The 9th round of the ADAC GT Masters delivered plenty of action and great overtaking manoeuvres, in a race that really didn’t want to get going at the start.
Mercedes-AMG Team Zakspeed #21 with Luca Stolz and Luca Ludwig started from Pole Position, ahead of KÜS TEAM75 Bernhard Porsche #17 with Michael Ammermüller and Mathieu Jaminet, and BWT Mücke Motorsport Mercedes #26 with Sebastian Asch and Lucas Auer in third, while the Championship leading Callaway Competition Corvette #77 with Jules Gounon and reserve driver Albert Costa started fourth, followed by the best Audi in fifth, in the shape of Aust Motorsport #3 Markus Pommer and Kelvin van der Linde.
The best qualified Lamborghini was HB Racing #7 with Marco Mapelli and Norbert Siedler from P11, while the only BMW Team Schnitzer #42 with Philipp Eng and Nick Catsburg was all the way back in 16th.
Luca Stolz got a bad start, where he outbraked himself. He was being pressured by Gounon, who had a fantastic start, all the way to turn 1. Instead, it was BWT Mücke Motorsport Mercedes #26 that took the lead in front of Gounon in car #77.
Precote Herberth Motorsport Porsche #99 with Robert Renault got hit by Nicolai Sylvest on the way to turn 1, and it triggered a chain reaction, which meant that BWT Mücke Motorsport Audi #24 with Filip Salaquarda behind the wheel got stuck between #99 and Schütz Motorsport #36 with Klaus Bachler. #24 retired on the spot, while #99 could come back to the pits, though they had to retire anyway. The race leader gave Sylvest a drive-through penalty for the contact and it sent the Danish/Swedish car out of the top battle in this race.
The collision brought out a Safety Car on the track, to get the Audi removed and clean the debris.
About 10 minutes into the race, the green flag was shown, but it didn’t last long before there were troubles again. Audi Sport racing academy #9 with Eila Erhard was spun around by BWT Mücke Motorsport Audi #25 driven by Mike David Ortmann. Erhart ended up the in gravel and the Safety Car was once again back on the track. Before the SC boards were out, the HB Racing Lamborghini #7 was struck by Connor De Phillippi in the Montaplast by Land Motorsport Audi #1, which sent #7 into a spin. No further action was granted from the stewards.
The clean up took almost 10 minutes, leaving only 5 minutes before the mandatory pitstop window would open.
GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini #19 with Ezequiel Perez Companc was quick to get RWT Racing Corvette #13 driven by Sven Barth, right after the restart, in the battle for 11th.
Connor De Phillippi made a mistake going into the Veedol-S chicane and instead of being in top 10, he was now only 20th.
Aust Motorsport #3 and Mercedes-AMG Team HTP Motorsport #84 plus a lot of midfield cars were the first to enter the pits for the mandatory driver change.
Exactly halfway through the race, the leading BWT Mücke Motorsport Mercedes #26 and second placed Callaway Competition #77 went in for the handover too. #77 lost a few seconds and came out right ahead of the #3. Kelvin van der Linde in the #3 was pushing Albert Costa in #77 under a lot of pressure and rubbing the side of the Corvette a few times, but didn’t manage to get past.
The two GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini cars were battling hard with BMW Team Schnitzer #42, where it was ongoing both between and outside the racing lines of the circuit. The three cars were quite hard of each other, but two green cars made it past the BMW, who then fought back and got both positions, but it was a hard fight for Philipp Eng.
While BWT Mücke Motorsport #26 was still leading after the pitstop, KÜS TEAM75 Bernhard Porsche #17 was now in second position, ahead of Mercedes-AMG Team Zakspeed #21 and Aust Motorsport Audi #4.
Schütz Motorsport Porsche #36 led a whole train of cars with Montaplast by Land Motorsport #2, BMW Team Schnitzer #42 GRT Grasser Racing Team Lambo #63 and #19, HB Racing Lambo #6 and Mercedes-AMG Team HTP Motorsport #48. That gave a lot of fights and the #48 and #6 had light contact going into the Veedol-S chicane.
Lucas Auer in the BWT Mücke Motorsport #26 was leading so comfortably that only the dark cloud surrounding the track could get the team nervous.
More cars joined the #36, #2, #42, #63, #19, and #48 train, with HB Racing Lambo #7 and BWT Mücke Motorsport #25 also wanting to take part in the beautiful, colourful train. After several laps of trying, Christopher Haase in Montaplast by Land Motorsport Audi #2 made it past Alex Macdowall in the Schütz Motorsport Porsche #36, and after uncorking the bottle, Macdowall dropped like a stone behind the others, one by one.
In the meantime, YACO Racing Audi #50 and Montaplast by Land Motorsport Audi #1 also wanted to join the Schütz Motorsport #36 train, and therefore extended the battle.
After the 60 minutes plus one lap we saw BWT Mücke Motorsport Mercedes #26 victorious, ahead of KÜS TEAM75 Bernhard Porsche #17, Mercedes-AMG Team Zakspeed #21 and Aust Motorsport Audi #4.
The Championship leading Callaway Competition #77 made it home in fifth, and thus extended their lead to the nearest competitors, while today’s top-3 in the race results, all made a great leap upwards in the standings.
The second race of the weekend will be run tomorrow, Sunday.