Gary Hauser and Markus Pommer are crowned 2023 Prototype Cup Germany champions
Gary Hauser (31/LUX) and Markus Pommer (32/Untereisesheim, both Racing Experience) are the new champions in the Prototype Cup Germany, which is organised by the ADAC and Creventic. The Duqueine D08 duo finished runner-up in an eventful Sunday race at TT Circuit Assen in the Netherlands. Victory went to Ligier JS P320 drivers Max van der Snel (20/NLD) and Mark van der Snel (52/NLD, both More Motorsport by Reiter). Fellow Ligier racers Dino Steiner (54/Wehingen) and Nigel Moore (31/GBR, both Aust Motorsport) came home third to complete the podium. “We really did not expect to have already wrapped up the title by this point. It is celebration time now this evening. I am going on holiday tomorrow – where the party will continue,” said a jubilant Hauser on the podium.
Valentino Catalano (17/Westheim) had started the race from pole position in the DKR Engineering Duqueine. He held onto the lead at the start, whilst there were various collisions involving four cars in turns one and two. Among those involved in the chaos was the Duqueine belonging to Oscar Tunjo (27/COL) and Julien Apothéloz (22/CHE, both Van Ommen Racing by DataLab), who were second in the championship coming into the race but consequently had to retire. That meant that third place would suffice for Hauser and Pommer to secure the title with races still to come. Hauser emerged unscathed from the dramatic start, but fell back to seventh. Meanwhile, eventual race winner Mark van der Snel was moving in the opposite direction, having climbed into fifth place from twelfth on the grid.
After the majority of the first half of the race had been held behind the safety car, a battle for the lead developed between pole-sitter Catalano and Ligier driver Nigel Moore. However, the Brit then spun whilst attempting an overtaking manoeuvre and dropped back to fourth place. After the round of pit stops, Catalano’s team-mate Robin Rogalski (23/POL) took over with a commanding lead. Whilst all this was going on, Markus Pommer, who had taken over from Hauser early on in the pit stop window, was gaining one position after another in his Duqueine.
With roughly 18 minutes remaining, the former ADAC GT Masters driver moved into the third place he needed to wrap up the title, slotting in behind Rogalski and Max van der Snel, who had taken over from his dad Mark. Pommer and van der Snel then proceeded to close in on Rogalski. Four minutes from the end of the race, the Pole spun off into a gravel bed and was forced to retire from the lead. To allow the recovery of Rogalski’s Duqueine, a safety car phase was triggered, which continued through to the chequered flag. Victory meant Max van der Snel also won the Junior class, while his father Mark van der Snel rounded off a perfect day for the family by winning the Trophy competition.
The leading two cars were followed home in third place by Dino Steiner, who had taken over from Nigel Moore in the Ligier that started from second on the grid. Fourth place went to Jacob Erlbacher (23/Böblingen) and Courtney Crone (22/USA, both Gebhardt Motorsport) in a Duqueine, ahead of fellow Duqueine driver Leevi Vappula (17/FIN, Koiranen Kemppi Motorsport), who started alone in Assen. Wolfgang Payr (59/AUT) and David Hauser (33/LUX) were sixth in the second Duqueine of Racing Experience, followed by the Ligier duo of Jan Marschalkowski (20/Inning am Ammersee) and Jasper Stiksma (22/NLD, both MRS GT-Racing). Catalano/Rogalski were classified in eighth place.
Markus Pommer – champion and second place in the race for Racing Experience “The title feels very nice, particularly because I have been unlucky in the last two or three years. I am just happy and grateful that it has worked out. The race was a stormy affair. We had decided that Gary would come into the pits early, as he was stuck in a crowd of cars. I then pretty quickly found myself in third place. I did not want to take any risks to overtake Max van der Snel, preferring instead to follow him and close in on the leader. We then inherited second place when the leader spun off. We are mega happy.”
Gary Hauser– champion and second place in the race for Racing Experience “I really did not expect to wrap up the title this weekend. It feels incredible. I kept clear of any trouble at the start. I did not want to take any risks and all of a sudden there were crashes to the right and the left of me. I stayed out of the turmoil – which was key. After that, I just kept the car on the track and handed over to Markus.”
Mark van der Snel – winner for More Motorsport by Reiter “We are obviously extremely happy with the win. The start was chaotic, as I had to avoid three cars. However, I ended the opening lap in fifth place. I then held onto that position and came in early to hand over to Max, as he is a bit faster than me. We will celebrate this evening.”Max van der Snel – winner for More Motorsport by Reiter “It was an awesome race. My dad did a mega job in the first half of the race. When I got into the car, I just put my foot down to stay ahead of the car behind me. We gradually closed in on the leader, which allowed me to build up some pressure on him. When he made a mistake, I was able to pass him and take the win.”
Dino Steiner – third place for Aust Motorsport “This is my first year in the series and I am already on the podium. That is obviously great. Nigel laid the foundation with a huge performance in the first half of the race. In my stint, I wanted to avoid doing anything stupid and bring the car home in one piece. That paid dividends today. Thanks again to the whole Aust team, who did a really good job.”
Nigel Moore – third place for Aust Motorsport “We had a few issues at the start of the race weekend, but then improved consistently and ultimately claimed a great podium result. I had a spin in my stint, as I had lost a bit of aerodynamics at the rear of the car. That meant I lost some places at first. However, we fought back and are now happy with the result.”