Jaminet/Ammermüller win GT Masters season opener
The Team75 Bernhard duo of Mathieu Jaminet and Michael Ammermüller won the first ADAC GT Masters race of the season at the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben last Saturday. The duo took the win from fellow Porsche drivers, Klaus Bachler and Alex Macdowall driving for Schütz Motorsport. Third place went to last year’s overall winners in the #28 Land Motorsport Audi of Connor De Phillippi and Christopher Mies in the best-placed Audi R8.
“We couldn’t have had a better start to the season,” said Ammermüller. “My teammate had a good first stint and handed the car over to me in second place. I went into P1 in the pits and was then able to maintain a small lead. Those in pursuit were able to have another crack at me thanks to the late safety car period, but my restart was good, and I comfortably secured the win at the finish line.”
Bachler took the lead from pole-sitter Jaminet at the start and remained first in the running order until the mandatory pit stops. The Austrian stayed focussed despite two early safety car periods, for the stricken Team75 Bernhard Porsche 911 of Christopher Friedrich and the stranded the Callaway Corvette C7 of Jules Gounon. Behind the leading pair, there was a hard-fought scrap for third place between the Aust Motorsport Audi R8 of Markus Pommer & Kelvin van der Linde and the Mies/De Phillippi Land Audi.
Jaminet was the first of the leading pair of drivers to come in for the mandatory pit stop before handing over to his partner, Ammermüller – the strategy paid off. After Bachler pitted to be replaced by Alex Macdowall, Ammermüller took the lead which he did not relinquish. The order in the top two places did not change despite a late safety car period following a spin by MRS Nissan driver, Patrick Huisman that caused the field to bunch up together. Ammermüller comfortably took the win at the finish line from Macdowall. The scrap between the three Audis for P3 and the remaining place on the podium remained exciting until the very end. P3 finally went to De Phillippi & Mies, who came home ahead of Pommer & van der Linde and Junior standings winner Schmidt and his partner, Haase.
BWT Mücke Motorsport’s Stefan Mücke and Sebastian Asch finished sixth and were the best-placed Mercedes AMG drivers. The Herberth Porsche pairing of Robert Renauer and Sven Müller took P7, followed by Luca Stolz and Luca Ludwig’s Team ZAKSPEED AMG GT3.
Victory for BMW Team Schnitzer in 150th race
In its return to GT racing, BMW Team Schnitzer took the second win of the ADAC GT opening weekend, in a race which saw six different manufacturers claim the top six positions. The BMW took the chequered flag ahead of a Corvette, a Porsche, a Lamborghini, an Audi and a Mercedes-AMG in the 150th race of the Super Sports Car League.
The victory went to a brilliant performance from up-and-comer Ricky Collard and Philipp Eng for Schnitzer. In second place were Callaway’s Jules Gounon and Daniel Keilwitz ahead of the Herberth Porsche of Renauer and Müller in third.
“BMW and my team boss Charly Lamm took a big gamble when they signed me, because I had no GT experience going into this season and I have never raced outside the UK before,” said jubilant BMW Junior driver Ricky Collard. “I’ve been given a great team-mate in Philipp, from whom I’ve already learnt a lot. We had been hoping for Top Ten finishes at Oschersleben, but as the weekend progressed, we kept adjusting our expectations upwards.
“That was not an easy race. I came under a lot of pressure from the Corvette towards the end, but I withstood it. Many thanks to BMW and BMW Team Schnitzer for the confidence they have placed in me.”
The win came after pole-sitter Eng turned up the heat at the start, emerging from the first corner of the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben circuit in the lead. The Austrian continued to extend the gap on the pursuing Müller in a Porsche despite a brief safety car period following a spin by Audi driver Patric Niederhauser. Eng had pulled out a lead of more than six seconds by the middle of the race when he made his mandatory pit stop and handed over to his partner, Collard.
The British 20-year-old then produced a textbook performance to the flag. The BMW junior withstood the pressure exerted by his chasing pack, even when the field was bunched together again during two further safety car deployments. But he ultimately secured BMW Team Schnitzer’s maiden victory on their very first weekend in the ADAC GT Masters.
The battle for second place between the Porsche pairing of Renauer and Müller and Corvette drivers Gounon and Keilwitz was decided in the pits. Although the 911 had initially laid claim to the runner-up spot, Gounon and Keilwitz overtook while they were in the pits. Renauer and Müller had to content themselves with third place. It was the first podium of the season for both sets of drivers. The two best-placed Lamborghini drivers, Marco Mapelli and Norbert Siedler driving for HB Racing took fourth place from the highest-placed Audi R8 LMS driven by Land Motorsport’s duo of Jeffrey Schmidt and Christopher Haase.
By finishing sixth in their Mercedes AMG GT3, ADAC GT Masters newcomers Indy Dontje and Marvin Kirchhöfer ensured that cars from six different manufacturers were represented in the top six.
Meanwhile, Saturday’s winners Mathieu Jaminet and Michael Ammermüller had a problem with their Porsche 911 GT3-R after just six laps and were forced to retire.
Photos courtesy of ADAC GT