Having finished second in the GT4 European Series Silver Cup points last season, the opening round of the 2022 championship at Imola didn’t quite go to plan for Antoine Potty and the CMR Toyota team.
The 18-year-old Belgian enjoyed a strong 2021 campaign alongside Frenchman Stéphane Lemeret, scoring two race wins and three further podiums on their way to second in the championship aboard the Toyota GR Supra GT4.With Lemeret moving on to the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS for this season, CMR secured the services of Romain Monti to share with Potty.
However, their season got off to a tough start in Imola, with Monti only joining the team a few days before the event and then the Toyota suffering engine issues during practice that carried across into qualifying.
The #66 Toyota started the first race from the pit lane, but failed to finish after a puncture and further power problems. However, CMR showed that it had got on top of the issues on Sunday, with Potty and Monti driving to a strong seventh overall, and fourth in the Silver Cup order to salvage some points. They currently lie fifth in the points heading into the next round at Circuit Paul Ricard in France.
We caught up with Potty to find out his expectations for the rest of the campaign.
Antoine, welcome back after such a strong 2021 campaign. Did your results surprise you last year?
“I was not surprised about how last year went really, it was really good from the first event. We were really fast at Monza and it continued from there, we just had great pace and consistency with Stéphane alongside me, so it all added up into a very strong season for us. Then at Nürburgring we had a bad time, didn’t finish two races, but despite that we got second in the championship. It could have been higher without the problems in Germany though…”
But this year has started a bit differently…
“Yeah, this season is definitely a bit different. Stéphane has moved on so I have Romain Monti alongside me this year and the first time I drove with him was right before Imola during the test on Wednesday. But he’s a good driver, I know he is fast, and we’ll take some time to practice together before the next round. It was disappointing with how we started with the car. We had engine problems in practice and started the first race from the pitlane, so we couldn’t expect too much really. The first race was like practice for us, so we didn’t really care about it, but Sunday was a much better day. The CMR team did a great job to get us into a strong position for the second race.”
With a 50-car entry and what’s looking like being a really tight championship, how can you fight back from a tough start?
“Easy. We aim for the title. The bad start is not so much a problem, and we still target the title this year. We finished second last year, despite not finishing those two races in Germany, so it’s definitely possible that we can fight back from this. We will stay positive as a team, and we will give our best to fight back at Circuit Paul Ricard.”