MONTMELÓ (1 October, 2017) – The 2017 season is a memorable one for Dutch team Ekris Motorsport. With the Ekris M4 GT4, an in-house development, drivers Ricardo van der Ende and Max Koebolt already secured the GT4 European Series Northern Cup. With a third and a 14th place in this weekend’s penultimate round of the Southern Cup at the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya in Montmeló in Spain, the team also won the overall GT4 European Series title with one round to spare. “Once again, a fantastic achievement by the entire team,” team principal Dick van Ekris commented. “The drivers have put in a flawless performance all season long, our technicians worked perfectly and the car has proven its reliability, we never had any issues.”
In the first race at the Barcelona circuit, drivers Max Koebolt and Ricardo van der Ende made excellent progress as they moved up from tenth on the grid to third at the finish, keeping up their streak of podium results with at least one top three finish in every race meeting they participated in this season to date. Max Koebolt drove the first stint in a race that was interrupted for 20 minutes following an incident on the opening lap. After the driver change, Ricardo van der Ende continued the team’s progress and brought the car home in third place.
Unlike the first race of the meeting, which was held in bright sunshine, the race on Sunday was held in the rain. Here, the rain tyres didn’t work well on the Ekris M4 GT4. “We had a set of rain tyres that we put on for this race, but Ricardo was struggling to find pace in the first half of the race. It also shows that we didn’t have much experience in the rain as we hardly had any wet races at all this year,” team manager Stian Boers said. “During the pit stop, we changed the rear tyres and after that, it went much better. Max made up a couple of positions, but we couldn’t match our podium finish from yesterday. However, it is the title win that matters most for us. Now, we have achieved all our goals and we can conclude the season at Paul Ricard in a fortnight without any pressure.”
Ricardo van der Ende: “Another title in the bag! For me, it is the 22nd championship title of my career. This weekend wasn’t really easy. Yesterday, we had a fantastic race in which we moved up from tenth to third. Today, I was struggling in the wet with a set of rain tyres we had used at Zandvoort before. Unfortunately, these tyres didn’t work at all, they felt like plastic rather than rubber. After a change of the rear tyres during the pit stop, Max still made good progress, but a top ten finish was beyond reach. Otherwise, I am sure we could have been in contention for another podium, but generally, I am delighted with the success for our team!”
Max Koebolt: “The first race was a brief affair for me as it was red-flagged after the first lap. Then, we had to wait in the heat, seated in our cars for 20 minutes on the main straight. The restart went reasonably well, I made up some places and Ricardo then finished the job. Today, it was too bad that Ricardo lacked pace with the rain tyres during the first half of the race. After the tyre change, things went better for me: I was one of the fastest drivers on track, but we couldn’t make up more positions. Winning the overall European title makes us really happy and it is a great reward for our team!”