Vizin and Maréchal share the spoils in Hockenheim
Thursday 4 May 2023
Lotus Cup Europe headed to Hockenheim on the 21st & 22nd April supporting the MCS/ADAC Preis der Stadt Stuttgart event. The German circuit having become a permanent fixture on the championship’s calendar over the years. Round two saw the return of some familiar faces as Cai Cederholm, György Balogh and reigning 211/Open champion and overall runner-up Jean-Pierre Genoud-Prachex made their season debuts. A special mention must go to Sweden’s Cederholm as Hockenheim marked the start of his twentieth season of Lotus racing.
It would be a disappointing start to the weekend for György Balogh who encountered mechanical issues during the first free practice session which meant he would only drive a few laps of the circuit before sadly loading the famous Evora GT4 back onto its trailer, Balogh having trailered his car all the way from Hungary along with mechanic Alex. Balogh showed true camaraderie though as he stayed to support and cheer on the other drivers after their race. FP2 saw the withdrawal of JP Genoud-Prachex who was forced to put away his race suit after an accident left his 2-Eleven GT4 needing parts that weren’t available on the weekend whilst Exige driver Daniel Palma found himself in need of a new engine during the session, Palma however refused to let his weekend end there and organised for his son to drive through the night from Sweden with a replacement engine.
Reigning Exige Cup champion, Tamás Vizin, wasted no time as qualifying got underway, Vizin only driving a few laps before returning to the pits having secured pole position on his third lap with a time of 1:50.225. Paul Maréchal qualified second, followed by fellow team member Nikolaj Ipsen. Newcomer Wolfgang Henseler quickly settled into the GT Cup class, taking pole position ahead of Sven Pettersson and Jason McInulty. Nathalie Genoud-Prachex qualified first in 211/Open ahead of David McInulty who had his qualifying session cut short due to issues with his Elise Cup ESR. Mark Yates claimed pole in the Production class, followed by Robin Nilsson and Zolder’s poleman Bailey Edwards.
Race one would see the year’s first rolling start after the atrocious weather conditions at the opening round in Zolder left the pack starting behind the safety car for both races. Vizin put his pole position to good use and distanced himself from the rest of the pack, keeping the lead from start to finish albeit closely followed by Maréchal. Despite a great start, a spin at Mobil 1 Kurve left Henseler down in 15th on the first lap, testing the reflexes of the drivers behind who were forced to take avoiding action as the white #13 Evora span across the track. Whilst all drivers made it safely past, Ipsen who had been directly behind at the time of the incident found himself down in 7th position, the Dane made his way effortlessly back up through the field eventually battling it out with team member Verhiest for third place, Ipsen finally gaining the position in the final laps of the race. As always the Production class put on a show with Swede Nilsson taking an early lead before Yates once again gained the upper hand, however the battle was cut short as Nilsson was forced to retire shortly after.
Hungary’s Vizin took the chequered flag followed by the matching Exige V6 Cup Rs of Maréchal, Ipsen and Verhiest. Pettersson took the GT Cup win in 5th place ahead of Henseler, Rainer Börgens and 211/Open winner N Genoud-Prachex. Britain’s Mark Yates claimed his first Production win of the season with B Edwards taking second and Sweden’s Cederholm completing the class podium. Two new lap records were set during the opening race of the weekend as Vizin took the overall lap record from reigning champion Bence Balogh with an impressive time of 1:49.586, Yates also setting a new record in the Production class with a time of 2:00.991.
The second race saw the championship’s first standing start on the new Nankang CR-S tyres. Poleman Vizin had a disappointing start finding himself down in 5th on the first lap whilst Luxembourg’s Maréchal took the lead, the #52 car holding onto the lead for the whole race. Ipsen settled into 2nd place early on leaving team member Verhiest in third. J McInulty set his sights on fellow GT Cup driver Henseler but the purple and gold Evora GT4 would soon be forced to retire. Yates put on a great performance in the Production class, holding B Edwards off throughout the race whilst Carr made the most of Nilsson’s mechanical issues and moved up into 3rd. The race would unfortunately come to an early end with a red flag called for Henseler’s white Evora which was on fire. An incredibly fast response from the marshals on the nearest post and the safety teams that had been scrambled by the early red flag meant the fire was rapidly brought under control. Luckily, Henseler was quickly able to exit the vehicle and was soon seen by the medical team. The incident serving as a reminder to everyone of the major roles marshals, medics, fire and safety teams play in motorsport.
With the red flag signalling the end of the race, Maréchal took the overall and Exige Cup win followed by Ipsen and Verhiest, giving Racing Team Th. Verhiest a full podium. Race one winner Vizin finished 4th ahead of Henseler who took the GT Cup win despite a difficult end to the race. Palma’s Exige V6 Cup R made its way up into 6th position with its new engine after having started at the back of the grid, finishing in front of 211/Open winner N Genoud-Prachex whose 4th win of the season leaves her at the top of the championship standings. Britain’s Yates took the Production class win ahead of compatriots B Edwards and Dave Carr with Sweden’s Cederholm finishing 4th in class. Evora GT4 driver Pettersson finished in 12th position, having completed a sufficient number of laps before retiring to the pits. Germany’s Kai Leymann made it four finishes out of four.
Lotus Cup Europe will return to Germany on 12th & 13th May this time to Oschersleben, a new venue for the majority of drivers.
|Race 1||Overall||Exige Cup||GT Cup||211 Open||Production|
|1st||T Vizin||T Vizin||S Pettersson||N Genoud-Prachex||M Yates|
|2nd||P Maréchal||P Maréchal||W Henseler||B Edwards|
|3rd||N Ipsen||N Ipsen||C Cederholm|
|Race 2||Overall||Exige Cup||GT Cup||211 Open||Production|
|1st||P Maréchal||P Maréchal||W Henseler||N Genoud-Prachex||M Yates|
|2nd||N Ipsen||N Ipsen||S Pettersson||B Edwards|
|3rd||T Verhiest||T Verhiest||D Carr|
Driver of the weekend: Hockenheim
Daniel Palma – Exige V6 Cup R
Daniel’s son left Sweden for Hockenheim late Saturday night with a new engine.
Komo-Tec fitted it Sunday morning and Daniel finished race 2.
Championship standings: www.lotuscupeurope.com/standings
Highlights video: fb.watch/kpIFKVLBjM/