The ADAC GT Masters series headed to the Nürburgring for the fifth round of the 2017 season, which saw two pairings take their first wins of the year.
Here’s how both hour-long races played out:
Sebastian Asch and DTM star Lucas Auer steered BWT Mücke Motorsport to its first win of the season, the first win for a Mercedes since April 2016. The runner-up spot went to the Team75 Bernhard Porsche duo of Mathieu Jaminet and Michael Ammermüller, ahead of Pole-sitters Luca Stolz and Luca Ludwig’s Mercedes-AMG Team ZAKSPEED AMG GT3 slipped to third.
“Congratulations to Mercedes-AMG and to BWT Mücke Motorsport on this win,” Auer said. “I am very happy. Sebastian drove fantastically well. He had a great start and two magnificent restarts. The car was very easy to drive. Even on my first lap, I clocked a time of 1:29.1 minutes, which shows how much confidence I have in the car.”
Asch laid the foundations for the tenth win of his ADAC GT Masters career early on in the race. Having started from third the two-time ADAC GT Masters champion seized the lead into Turn 1, followed through by the Callaway Corvette of championship leader Jules Gounon, with Pole-sitter Luca Stolz in hot pursuit down in third with Mathieu Jaminet’s Porsche not far behind in fourth.
The lead quartet maintained their dominance until the round of pit stops, despite being held back by two safety car deployments. After the driver handover, Asch’s partner Lucas Auer defended the lead gradually pulled away from the chasing pack. Auer, who is currently placed second in the DTM standings, had a 7.2-second advantage at the finish line and so took his maiden victory in the ADAC GT Masters on only his second appearance. It was also a maiden win for BWT Mücke Motorsport, the Berlin-based outfit who are contesting their first year in the Super Sports Car League.
The Porsche duo of Jaminet and Ammermüller, who drive for the Le Mans-winning team managed by Timo Bernhard, came second thanks to a successful pit stop strategy. This was the team’s best result since the season opener, the crew riding the wave from its successes in its Spa 24 Hours debut last month.
Championship leader Jules Gounon and his new co-driver Albert Costa crossed the finish line in fifth place in the Callaway Corvette C7, enabling Gounon to further extend his lead in the standings. After the driver handover, Costa had an exciting scrap with the second Aust Audi driven by Markus Pommer and Kelvin van der Linde who ultimately had to settle for sixth place. Mercedes-AMG drivers Patrick Assenheimer and Maximilian Götz in HTP’s Mercedes were seventh, followed by Jeffrey Schmidt and Christopher Haase for Land Audi in eighth.
After finishing sixth in Race 2, the Aust Audi pairing of Markus Pommer and Kelvin van der Linde took the win in Sunday’s ADAC GT Masters race at the Nürburgring, their first of the season. Nick Catsburg and Philipp Eng in the Schnitzer BMW M6 took second place ahead of Jeffrey Schmidt and Christopher Haase for Montaplast by Land Motorsport who finished on the third step of the podium.
“I had a tough fight at first with the Porsche driven by Sven Müller,” said van der Linde. “I was a bit faster than him but couldn’t get past. Our strategy was therefore the key to victory in the end. The team executed a really great pit stop, and we were able to draw level with the BMW. That’s what decided the outcome of the race.”
Pole-sitter Philipp Eng dominated the first stint of the race at the Nürburgring for Schnitzer. The BMW driver defended his lead at the start and stayed out ahead until he handed the car over to his partner, Nick Catsburg. The race was decided during and after the round of pit stops. Catsburg exited the pit lane side by side with Pommer and initially retained the lead, but the race stewards thought that the BMW driver’s move constituted ‘unsafe release’ and directed that positions should be exchanged.
So Pommer stole P1 and began to draw away until the safety car came out yet again. After the restart, the BMW man was unable to match Pommer’s lap times. The Audi driver eventually took his maiden victory in the ADAC GT Masters by a margin of 4.5 seconds, eventually creating a small advantage. It was also a maiden win in the Super Sports Car League for Frank Aust’s team. This success in the ADAC GT Masters marked the end of a long fallow stretch for Pommer’s team-mate, Kelvin van der Linde. The last win for the 2014 champion came at the Sachsenring two years ago.
Catsburg and Eng were runners-up. This third podium finish of the season for Eng has now moved him up to second place in the 2017 championship and also reduced the deficit on the current title race leader Jules Gounon to 38 points, with four races to go. The Frenchman finished eighth in the Callaway Competition Corvette C7 he shared with Albert Costa. With the Audi pairing of Jeffrey Schmidt and Christopher Haase claiming the remaining spot on the podium, Schmidt also picked up his second winner’s trophy of the weekend in the Junior class for drivers aged under 25.
Rolf Ineichen and Christian Engelhart driving GRT Grasser Racing Team’s Lamborghini Huracan fought their way up from ninth on the grid to fourth place. Ineichen again won the Trophy class for amateur drivers, as he had done on Saturday. Dennis Marschall and Patric Niederhauser were fifth in the second Audi R8 entered by Aust Motorsport, finishing ahead of last year’s title winners Connor De Phillippi and Christopher Mies.
After an AMG GT3 won the first race, it was a surprise that Indy Dontje and Maximilian Buhk for Team HTP Motorsport were the best-placed of the Mercedes-AMG contingent, down in seventh.
The next round of the 2017 ADAC GT Masters season, the penultimate round of the year, is set to run from 15-17 September at the Sachsenring.