Ricardo van der Ende and Max Koebolt claimed their first victory of the GT4 European Series Northern Cup season at the Red Bull Ring on Saturday, giving Ekris Motorsport its first win of the season.
The Ekris M4 GT4 took the lead during the second part of the race and went on to win overall, while also taking the first ever Silver Cup victory in the series.
The Silver subclass has been introduced this weekend, adding a new driver classification alongside existing Pro-Am and Am ratings.
Koebolt took the race lead after the pit stops, passing the Bullitt Racing McLaren 570S GT4 when Stephen Pattrick was given a stop-and-go penalty for a pit stop infringement.
The second safety car period of the race was called with ten minutes on the clock as Daniel Rymes went off into the gravel trap, and with three minutes remaining, the race got back underway.
Koebolt was able to survive the late-race restart, keeping Las Moras Racing’s Luc Braams at bay. He took his first win of the season after 27 laps of the Austrian circuit.
“This is really unique!” commented van der Ende. “Ekris Motorsport has developed this car and it took us a while to get it to where we are now, but it was a pleasure to drive it.
“We did what we had to do, others made mistakes and as a result we are back on top. I then handed the car to Max and he was sublime.”
Braams and Duncan Huisman survived for second and Pro-Am honors, while Achim Moertl completed the podium in a single-driver Reiter Young Stars KTM X-Bow GT4.
The first safety car period was called after two incidents on the opening lap.
Firstly, the No. 88 HP Racing Porsche Cayman CS MR GT4, the No. 75 Autorlando Sport Porsche 911 GT4 and the No. 111 RN Vision STS Porsche collided at Turn 1.
This was followed by an accident involving the No. 10 Equipe Verschuur McLaren and the No. 23 Sean Walkinshaw Racing Nissan 370Z GT4.
Four of the five cars retired with accident damage, with the McLaren suffering severe damage.
At the restart Huisman kept van der Ende and Andy Meyrick behind, but the Bullitt driver was quicker than the two Dutch drivers in front of him and soon overtook both.
Behind the overall top three, Alessandro Giovanelli and Moertl battled for the Am class lead and fourth overall.
Giovanelli was not able to keep up the fight however and was forced to park the Autorlando Sport Porsche in the pits with an engine failure, giving Moertl the final podium position.
Race 2 will start at 11 a.m. local time on Sunday.