The Callaway Competition Corvette duo of Jules Gounon and Daniel Keilwitz notched up their first ADAC GT Masters victory of 2017 on Saturday at the Red Bull Ring, meaning that After five races in the season, and each has produced a different pair of winners.
RWT Racing’s Sven Barth and Maximilian Hackländer took the runner-up spot to make it a podium one-two for Corvette. Local favourite Philipp Eng partnered by Ricky Collard in BMW Team Schnitzer’s M6 GT3 completed the top three ahead of fourth-placed BWT Mücke Motorsport Mercedes of Lucas Auer and Sebastian Asch.
“We are mega happy,” said Keilwitz after registering his sixth ADAC GT Masters victory at the Red Bull Ring in five years. “Our objective was to win a race here this weekend, and that’s precisely what we did.”
Pole-sitter Jules Gounon maintained his lead at the start and kept it until the changeover of drivers in the middle of the race. Team-mate Daniel Keilwitz stayed in P1 to the finish line, despite two safety car periods due to stranded cars and a race stoppage lasting almost 15 minutes following a crash by Schutz Motorsport Porsche driver Alex MacDowall. This was the first win of the season for the Franco-German pairing. Their victory also gives them the lead in the Super Sports Car League standings.
DTM star Lucas Auer and Sven Barth fought for second place behind the winning vehicle during the first stint of the race, but the Mercedes-AMG and the Corvette swapped positions after the pit stops. While Barth’s team-mate Maximilian Hackländer defended second place to the finish and thus secured the first podium of the year for RWT Racing, Mercedes-AMG man Asch, who had taken over from Auer, fell back to fourth place during the closing stages. However, the final place on the podium still went to an Austrian – Philipp Eng. The BMW driver made a strong charge through the field and clawed his way up from eighth to claim the third podium spot. For Eng and team-mate Ricky Collard, this was their first Top Three finish since winning the second race of the season at Oschersleben.
Zakspeed’s Luca Stolz and Luca Ludwig finished fifth in their Mercedes-AMG ahead of fellow Mercedes drivers – with HTP – Patrick Assenheimer and Maximilian Götz. Mathieu Jaminet and Michael Ammermüller driving the Team75 Bernhard 911 GT3 R were the best-placed Porsche drivers in P7. The Top Ten was rounded off by three Audis. Last year’s champions, in the Land Motorsport Audi – Connor De Phillippi and Christopher Mies – beat two other Audi pairings from Aust Motorsport and YACO Racing.
Robert Renauer and Sven Müller (both Precote Herberth Motorsport), who had led the championship until now, were in second place briefly after the start but had to serve a penalty later on in the race for cutting short the mandatory pit stop. They subsequently missed a points-scoring finish, coming home in P12.
It was a special Sunday for the home fans at the Red Bull Ring as the Grasser Racing Lamborghini pairing of Rolf Ineichen and Christian Engelhart secured their first win of the 2017 ADAC GT Masters season on the Austrian team’s home soil. It was a record-breaking run, with the winning pair achieving the fastest ever average speed recorded in a GT Masters race.
Finishing as runners-up were current DTM championship leader Lucas Auer and Sebastian Asch in their BWT Mücke Motorsport Mercedes. The Callaway Corvette C7 duo of Jules Gounon and Daniel Keilwitz, whose win on Saturday had taken them to the top of the championship standings, claimed the final podium spot.
“We are very happy and very grateful”, said race winner Ineichen. “The car was really perfect today; it could not have been better. The team did a superb job.”
Ineichen and Engelhart became the sixth different winning pair in the first six races of the 2017 season.
Pole-sitter Christian Engelhart dominated the first stint of the race. The Lamborghini driver was posting the fastest laps in the field and had gradually extended his lead to almost seven seconds by the half-way stage when he handed the car over to Rolf Ineichen. The Swiss driver then extended the gap on his rivals, who were busy scrapping with each other, to more than ten seconds at times.
After 41 laps, Ineichen took the chequered flag in the lead – despite the fact that his Lamborghini Huracán was misfiring in the closing stages and the gap had shrunk to 3.6 seconds. This was Engelhart’s and Ineichen’s second common ADAC GT Masters win, the first having come at Oschersleben in 2016. Sunday’s race was the fastest ever recorded in the ADAC GT Masters, with an average speed of 170.9kph being clocked.
Exciting battles as cars jockeyed for position provided plenty of thrilling entertainment. Lucas Auer and Sebastian Asch ultimately emerged as race runners-up. For DTM star Auer, this was his first weekend in the Super Sports Car League and his first series podium. It was also a maiden podium for his team, BWT Mücke Motorsport, who are contesting their first season in the ADAC GT Masters. Gounon and Keilwitz took P3 on the penultimate lap. The Corvette pairing, who had won Saturday’s race, were thus able to extend their championship lead.
HTP’s Patrick Assenheimer and Maximilian Getz were the unlucky pair who suffered at the hands of Gounon as he swept past. They missed out on a first podium of the year by only 0.9 seconds in their Mercedes AMG. Ricky Collard and Philipp Eng’s Schnitzer BMW, after another great performance crossed the line right behind them in the BMW M6 and leapt up the standings into second place as a result.
Two further Mercedes pairings – Luca Stolz partnered with Luca Ludwig for Zakspeed and Indy Dontje sharing with Marvin Kirchhöfer in the second HTP Mercedes, came home sixth and seventh respectively.
The second Lamborghini Huracán entered by GRT Grasser-Racing-Team, with Ezequiel Perez Companc and Mirko Bortolotti sharing the driving, also scored points for a P8 finish. Completing the Top Ten were the Bernhard Porsche and Mike David Ortmann and Frank Stippler’s BWT Mücke Motorsport Audi R8.