A wild red-flag marred Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup race at the Hockenheimring saw Stephen Grove net another strong third-place finish in class at Round 5 in Germany.
Grove had initially been classified second in Pro-Am and a career-best 20th outright after he survived a chaotic restart on Lap 8 when a sudden rain shower caught out a number of drivers.
As cars speared off and into each other at Turn 2, Grove, who had been running 25th outright at the time, used all of his experience to keep the car on the wet race track with slick tyres.
He emerged from the corner in 20th outright, just as the Safety Car was deployed for a second time because of the incidents.
The field circulated under yellows for a number of laps before the rain intensified and race control red-flagged the race.
Cars returned to pit lane and the scheduled 16-lap race was called after only 12-laps completed.
However, after the fact, the results were back-dated to Lap 7, before the rain.
Subsequently, Grove ended up with a result of third place in Pro-Am, good enough for 25th outright in what is his third-class podium of the season.
After five rounds, the Melburnian remains third in the Pro-Am class series standings on a solid haul of 60 points, with no points awarded across the field for Hockenheim due to the race not reaching 50% distance.
Back-to-back weekends of racing sees the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup in action again this coming weekend at the Hungaroring from August 2-4.
In Dunlop Super2 Series land, it was a character-building weekend that ended on a positive note for Brenton Grove with Triple Eight Race Engineering at Queensland Raceway.
The 22-year old qualified 10th for Race 1 on Saturday, but had an early spin which set him back early in the piece.
While making his recovery up the order, there was an incident with another competitor which caused damage to Brenton’s car and forced him to retire.
He started fresh on Sunday, but after losing his fastest lap in qualifying for track limits, had to start from 15th on the grid for Race 2.
Keeping his head down throughout the 20-lap encounter, Brenton made up five spots to cross the line 10th.
The next round for the Dunlop Super2 Series supports the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 from October 10-13.
STEPHEN GROVE QUOTEBOARD:
“The start was really good once again, I got in front of the two juniors that were just ahead of me. Coming out of the hairpin Philipp Sager ran wide so I managed to get him but then he rejoined the track so I had to get out of the throttle a bit there because we were heading for the kink. From there I just worked hard to try and run with him and one of the juniors came through, the other one I kept behind me and it was just a matter of survival once the rain started to come because it was extremely slippery towards the back part of the circuit.
“On the Lap 8 restart, so many people went off at the second corner in the wet; I gained a lot of spots keeping it on the road there. Once I exited Turn 1 — there’s a big sausage kerb that you take there at about 175 km/h — once the car landed and settled, I could see the asphalt changed from being dry looking asphalt to wet-looking asphalt at about 200m out from Turn 2. So I broke fairly early, around the 180m mark and a lot of the others broke at where they would normally brake which is about 150m, so they all shot off the track. I just about pulled the car up, but it was trying to get the car turned with a slick tyre on the wet surface that was the problem. I got it turned into the corner, missed the debris so I didn’t get a puncture and then tried to pick up the power out of Turn 3, which was super slippery.
“This season the goal was to really push into that top three in Pro-Am area and this is now my third podium in class. The two guys ahead of me, Roar Lindland and Philipp Sager, they’re at the top of their game. I haven’t raced guys as good as them ever in my career. So you’ve really got to work hard for a result. You only get one practice session on a circuit that I’ve only either been to once or never been to at all and they’ve spent the best part of five or six years racing on these circuits. It’s a real challenge to beat them, but that’s why I’ve come over here, to take on that challenge.”
BRENTON GROVE QUOTEBOARD:
“On Sunday, qualifying was tricky because of the red flag which only allowed us one lap to put a time down and unfortunately I exceed the track limits at Turn 2 so my lap got disallowed. This meant we started the race toward the back of the pack. The race, however, was much better. We were able to work our way through the field and had some decent pace which allowed us to end up in the top 10. It’s not bad when you start from 15th but certainly didn’t end the weekend how we wanted. There is a big gap between now and Bathurst and it’s a different round; a one race format which includes pit stops and two hours of racing so it will be exciting. We do need to do our homework to make sure we are ready once we arrive.”