Philipp Eng had taken Pole Position for BMW Team Schnitzer #42 with an impressive gap of 0,112 of a second to Kelvin van der Linde in Aust Motorsport Audi #3, Christopher Haase in Montaplast by Land Motorsport Audi #2, Patric Niederhauser in Aust Motorsport Audi #4 and Markus Winkelhock in BWT Mücke Motorsport Audi #24.
As you probably have guessed by now, there was plenty of speed in the Audis in the Qualifying session, but the difference that decided the starting grid was marginal, with 22 cars within one second! Only Nissan wasn’t represented as a brand.
Mercedes-AMG Team HTP Motorsport #48 had to find a few driver during Saturday evening, when race stewards decided to suspend Marvin Kirchhöfer for unsporting behaviour. He was involved in a collision with HB Racing Lambo #6, but something physical and/or verbally happened after the race, leading to the disqualification. The team had replace him with Maximilian Buhk. The Mercedes works driver did the 10th fastest time in Qualifying and was best Mercedes in the field.
The Championship leading Callaway Competition #77 was only to start from 13th, but Jules Gounon had such a big gap in Championship, that he could take it easy anyway. But 60 minutes plus one lap is a lot of time, so a lot can happen – and so it did.
The start was very chaotic. Sven Müller in Precote Herberth Motorsport Porsche #99 got an amazing start from 6th and Philipp Eng was close to outbraking himself going into turn 1 but managed to get through.
There was a huge pile-up at the back of the field, where MRS GT-Racing Nissan #22 outbraked himself and took HB Racing WDS Bau Lamborghini #7 with them into retirement, while Mercedes-AMG Team Zakspeed #20, Mercedes-AMG Team HTP Motorsport #84, KÜS TEAM75 Bernhard Porsche #18, Audi Sport racing academy Audi #9, Schütz Motorsport Porsche #36 and RWT Racing Corvette #13 all were also involved, but they could just untangle their cars and continue.
It took about 10 minutes of Safety Car time to get the track clear again, and shortly thereafter it was informed that Precote Herberth Motorsport #99 would get a 5 seconds time pitstop penalty for incorrect position during the start.
But that didn’t change the BMW Team Schnitzer #32 lead the race ahead of Precote Herberth Motorsport Porsche #99 and Aust Motorsport Audi #3.
Kelvin van der Linde in Aust Motorsport #3 put Sven Müller under hard pressure but didn’t manage to pass him. BWT Mücke Motorsport Audi #25 came into contact with Audi Sport racing academy #9 and send the white Audi shortly into the grass, before Ricardo Feller got the R8 LMS GT3 under control again.
When the pitstop window opened, HB Racing WDS Bau Lamborghini #6 spun at the pit entry, and it took a few seconds before Florian Spengler got the car pointing in the right direction.
When both BMW Team Schnitzer #42 and Aust Motorsport Audi #3 had done their pitstops, they drove side by side out of the pitlane, but the BMW just had it’s nose ahead. Race Control however told them to switch places, and put that message on the timing monitors shortly after.
One lap later the BMW driver Nick Catsburg let the Audi driver Markus Pommer get past, and then quickly had to shut the door for Jeffrey Schmidt in the Montaplast by Land Motorsport #2. He managed to do that and Pommer got a big gap to Catsburg, who was under hard pressure from Schmidt.
With 18 minutes left of the race, action broke out. Precote Herberth Motorsport Porsche #99 had lost some positions due to their pitstop penalty, and at the same time Callaway Competition Corvette #77 was on the way forward. The two cars collided in the Mercedes Arena, and the Porsche had to retire on the spot. It all started when #99 tried to overtake Mercedes-AMG Team HTP Motorsport #48. That opened the door on the inside for #77, who went for the tap, and there was contact.
At the same time we saw BWT Mücke Motorsport Audi #24 park next to the track with smoke from the engine bay, after being in a great 4th position. With two stranded cars on track, the Race Control had no other option than sending out a Safety Car.
Eleven minutes was left on the clock, when the action was resumed, and Aust Motorsport Audi #3 got a good restart and kept the lead, while BMW Team Schnitzer #42 was under hard pressure from Montaplast by Land Motorsport #2.
The Callaway Competition Corvette #77 car was still in the race in 8th position, even though parts were rattling off their car.
There wasn’t much change during the final laps, and Aust Motorsport #3 took a commanding win ahead of BMW Team Schnitzer #42 and Montaplast by Land Motorsport #2. That victory was a first for the team in ADAC GT Masters, after visiting the podium in Zandvoort 14 days ago.
Callway Competition #77 kept their lead in the Championship with Jules Gounon, while BMW Team Schnitzer #42 gained many positions after their good race.
The next race will be run at Sachsenring on September 16th-17th.