V8 Supercars cast-off Maro Engel says he has proved his doubters wrong after claiming the inaugural Allan Simonsen trophy following an impressive showing at the Bathurst 12 Hour.
The German, who was replaced by Will Davison in the Erebus V8 Supercar squad after just one season in category, starred for the outfit’s GT program at the prestigious endurance classic last weekend.
Engel joined five-times DTM champion Bernd Schneider and young gun Nico Bastian in the #1 Erebus Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 that scooped pole position for the once-round-the-clock classic.
The 28-year-old posted a new qualifying record lap time for the event to grab pole and the Allan Simonsen Trophy with a time of 2:03.8586s.
Engel and his team mates were leading the Bathurst 12 Hour comfortably until the ninth hour when a rear hub failure forced the trio to surrender the lead.
The car rejoined the race only to finish seventh.
He feels his performances have vindicated his talent following a disappointing maiden V8 Supercars campaign that saw him finish 28th in the standings last year.
“I guess that is not for me to judge whether I proved a point with my speed but I received very positive feedback on the pole position lap”, Engel told Speedcafe.com.
“I know I’m very capable of driving cars very fast. I guess I hope people who doubted that have seen how we went on the weekend. I was certainly pleased with my performance in the car. I was able to deliver which was great so I was really happy with that.”
“It was very special to win the Allan Simonsen trophy. Allan was a great racing driver and a great guy and it was very emotional for me and for many people in the paddock.”
While leaving Mount Panorama with mixed emotions, the event is unlikely to be his last in Australia.
The former DTM star is yet to firm up his 2014 program but has revealed he is working on a deal to race GT cars in Europe and Australia which involves Erebus Motorsport.
“We are still in the process of sorting everything out for this year,” Engel added.
“I’m hopeful that I will be racing in Europe as well as Australia. There is not really anything I can confirm at the minute but we are working on that and Erebus is obviously a big part of that in terms of working together with the program for the year.”