Race Reviews

GT Masters: Zakspeed dominate at the Lausitzring

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It was a thrilling weekend at the GT Masters round at the Lausitzring with Mercedes and BMW taking the glory0687218Race 1

Second win of season for BMW pairing in temperatures of 38°C at Lausitzring. Enthralling photo finish for second place between Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

Dominik Baumann (22, AUT) and Jens Klingmann (24, GER) of BMW Sports Trophy Team Schubert became the first pairing to claim two wins in the 2015 ADAC GT Masters. They steered their BMW Z4 to a second victory in three races and also had the distinction of winning the hottest race in Super Sports Car League history, contending with temperatures of more than 38°C. There was also a scorching battle for second place which ended in a photo finish. Hari Proczyk (39, AUT) and Andreas Simonsen (25, SWE) in an HP Racing Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 crossed the line half a car length – equivalent to 0.039 seconds – ahead of the BMW Sports Trophy Team Schubert Z4 driven by Claudia Hürtgen (43, GER) and Uwe Alzen (47, GER). “In the first half of the race, it didn’t look like we were in with a chance of victory, because we were back in fourth place,” said Klingmann after picking up the sixth winner’s trophy of his ADAC GT Masters career. “But we then made an early pit stop, and I had the job of pushing hard for two laps to be in first place after the round of pit stops. And it worked.”

Porsche man Ragginger leads first stint

The race started with a test of patience for fans, drivers and teams. After a collision on Lap 1, the C.Abt Racing Audi R8 driven by Stefan Wackerbauer (19, GER) left an almost three-kilometre trail of oil on the track, i.e. from Turn 1 to the pit lane entrance. In order to have all traces of the lubricant removed, the safety car was deployed on the second lap, but after twelve minutes, the decision was taken to halt the race. The stoppage lasted 53 minutes while the track was cleaned. On the restart of the race, now shortened to 40 minutes, pole-sitter Martin Ragginger (27, AUT) asserted his lead in the GW IT Racing Schütz Motorsport Porsche 911, closely pursued by Daniel Dobitsch (31, AUT) in the kfzteile24 MS Racing Audi R8 and Sebastian Asch (29, GER) in the Team Zakspeed Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG.

Clever pit strategy gives BMW lead

However, after Ragginger had handed over the car to team-mate Klaus Bachler (23, AUT), the second-stint driver found himself back in third place. Thanks to fast and perfectly timed pit stops, the BMWs of Klingmann and Alzen had succeeded in undercutting the Porsche. While Klingmann drew away from Alzen to comfortably secure his second win of the season with a lead of 4.3 seconds, Alzen had to defend his position hard. In a battle over the final lap, Mercedes driver Simonsen prevented a BMW one-two; in a bold overtaking manoeuvre on the final corner, the Swede passed Alzen to take second place.

“We were the first team to switch drivers today, which was the key to victory for us,” said Baumann after reprising his 2014 race win at the Lausitzring. “A Mercedes-Benz held us up to begin with. Jens came out into clean air after the changeover, allowing him to push on and so take the lead.”

Klingmann: “Our car was extremely good after the pit stop, but we began to lose traction towards the end. I was pleased that I already had a solid lead by that time.”

At the Lausitzring, championship leaders Sebastian Asch and Luca Ludwig (26, GER) continued their impressive run of results, once again finishing in the Top Four in a seventh consecutive race. Ragginger and Bachler were unable to hang on to third place in the second stint of the race and placed fifth. The two Bentley Continentals of Luca Stolz (19, GER) partnered by Jeroen Bleekemolen (33, NED) and of Clemens Schmid (24, AUT) partnered by Fabian Hamprecht (20, AUT) finished sixth and seventh respectively. Florian Stoll (33, GER) and Marc Basseng (36, GER) in a kfzteile24 MS Racing Audi R8 LMS were ranked eighth, while their team-mates Daniel Dobitsch and Edward Sandström (36, SWE), who had been in second place during the first stint, ran out of luck and had to retire with a gearbox problem.

Andreas Wirth (30, GER) and Daniel Keilwitz (25, GER) in a Callaway Competition Corvette managed to claw their way up into ninth place after Wirth had been put into a spin on the second lap by the C.Abt Racing Audi driven by Jordan Lee Pepper (18, ZA) and had been temporarily consigned to the rear of the field. Rahel Frey (29, CH) and Philip Geipel (28, GER) in the YACO Racing Audi R8 took the last of the points-scoring places.

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Win for BMW also in the Gentlemen class

BMW not only wrapped up the overall victory in Race 1 at the Lausitzring but also secured the class win in the Gentlemen stakes. Jakub Knoll (24, CZ) achieved his maiden win after Senkyr Motorsport co-driver Lennart Marioneck (26, GER) overtook the RWT Racing Team Corvette of Remo Lips (32, CH) and Sven Barth (34, GE) on the final lap. The Corvette had been in second place in the Gentlemen class up until that point. Andreas Weishaupt (42, GER) in a C.Abt Racing Audi R8 finished third after being handed a drive-through penalty for an infringement of the rules during the pit stop.

Leaders start from pole position on Sunday

After securing fourth place on Saturday, championship leaders Asch and Ludwig have already been crowned ‘half-time champions’ ahead of the eighth race of the year and the end of the first half of the season. The Mercedes-Benz pair will start from pole position on Sunday and aim to finish the first half of the campaign with their second win of 2015. Nicki Thiim (26, DK) in a C.Abt Racing Audi R8 will start alongside Ludwig on the front row, while Corvette driver Keilwitz and Bachler in the Porsche will be lurking behind.

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Race 2

Championship leaders Asch and Ludwig celebrate second victory of season at Lausitzring. Corvette driver Lips leads Gentlemen class going into mid-term break.

Sebastian Asch (29, GER) and Luca Ludwig (26, GER) rounded off the first half of the 2015 season in perfect style at the Lausitzring on Sunday, claiming a victory from pole position in their Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG that was watched by Brandenburg’s Minister President Dietmar Woidke. This second race win of 2015 crowned an impressive first half of the campaign: in the eight races so far, the Zakspeed duo, who are both sons of famous motor racing fathers, have consistently finished in the Top Four. They now go into the summer break as ‘halftime champions’. Andreas Wirth (30, GER) and Daniel Keilwitz (25, GER) in a Callaway Competition Corvette finished second. In an exciting and hard-fought duel, Klaus Bachler (23, AUT) and Martin Ragginger (27, AUT) brought their GW IT Racing Team Schütz Motorsport Porsche 911 home in third place. “We cut a reasonably fine figure,” quipped Asch modestly after the victory. “The result is perfect, but we still have eight races to go this year. A lot can happen in that time. But now we can take a breather and look back with pleasure on our successes in the first half of the season.”

Keilwitz dominates first stint of Sunday’s race for fourth time in a row

The first half of the race was a re-run of the previous three Sundays in the ADAC GT Masters. Corvette driver Keilwitz went into P1 on the first lap from grid position four and was still in the lead at the driver changeover. After the pit stop, Asch in the Mercedes-Benz put pressure on front-runner Wirth, moving into the lead on Lap 26. Asch then opened up a gap on the Corvette which increased to as much as five seconds at times. In the end, he clinched the win 2.6 seconds up on his adversary. He and Ludwig subsequently accepted the winner’s trophy from Brandenburg’s first minister, Dr Woidke.

“Luca handed the car over to me in second place, and I had to push very hard to take the lead,” said Asch. “Our pit stop was perfect; the Corvette was then unable to match our speed, and I took over at the front when Wirth made a small mistake. We’re delighted that our car was so fast in these extreme temperatures.”

“I’m just very happy that our season has been so consistent and has gone without any mistakes so far,” said Ludwig, who also shone in the race by posting the fastest lap after securing pole position. “We’re always well towards the front in qualifying, which is the place to be if you want to post good results. Today’s victory was extremely important after missing the podium yesterday, but we must continue to work hard, because we have some tough challenges ahead of us in the second half of the season.”

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Superb battle for P3

The fight for third place was exciting until the very end. In a tough scrap for the final place on the podium, Ragginger in the Porsche fended off the BMW Sports Trophy Team Schubert Z4 of Saturday’s winners Dominik Baumann (22, AUT) and Jens Klingmann (24, GER). The two Audi R8s fielded by kfzteile24 MS Racing produced a strong team performance. Daniel Dobitsch (31, AUT) and Edward Sandström (36, SWE) in fifth place posted their best joint result of the season, while Florian Stoll (33, GER) and Marc Basseng (36, GER) took the chequered flag in sixth position.

Luca Stolz (19, GER) and Jeroen Bleekemolen (33, NL) in the Bentley Team HTP Continental GT3 beat off competition from the BMW Sports Trophy Team Schubert Z4 of Claudia Hürtgen (43, GER) and Uwe Alzen (47, GER) to place seventh. The second Bentley Team HTP pairing of Clemens Schmid (24, AUT) and Fabian Hamprecht (20, AUT) finished the race in ninth position. Rahel Frey (29, CH) and Philip Geipel (28, GER) brought home their YACO Racing Audi R8 LMS in tenth place, just as they had done on Saturday.

Third win of season for Corvette driver Lips

Remo Lips (32, CH) goes into the summer break as the leader in the Gentlemen standings. Ably assisted by RWT Racing Team co-driver Sven Barth (34, GER), the Corvette man achieved his third victory of the season to further extend the championship lead which he established on Saturday. Jakub Knoll (24, CZ), class winner on Saturday in the Senkyr Motorsport BMW Z4, finished the second race as runner-up.

Both races at the Lausitzring were characterised by extreme heat, with the thermometer peaking at 38 degrees. “The weather this weekend has presented the drivers, teams, organisers and even the spectators with special challenges,” said ADAC Director Motorsport and Classic Lars Soutschka. “Despite the very high temperatures, everyone has kept a cool head, and we have seen great motor racing on all three days. Special thanks go to our dedicated track marshals who have done such an extraordinary job this weekend in these extreme temperatures.”

After the race at the Lausitzring, the ADAC GT Masters takes a six-week summer break. The second half of the 2015 Super Sports Car League season resumes on the weekend of 14th 16th August at the Nürburgring.