Gustav Malja finished just outside the top ten in both of this weekend’s Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland races at Zandvoort.
Malja’s outcome in the Dutch seaside resort was effectively settled by the events of qualifying, where the Swedish Porsche rookie suffered an off in the ultra-fast Scheivlak corner and damaged his Project 1-run 911 GT3 Cup machine’s front splitter.
Disrupting his scheduled run plan, Malja was left down in 12th and 16th respectively on the grids for the weekend’s two races, at a track universally hailed for its challenging nature but infamous for a lack of overtaking opportunities.
There was drama aplenty in the opening heat on Saturday afternoon, however, when Glenn Van Parijs barrel-rolled his car and caused the race to be red-flagged.
The accident happened just as the race was restarted on lap eight following a safety car period, and saw Van Parijs somersault spectacularly onto the start/finish straight amid general turmoil in the second half of the field.
The race was immediately stopped and not resumed, with results declared at the end of lap eight out of 17. Due to less than 50 % of the scheduled distance being completed, no points were awarded.
All drivers escaped injury.
Malja had just worked his way up to tenth after opportunistically passing Robert Lukas around the outside of Tarzan (Turn 1) on the safety car restart, just as Van Parijs crashed further behind, but inevitably dropped back to 11th in the final standings following the red-flag induced countback.
In Sunday’s Race 2, the Swede then finished 12th in light rain, making up four places from 16th.
“We knew qualifying was going to be particularly crucial here at Zandvoort, and unfortunately I went off in a decisive part of the session which cost me a lot,” says Gustav Malja. “Still, it was good fun trying to fight back in the races and I eventually finished higher than I started in both.
”It would have been nice to keep P10 in Race 1, mainly because I risked quite a lot in that move around the outside of (Robert) Lukas, even though in the end it didn’t matter as it became a no-points race. Given the circumstances, I’m pleased with how the races went, but I need to keep working on qualifying and make sure I start further up the grid.”
Gustav Malja is back on track next weekend (August 24-26) in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup at Spa-Francorchamps. The next Carrera Cup Deutschland event is scheduled in for Germany’s Sachsenring on September 7-9.