Maastricht, 16 May 2023 - Team RaceArt-Kroymans fought its way through challenging conditions during the third round of Ferrari Challenge Coppa Shell to secure a pair of top-five finishes at the Red Bull Ring.
For Roger Grouwels, the event marked a return to a venue he last competed at during the 2021 season. While he competed in Trofeo Pirelli at the time, he was now set to tackle the third Coppa Shell weekend of the year. Friday's schedule was packed, kicking off with a pair of test sessions. The first of those was used to bed in multiple new sets of brakes. The day concluded with the weekend's first and only Free Practice session.
In the first qualifying session of the weekend, held on Saturday morning, Grouwels piloted his Ferrari 488 Challenge EVO to a best time of 1:32.100. This performance initially appeared to result in eighth place on the grid, but a penalty for a competitor meant a one-place gain. The team thus started the first race of the weekend from seventh position. A late downpour shortly before the start vastly changed the outlook of the race. The start took place behind the safety car, with race control releasing the nearly 30-car field after a single lap. Grouwels then enjoyed a strong opening phase to the contest, quickly passing Christian Kinch and Manuela Gostner to climb to fifth place. Although the track started to dry up in the closing minutes, Grouwels held on to fifth until the finish.
The next morning, Grouwels once again faced wet conditions for the second qualifying session. After two short consecutive red flags, Grouwels eventually drove to sixth position at just over six tenths behind polesitter Ernst Kirchmayr. Race two also started with a lap behind the safety car, and once again Grouwels made up ground in the opening exchanges. When Thomas Gostner spun approaching turn three, Grouwels took advantage of the confusion by outpacing Axel Sartingen out of turn three and passing him at turn four. He then tried to close in on Willem van der Vorm to attempt a challenge for third position. However, two safety cars, one of them at the end of the race, made a fight for the podium impossible. Grouwels crossed the finish line in fourth place, scoring his best result so far this season.
Grouwels sits seventh in the Coppa Shell standings with 28 points. Team RaceArt-Kroymans will now prepare for the most important round of the season. On 7-10 June, the team will be in action at the Circuit de la Sarthe as part of the supporting package for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.