Opportunistic Grove fights to fifth in Hockenheim

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Australian racer Stephen Grove fought his way to fifth in class at Round 5 of Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup at the world-famous Hockenheimring in Germany.

The strong performance was highlighted by a clean start for Grove, which saw him make up four positions in the opening segment of the race.

It came after he was forced to start the 14-lapper from the rear of the field following a technical penalty that was handed down post-qualifying due to the car not being weighed in time at the conclusion of the session.

Qualifying took place in tricky wet conditions on Saturday, with Grove at one stage sitting 15th outright in the session thanks to a rapid lap in the slippery conditions.

A number of drivers switched to slick tyres late in proceedings, but a costly mistake in the pits, with wet tyres accidentally re-fitted to the car instead of slicks, meant Grove slipped down the order to qualify sixth in class prior to the penalty.

Clear skies, however, greeted Supercup for the race on Sunday, where the Melbourne-based driver crossed the line an impressive fifth in class at the chequered flag.

Speaking after the race, Grove said he was extremely happy with the end result of the weekend.

“The race was really good,” exclaimed Grove.

“I managed to grab a couple of spots and ended up fifth in class which is pretty good at this level.

“We went a bit quicker today, the track was much slower, over a second slower, but I was still trying to learn the track.

“It’s so important to know the tracks over here, it takes a year to work them out, so I’m still learning every step of the way.

“Qualifying, unfortunately was a little bit disappointing - I was running well up the order when everyone was on wet tyres, 14th or 15th I think, which is unbelievable.

“Then everyone came in to put slicks on and the team made an error and put wets back on my car, so I was out on wets, that’s why I struggled.

“At the end of the session there was a bit of confusion while I was talking about that to the team and we didn’t go get weighed in time, so that’s where we got the penalty.

“Overall though, I’m happy with the weekend - I’ve learnt a lot, even outside of the car, technical stuff, setup of the car, I’m learning so much.”

It won’t be long before Grove gets back behind the wheel, with the experienced racer returning to action next weekend (27th - 29th July), once again in Supercup with French outfit Pro GT by Alméras.

Next weekend he will tackle yet another new European circuit, with Budapest’s Hungaroring in Hungary playing host to the next round in part two of Grove’s triple header.

“Budapest will be great - now I’ve got used to the team and everything even more, I will be pushing harder next weekend,” added Grove.

“It will be a challenge though, because the Hungaroring is effectively like Monaco, though without the walls so close.

“The heat will be a factor as well, but I’m looking forward to getting out on track again.”

Track action in Budapest kicks off with Free Practice on Friday ahead of Qualifying and the Race with takes place on Sunday.

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