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End of season in Spain with ups and downs


The fifth endurance race in Barcelona marked the end of the GT World Challenge Europe 2021 for Julien Apothéloz. Unfortunately, it did not bring the desired success. On the other hand, his performance two weeks earlier at the Sprint Cup in Valencia was a personal highlight.

This is not how Julien Apothéloz had imagined the end of his first season with GT3 sports cars. imagined. At the tenth and final round of the GT World Challenge Europe at the GP Circuit of of Barcelona, the Porsche 911 GT3 R fielded by the Allied Racing team retired in the third and final hour of the race. Until then, the trio of Julien Apothéloz, Joel Sturm and Bastian Buus were in a good midfield of the 47 top-class super sports cars.

"We were on a similarly good course to the last endurance race we did together at the Nürburgring," reports the young man from Zurich. "Unfortunately, Joel was hit on the rear wheel by a competitor in the last chicane. The damage to the car led to retirement. It's a great pity when you have to finish the last race of the season like that." Two weeks earlier, Julien Apothéloz was already in action in Spain. As in other Sprint Cup races, Austrian Klaus Bachler was his partner. 

On the Circuit Ricardo Tormo of Valencia, the winner of the 2018 Young Driver Challenge qualified due to a technical only qualified for the eleventh row of the grid due to a technical handicap on the differential. top-5 results in the practice sessions the day before had given the team a lot of confidence. Thanks to Apothéloz moved up to eighth place on the first lap of the race and made the most of the turbulence. and took advantage of the turbulent start phase.

For one lap, Julien was even in 3rd position after a second early safety car phase, which was used by opponents in front of him for early pit stops. Unfortunately, valuable time was then lost during his tyre change. Unfortunately, valuable time was lost during his tyre change, which threw team-mate Bachler out of the Top 10 after the driver change. "Without the problems with the differential, which the team investigated after the race race, we could have achieved a lot in Valencia," he believes. "This confirms the steady progress we have made since the arrival of a new race engineer in mid-season. have made."

Although the second sprint race in Valencia also did not go according to plan due to a slight starting accident by Bachler, this gave confidence for the finale of this race series in
Barcelona. Despite the unpleasant outcome, Julien Apothéloz did not draw a negative conclusion. conclusion. "There were ups and downs. Of course I had hoped for better results. But due to the mix of sprint and endurance races in the toughest GT3 field in the world, and driving the with the Porsche, which is considered the most difficult GT3 car at the limit. I have learned a lot and developed as a racing driver. From that point of view, this year has brought more, than if I had added a second GT4 season. Hopefully, we can use the experience I've gained to help us plan for 2022.