Alex Cascatău Is Back in Action at Zolder This Weekend
The wait is almost over for Alex Cascatău who will jump back behind the wheel of the Baticonsult Racing Norma M20 FC at Circuit Park Zolder to compete in round three of the GT & Prototype Challenge this weekend.
The 2021 season has been an uphill battle for Alex ever since team-mate Alain Berg suffered a mechanical failure that sent him spearing into one of Hockenheim's unprotected walls. That was all the way back in late May and the CN-winning Baticonsult Racing team is looking to turn its fortunes around as it looks on to the season's third round at a venue that Alex knows all too well.
The disaster at Hockenheim came, as you may remember, after an engine failure curtailed the team's pre-season test session meaning that Cascatău and Berg had to rent a car from another team. With bills piling after all the drama, the team's future participations in the GT & Prototype Challenge seemed uncertain but, after many over-night shifts back at the shop, the mechanics have brought the naturally aspirated Norma M20 FC back from the dead.
However, as herculean as this effort is, one knew that, in order for Baticonsult Racing to still be able to defend its crown, it needed a stroke of luck. The squad knew that taking part in June's Spa-Francorchamps round was out of question which, in normal circumstances, would've allowed Deldiche Racing's stalwarts to further increase their lead in the standings. However, weather played its part and a never-before-seen deluge literally dislodged parts of mythical Spa track, water filling the underpass that goes below Eau Rouge.
With rain falling at an unabated rate for what seemed like an enternity, the organizers had no choice but to cancel the second round of the GT & Prototype Challenge which effectively keep Alex and Alain in the title hunt. Following the first round of the season, the Romanian-Luxembourg duo feature third in the standings with a meagre 17 points, no less than 27 in arrears of championship leaders Tim Joosen and Porsche 911 Cup Benelux veteran Steve van Bellingen. The Deldiche duo is followed by another Deldiche driver in Tom Boonen who sits second in the standings merely one point behind his team-mates.
With 46 points on offer at Zolder, Baticonsult Racing can vault at the top of the standings if everything goes according to plan. The brand-new 2.0-liter, CN-spec powerplant sitting neatly behind the cockpit should ensure that reliability problems are a thing of the past but this still won't mean that victory will be a walk in the park for Cascatău and Berg. After all, a glance over the pre-event entry list reveals an ever-increasing interest in the GT & Prototype Challenge as 37 cars fill what is a very interesting grid. With five cars set to run in the CN category, three for Deldiche Racing (the third chassis of Thomas Piessens/Luc de Cock is back) and one for Norma Benelux, the heat will most definitely be on during the two races scheduled for this weekend.
As if the five CN prototypes weren't enough, the 37-car GT & Prototype Challenge field also features a plethora of GT3 cars including three BMW Z4 GT3s with Walkenhorst Racing regular Peter Posavac in one of those V8-engined monsters. There's also a Nissan GT-R GT3 entered by Roger Grouwels under the RaceArt banner, the veteran Supercar Challenge driver brings his son onboard and everyone will race at the same time as the Supercar Challenge competitors.
The first race of the weekend is scheduled for Saturday, July 17, at 10:50 AM local time (11:50 in Romania). The second race of the weekend will take place on Sunday, July 17, at 15:40 local time (16:40 in Romania). The qualifying session is set for Friday, July 16, at 14:15 local time (15:15 in Romania). As ever, these will be one-hour races + 1 lap when the clock has run out while the qualifying session is short at just 20 minutes in length.
The rush I get just from thinking that we're a few days away from getting back to racing is awesome. The whole Baticonsult Racing team has worked a lot over the last 30 days or so to get us back on track and with the best possible car underneath to try and score some wins and claw back that 27-point deficit. We know this is going to be a hard mountain to climb especially given the fast teams that we'll do battle with at Zolder but this is a track that I know very well and one where I've scored some good results at in the past and I hope this will mark the turning point of the season for me and Alain.
2021 GT & Prototype Challenge Calendar
1. 21-23 May – Hockenheim
2. 4-6 June – Spa-Francorchamps (cancelled)
3. 16-18 July – Zolder
4. 6-8 August – Assen
5. 17-19 September – Assen
6. 16-17 October – Spa-Francorchamps
7. 29-31 October – Assen
Photo credit: Rob Blank
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