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Prototype Winter Series Aragon: Konrad Motorsport clinches LMP3 double

Konrad Motorsport pairing Danny Soufi and Glenn van Berlo claimed victory in both races as the Prototype Winter Series returned to the Gedlich Racing schedule at MotorLand Aragon.

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Race 1

Soufi and van Berlo paid tribute to their absent team chief Franz Konrad, who was recovering in hospital from an accident, after completing an emphatic night-race victory in the opening encounter on Saturday evening.

Soufi opened up a big lead as headlights blazed in the darkness, then handed over to van Berlo.

Their longer stop under the handicap format for different graded drivers handed the lead to Clement Moren,o who had taken over the ANS Motorsport Ligier from Julien Lemoine.

But, once the mandatory pitstops had cycled though, Moreno only had five seconds in hand over van Berlo.

That was never going to be enough and van Berlo quickly claimed back the lead to win by 35s at the end of the 50-minute race.

“Danny did a really good job in qualifying and built a huge gap which he handed over to me,” said van Berlo.

“It’s always a huge pleasure to drive around this track in the dark.

“Unfortunately Franz couldn’t be here today because of an accident last week, so we wish him a speedy recovery. This win is for him.”

Soufi revealed: “Even though he’s in his hospital bed, Franz has been in touch giving set-up changes.

“It was a fun first stint and Glenn absolutely killed it in his run.”

But the handicap system made it much closer behind the Konrad Ligier. Rinaldi Racing’s Daniel Keilwitz, in for race starter Steve Parrow, stalked a soloing Kevin Rabin in the CN class Nova and relieved him of third place in a thrilling final lap.

The pair had also been closing on Moreno, with Keilwitz’s Ligier finishing only 3.3s behind the ANS version.

DKR Engineering’s Laurents Horr also put on a charge to finish fifth, having taken over from Jon Brownson.

Race 2

The Konrad pairing’s second win at lunchtime on Sunday was much less straightforward and was only secured in the final minutes thanks to the combined effect of the handicap pitstop system and a Full Course Yellow.

Horr made a strong start to snatch the lead through Turn 2 from polesitter Keilwitz in the Rinaldi Ligier – only for the DKR driver to undo his good work by running wide at the hairpin. A fierce tailwind down the back straight was an issue for all classes on the second day of racing at MotorLand Aragon.

Keilwitz, Horr and van Berlo – starting the Konrad car this time – then ran as a three-car LMP3 train all the way to the pitstops. They all came in together with 20 minutes to go, the Konrad car mandated to stop for 29s longer than its rivals as gold standard Soufi slid into the cockpit.

Brownson was now in the DKR Duqueine and left the pitlane first after the Rinaldi Ligier made a slightly longer stop. But, on lap 16 after the trio had cycled through, Rinaldi’s Parrow now led Brownson by three seconds, with Soufi 21s down on the top spot. Then the FCY was called to clean Lemoine’s ANS Ligier from the Turn 12 gravel trap.

The race had already been spoiled for Lemoine’s team-mate Moreno, who was hit by Rabin’s CN class Nova on the opening lap, damaging both cars. The collision eventually earned Rabin a drive-through penalty.

Under the FCY, Parrow’s lead was stretched, giving Soufi more work to do once racing resumed with 12 minutes of the 50 to go.

He quickly closed down Brownson for second place, then set off after Parrow – who made the task easier with a quick spin at the hairpin.

The Konrad car was on the Duqueine by the penultimate lap, Soufi slicing into the lead before Turn 12. Parrow finished second, ahead of Brownson.

“It was a fun race,” said Soufi. “Glenn absolutely killed it in the first stint, which was tricky with the wind.

“He handed the car over to me and the goal was to keep pushing with no mistakes. It was a clean race and we managed to do it.”

Soufi briefly stalled from his getaway in the pits, but it made little difference. “I was a bit worried by the FCY, but the marshals cleaned it up quickly and we got it done,” he said.

Van Berlo added: “It was a tricky stint because of the wind. In addition we couldn’t use our qualifying tyres because of a flat spot, but Danny did a really good job to overtake the others. It couldn’t have been a better weekend.”

Gebhardt Motorsport’s Maxim Dirickx and Valentino Catalano finished fourth ahead of ANS Motosport’s Iko Segnet, who switched from a Ligier to a CN class Nova before the race.

Muhlner Motorsport’s Juan-Pablo Vega and Will Stowell were the final classified finishers in their Duqueine.

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