"It's hard to find words for this!" - W&S Motorsport experiences tragic weekend at GT4 European Series season opener in Monza
Well prepared and motivated, W&S Motorsport headed to Italy for the first weekend of the GT4 European Series season at the Autodromo Nationale di Monza. With two Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport and the driver crews consisting of Max Kronberg and Hendrik Still in the #30 and Charles Dawson and Gustavo Xavier in the #442, the team wants to build on the successes of their debut year in 2022. After two serious accidents in testing and qualifying, the racing team of Patrick Wagner and Daniel Schellhaas had to return home even before the first race started.
After successful test days in France and Italy, the GT4 European Series race weekend on the legendary Formula 1 high-speed circuit in Monza began on Thursday with the first stroke of fate. After promising first laps, both Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport cars crashed heavily, both drivers were injured. With an incredible logistical masterpiece, the replacement chassis set off from Ofterdingen to Monza on Thursday afternoon and arrived late at night. The Porsche was then prepared until the early hours of the morning to be ready for technical scrutineering on Friday morning. Here, the entire team proved how motivated and experienced they all are and did a first-class job and were committed beyond the normal level.
Relief came in the first free practice session on Friday, when Hendrik Still drove the #30 around the track as the best Porsche in the Pro-Am class and fifth in the field of 50 GT4 cars. But the joy after the first kilometres of the freshly built Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport unfortunately did not last long. In the first qualifying session on Saturday, Still fell victim to an oil slick and crashed into the tyre barriers. A few seconds later, an opponent met the same fate and crashed into Still's side without braking. Fortunately, Still escaped the car with only minor injuries. But the weekend was over for W&S Motorsport before it really got going.
Daniel Schellhaas, Team Principal W&S Motorsport: "We travelled to Monza full of hope and the first lap times of our drivers already looked very good. The first setback with two heavy damages was painful. What our team then achieved was super and I am proud to have such a motivated crew. Without a break, the third Porsche Cayman GT4 was prepared overnight and without a single test lap we were immediately able to run at the front of the field. But unfortunately, the racing gods did not mean well with us. Hendrik was hit extremely hard after slipping on fluid and the third car was also badly damaged. You cannot really have that much bad luck at once and it is hard to find words for it. The most important thing at the moment is that the drivers have all escaped reasonably unscathed. Now it's a case of rolling up our sleeves to get the cars ready for the next race. I would like to thank the whole W&S Motorsport family who helped and supported us to get a replacement chassis to Monza and set it up so quickly. The tireless maximum effort and team spirit are unique! Thanks also to Porsche, the organiser SRO and the medical staff at Monza for the great support and assistance on site and the kind words from our fellow competitors."
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