The racing was tight in the new weekend format at the ADAC GT Masters in Sachsenring with BMW and Audi taking the honours…Race 1
Dominik Baumann (22, AUT) and Jens Klingmann (25, DEU) sharing the cockpit of a BMW Sports Trophy Team Schubert Z4 GT3 boosted their ADAC GT Masters title aspirations in a commanding one-two victory for BMW at the Sachsenring. The BMW duo won by a tight 0.126-second margin ahead of BMW Sports Trophy Team Schubert team-mates Claudia Hürtgen (43, DEU) and Uwe Alzen (48, DEU). This third victory of the 2015 campaign takes Baumann and Klingmann up into second place in the standings. With five races left before the end of the season, they are now the closest pursuers behind the leading pair of Luca Ludwig (26, DEU) and Sebastian Asch (29, DEU) who finished fifth in their Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3. “This victory has certainly advanced our cause in the title race,” said a delighted Klingmann. “If we’re not able to come first here, then we’re not able to anywhere. For us, the Sachsenring is the best track on the calendar, so we have to take maximum points here.” Also putting in a strong performance were the Callaway Competition Corvette pairing of Andreas Wirth (30, DEU) and Daniel Keilwitz (26, DEU) who managed a third-place finish after starting way back on the grid in 15th.
BMWs claim imperious double victory
The BMW one-two victory at the Sachsenring was never in any danger. Starting from pole, Hürtgen immediately pulled out a gap ahead of team-mate Baumann, which had increased to 7.2 seconds going into the mandatory pit stop window. A safety car deployment then neutralised the gap after Rahel Frey (29, AUT) in the third-placed YACO Racing Audi R8 spun off track and Maximilian Buhk (22, DEU) had to park up his Bentley Team HTP Continental due to a technical defect. After the driver changeover and restart, the BMW double lead with Alzen ahead of Klingmann continued as before. Three laps before the race end, Klingmann prevailed in the internal team duel against Alzen to post a third victory of the season.
Klingmann: “Immediately after the pit stop, I was able to make up ground on Uwe Alzen. He was weaker on the brakes, so I was able to get alongside him. Uwe played fair during the overtaking manoeuvre.”
Commenting on his seventh ADAC GT Masters career victory, Baumann said: “Claudia was really flying in the first half of the race; her car was so good that I focused on hanging onto second place and giving Jens a good car for the second stint.”
Corvette pair Wirth and Keilwitz stage impressive charge up field
Wirth and Keilwitz in their Corvette laid on a great display of overtaking. Starting from P15, Wirth worked his way forward through the field. After the safety car period and the driver changeover halfway through the race, Keilwitz improved from eleventh to fourth place within the space of eight laps and ultimately inherited third place when the kfzteile24 MS Racing Audi R8 of Edward Sandström (36, SWE) skidded off into the gravel. Making their contribution to a strong team performance by Callaway Competition were fourth-placed Diego Alessi (43, ITA) and Patrick Assenheimer (23, DEU). Assenheimer watched team-mate Keilwitz’s back in the second half of the race, holding off the challenge from the Team Zakspeed Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG driven by Ludwig and Asch as well as the HP Racing SLS AMG of Hari Proczyk (39, AUT) and Andreas Simonsen (25, SWE).
Nissan duo Jöst and Scholze new joint Gentlemen leaders
Andreas Weishaupt (42, DEU) and Christer Jöns (28, DEU) of C.Abt Racing were the best placed of the Audis in seventh, at the same time celebrating their third win of the season in the Gentlemen class. On his ADAC GT Masters comeback, Albert von Thurn und Taxis (32, DEU) together with Reiter Engineering co-driver Tomas Enge (38, CZ) finished eighth in the Lamborghini Gallardo. Ninth place went to Martin Ragginger (27, AUT) and Klaus Bachler (24, AUT) in the GW IT Racing Team Schütz Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3, a result which meant that Bachler lost second place in the championship to race winners Klingmann and Baumann. Florian Scholze (42, DEU) and Dominik Jöst (36, DEU) in an MRS GT-Racing Nissan GT-R claimed one championship point for tenth and also took the lead in the Gentlemen standings.
ADAC GT Masters defending champion Kelvin van der Linde (19, ZAF) has come to the end of a long lean spell. In temperatures of around 35 degrees at the Sachsenring, the South African and his C.Abt Racing team-mate Stefan Wackerbauer (19, DEU) steered their Audi R8 to a first win of the season. The Audi duo eventually prevailed in a thrilling finish against the Bentley Team HTP pairing of Clemens Schmid (25, AUT) and Fabian Hamprecht (20, DEU), who took their maiden podium finish, by 0.6 seconds. “I have no words,” said a delighted van der Linde, who also won at Sachsenring in 2014. “Sachsenring is my favourite track; things could not have gone more perfectly than they did today.” Meanwhile, Klaus Bachler (24, AUT) and Martin Ragginger (27, AUT) in the GW IT Racing Team Schütz Motorsport Porsche 911 opened up the title chase once again. Third place in the race was enough to restore Bachler’s second place in the standings and reduce the deficit on championship leaders Sebastian Asch (29, DEU) and Luca Ludwig (26, DEU) to 23 points with four races to go in the 2015 season. Asch and Ludwig had to park up their Team Zakspeed Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG today due to a steering defect.
Quick pit stop gives Audi the lead
Perfect work by the pit crew and an optimum strategy secured the Audi outfit owned and managed by Christian Abt their first win of the season. At the start, van der Linde held on in third place behind the Porsche driven by Bachler and the Bentley of Hamprecht. Slick pit stop strategy then brought the Audi out in the lead. Van der Linde stopped later than his opponents for the mandatory change of drivers, the red R8 also spent less time in the box.
Consequently, Wackerbauer emerged from the pit lane just ahead of Schmid in the Bentley and Ragginger in the Porsche. The Bentley driver then put the leading Audi under continuous pressure throughout the second stint but eventually had to concede defeat by a narrow 0.6 second margin. “This victory was above all a great team effort,” added van der Linde. “We’ve not had much luck so far this year, but we’ve finally made the breakthrough here. At last, we’ve notched up a race win. Hopefully, we can continue in the same vein at Zandvoort in three weeks’ time.”
“It’s incredible,” said Wackerbauer after recording his maiden win in the series. “We’ve finally done it. The key to victory was the late pit stop after perfect preliminary work by Kelvin. We were able to overtake the competition and take the lead. Finally, all the hard work by our team in recent months has paid off.”
The battle for third place was equally hard fought. Ragginger had to defend himself against attacks by Luca Stolz (20, DEU) in a Bentley Continental before bringing the 911 home in third place. Stolz and Bentley Team HTP co-driver Maximilian Buhk (22, DEU) had to settle for fourth. Bachler took seven points out of the championship leaders at the Sachsenring: “I am now in striking distance of the leaders and will continue to give it everything I’ve got. The season isn’t over until the last race at Hockenheim.”
Hari Proczyk (39, AUT) and Andreas Simonsen (25, SWE) in the HP Racing Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG crossed the line in fifth place ahead of Florian Stoll (34, DEU) and Marc Basseng (36, DEU) in their kfzteile24 MS RACING Audi R8. Local favourite Philip Geipel (28, DEU) from nearby Plauen and Rahel Frey (29, CH) in the YACO Racing Audi R8 took seventh ahead of Saturday’s race winners Dominik Baumann (22, AUT) and Jens Klingmann (25, DEU). The BMW Sports Trophy Team Schubert pairing had to work their way up the field from 13th to eighth after encountering difficulties in qualifying. Baumann and Klingmann now find themselves back in third position, 31 points behind the championship leaders. Jordan Lee Pepper (19, ZA) and Nicki Thiim (26, DK) of C.Abt Racing finished the race in ninth place ahead of the Callaway Competition Corvette driven by Andreas Wirth (30, DEU) and Daniel Keilwitz (26, DEU).
Nissan make it two wins out of two in the Gentlemen trophy
Florian Scholze (42, DEU) and Dominic Jöst (36, DEU) sharing the cockpit of an MRS GT Racing Nissan GT-R came away from the weekend with maximum points in the Gentlemen class. In the absence of title rival Remo Lips, the Nissan duo triumphed on Sunday ahead of MRS GT-Racing team-mate Marc Gassner (24, DEU) and at the same time further increased their lead in the competition for amateur drivers.