23/09/2012 Heico Gravity-Charouz secure double championship honours

The newly-crowned drivers’ champions Dominik Baumann (AUT) and Maximilian Buhk (DEU) completed a perfect weekend with victory in Race Two in the final round of the FIA GT3 European Championship at Nürburgring.

The win enabled the Heico Gravity Charouz Mercedes squad to complete the championship double by adding the teams’ title to the drivers’ honours of the previous day courtesy of Baumann and Buhk’s win in Race One.

Second across the line was the AF Corse Ferrari of Gaetano Ardagna Perez (VEN) and Giuseppe Ciro (ITA) in the No.150 Ferrari 458 Italia although they were subsequently excluded by the race stewards for an homologation infringement.

That gave second to Hari Proczyk (AUT) and David Mengesdorf (DEU) in the Rhino’s Leipert Lamborghini No.111 while the Team Novadriver Audi of Portugal’s Ni Amorim and Cesar Campanico was promoted to third.

A fourth place finish in Race Two for AF Corse’s Michael Lyons (GBR) and Stefano Gai (ITA) enabled them to secure second place with 158 points in the final drivers’ standings ahead of Proczyk and Mengesdorf on 153. Baumann and Buhk were streets ahead on 214.

In the teams’ classification Heico Gravity-Charouz ended the season on 359 from AF Corse on 328 and Rhino’s Leipert Motorsport on 189.

Buhk was delighted to complete the championship double for the team. “The car was fast on every track we visited this year and very strong over the season and the team worked really well together to win the championship,” he said.

“Both me and Dominik were confident throughout the year and today’s win was a nice way to end the perfect weekend for the whole team and to finish with both championships from the 2012 season.

Baumann added: “We are both young guys who didn’t know each other before the season but we have built a very good friendship.

“Max had a really good season in his first year in GT and for me it’s the second. There are not of people that can say ‘we are GT3 European  champions’ in their second season.”

Proczyk was happy with the result from the overall season. Third place in the championship battle was a good reward considering he and Mengesforf missed the opening round at Nogaro.

“It’s has been a great season for us, we did not compete in the first two races but what we have done has been really competitive,” Proczyk said.

“The last two races, here and in Moscow, have been our best I would say.

“The race today was really quite hard because we had some problem with the cars, it was very hard to drive, so I’m really happy we here on the podium with the third place.”

“I think for the season we’ve done well, we only had two bad results, one in Moscow when the engine blew up and one yesterday when we had a puncture. I’m proud of them team and think we’ve done well. We are looking forward to next year.”

Proczyk also paid tribute to Baumann and Buhk, whose race pace pitched them into battle with a number of the FIA GT1 World Championship cars which were sharing the grid with the GT3 field at Nürburgring.

In fact Baumann was nudged into a spin and out of the lead of the race momentarily by the GT1 Hexis McLaren of Frenchman Fred Makowiecki in the early stages.

“Those guys did a great job, they were unbeatable in a number of races and they showed that by running up with the GT1 cars that they are ready to  step up," Proczyk said.