake von Gartzen, securing fifth place with his team-mate Gustavo Kiryla (29/BRA). Soufi, von Gartzen / Maximilian Hackländer (33/Rüthen, Konrad Motorsport) and Marco Kacic (20/CAN) / Jan Marschalkowski (20/Inning am Ammersee, both MRS GT-Racing) completed the top eight.
Julien Apothéloz – Second place for van ommen racing by DataLab
“That was a pretty unspectacular race for me, as I was in second for nearly the whole time. It was difficult to improve on that as it is not easy to closely follow a rival with the LMP3 cars.”
Oscar Tunjo – Second place for van ommen racing by DataLab
“We were a bit unlucky with the timing of the Full Course Yellow, as we had already completed our pit stop, while leaders Robin Rogalski and Valentino Catalano were still in the pits when the FCY began. Nonetheless, I am happy with the podium as that was our objective.”
Gary Hauser – Third place for Racing Experience
“You certainly have to be satisfied with rounding off a bad day in third position. I lost two places at the restart after the safety car phase as I hadn’t got the right temperature in the tyres. I then stayed in fifth until the driver changeover.”
Markus Pommer – Third place for Racing Experience
“I went right on the attack when I took over the car from Gary. Our Duqueine was really good over the distance and I was able to post good lap times. However, we do have a bit of homework, as we always need a few minutes at the start of a session to get up to speed. I am pleased with third place nonetheless.”