Disappointment for Christodoulou after fightback goes unrewarded
4th August 2016
Adam Christodoulou was left to rue his misfortune after a rollercoaster weekend for the no. 57 Black Falcon team at the 24 Hours of Spa, round four of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup.
27-year-old Christodoulou was the highest placed of the AMG contingent in forth position and in contention for a possible podium when the Mercedes-AMG GT3 he shared with Andreas Simonsen and Hubert Haupt developed a suspension problem with seven hours remaining. After a quick stop for repairs, the problem returned and necessitated a spell in the garage which dropped the car out of contention.
The team’s race came to a dramatic end inside the final hour when Simonsen was collected by an out-of-control rival during a heavy rain shower. Fortunately, the Swede emerged with only minor bruising, a testament to the strength of the new-for-2016 Mercedes-AMG GT3.
It was a poor reward for a strong drive from the pitlane after engine problems were detected during Thursday practice that required it to be changed.
The engine change also meant the No. 57 team missed the entirety of the pre-qualifying and qualifying sessions, only emerging mid-way through night-qualifying, which was used primarily as an extended test session and to get acclimatised to the challenge of driving the 7 kilometer Spa-Francorchamps circuit in full darkness.
“We went back-to-back doubles between Andreas and I for a few hours, and it was all looking great,” Christodoulou said. “Around the half-way point we were up to fourth, our pace was good and we were thinking that a podium was in range, but unfortunately something started to rattle its way loose when Andreas was in the car and he had a bit of play in the steering, so we came in and fixed it in the pitlane. Unfortunately we then had to come back in again, which dropped us out of the top 20 within a matter of a few minutes.
“It’s a real shame how our race ended after all the hard work the Black Falcon guys put in to get everything ready, but Mercedes-AMG build a strong car and Andreas was able to get out under his own steam after such a big impact.”
Whilst the end result was highly disappointing after such a competitive showing,Christodoulou was pleased with the way the team overcame their early setbacks and thrust themselves into contention, which bodes well for the final round of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup at the Nürburgring in September.
“I was happy with the performances of everybody on our car, all of my stints were extremely clean and I was able to make good progress,” he added. “The crew executed everything very well at the pitstops and our strategy was on point as well, but sadly the final result didn’t reflect the work we put into it. Hopefully we can set that right on our return to the Nürburgring!”
AMG racing driver Adam Christodoulou is one of the foremost British talents in GT racing, with 31 career wins to date, including the 2016 24 Hours of Nürburgring. To find out more about Adam and his achievements, click here.
About AMG Customer Sports
Entering customer sports in 2011 with the SLS AMG GT3, private customer teams have claimed numerous victories and international championships – including the “Grand Slam” of the GT3 endurance classics in 2013, with wins in Dubai, Bathurst, at the Nürburgring and the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. This unparalleled success will be continued with the new Customer Sport vehicle, the Mercedes-AMG GT3. A characteristic of the Customer Sports concept is its extensive support structure – from technical training, through on-the-ground service to the online ordering system for replacement parts. An internal championship, test days and a driver pool complete the AMG Customer Sports program. To find out more, click here.
About Black Falcon
Celebrating their tenth year of competition in 2016, Black Falcon are one of the best regarded teams in international sportscar racing, with success on the Nürburgring something of a speciality. After taking the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 to its first victory in the 34. DMV 250-Meilen-Rennen in 2010, Black Falcon took the SLS AMG GT3 to a first win over 24 Hours in Dubai in 2012. However, the best was reserved for 24 Hours of Nürburgring, as Team Black Falcon and drivers Bernd Schneider, Sean Edwards, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Nicki Thiim took an emotional victory in 2013. Equipped with the new Mercedes-AMG GT3 for 2016, Black Falcon continued their success at the ‘Green Hell’ as Schneider, joined by Christodoulou, Maro Engel and Manuel Metzger, led home a historic Mercedes 1-2-3-4. To find out more about Black Falcon, click here.
About the Total 24 Hours of Spa
First run back in 1923, the Total 24 Hours of Spa is the biggest endurance race exclusively for GT cars in the world and a double-points round of the Blancpain GT Series. To find out more, click here.
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