The year’s fifth round of the ADAC GT Masters was run under nice blue sky at the Red Bull Ring in the Austrian mountain.
Callaway Competition Corvette #1 with Marvin Kirchhöfer had qualified in Pole Position, ahead of BMW Team Schnitzer #42 with Mikkel Jensen behind the wheel, while Montaplast by Land-Motorsport Audi #28 with Sheldon van der Linde made it into three different brands in top three.
BMW Team Schnitzer #43 was the first “repeater” on the grid, before HB Racing Ferrari #7, Precote Herberth Motorsport Porsche #99, and Orange1 by GRT Grasser Lamborghini #63 gave a variation of brands to see. There was a brother-battle between #7 and #99, since Alfred Renauer, Robert’s brother, was in the Ferrari this weekend, because Dominik Schwager couldn’t participate this weekend. It was a little funny to drive against his own team, that Robert and Alfred own together.
Kim Luis Schramm started Team Zakspeed BKK Mobil Oil Racing #20 all the way back from 27th start position, so it would be another difficult race for him and his Danish teammate, Nicolai Sylvest.
The track was still green, due to a big thunderstorm between Friday and Saturday swept away all the rubber from the track.
Aust Motorsport Audi #3 didn’t do the warm up, since the car wouldn’t start. All the other cars were sent out on the warm up lap, and thus the start had to be cancelled so that the marshals could remove Nikolaj Rogivue’s car from the track.
The new start got delayed by five minutes, to give the teams some time to prepare the cars again. #3 was ready to take the start from the pitlane.
BMW Team Schnitzer #43 came up to third already in the first corner, in front of Montaplast by Land-Motorsport Audi #28, while HB Racing #7 fell back three places compared from where they started.
After only had been driving for five minutes, the Safety Car came out, when Team ISR Audi #33 with Filip Salaquarda stalled on the track and had to be pulled to safety.
When the race got restarted, Alfred Renauer was right behind Timo Bernhard’s rearwing in KÜS Team75 Bernhard #17, but he didn’t make it past.
MRS GT-Racing BMW #14 with Christopher Zöchling had a bit of a yoyo start, where he was well in top 10 before falling back to P9.
Montaplast by Land-Motorsport Audi #29 and BWT Mücke Motorsport Audi #25 swapped positions, in the battle for 16th place, where #29 got ahead in an exciting outbraking manoeuvre in Turn 4.
BWT Mücke Motorsport Audi #24 with Mike David Ortmann ended up on the gravel, right before the pitstop window opened.
Montaplast by Land-Motorsport #28 lost their digital numberplate in the windscreen. It hang and flapped in the wire, which was an extra distraction for Sheldon van der Linde.
With a risk of another Safety Car, KÜS Team75 Bernhard chose to pit right away, and the majority of the field followed suit.
Montaplast by Land-Motorsport Audi #29 was 0,2 seconds too fast in their pitstop and got a drive-through penalty.
Precote Herberth Motorsport #99 and KÜS Team75 Bernhard #17 drove side by side after their pitstop, where Kevin Estre in #17 had the nose in front but he did a small mistake under braking, and Mathieu Jaminet in #99 could drive past. The two Frenchmen had a wild duel in the next few laps, where Estre attempted to regain the position. It paid off some laps later, so Estre could now set his sight to Top 4.
Kelvin van der Linde in Montaplast by Land-Motorsport Audi #28 had a bit of contact with BMW Team Schnitzer #43 in Turn 3, where the South African pushed Victor Bouveng a little. A manoeuvre that got the stewards’s attention and gave them a warning.
The Safety Car was deployed on the track when all the cars already pitted, so that #24 could be removed by the officials.
There was already action in the restart, when Kevin Estre in #17 attacked Kelvin van der Linde in #28 right away. The two cars hit each other on the way to Turn 1, so there were debris flying everywhere, but luckily both could continue.
MRS GT-Racing BMW #14 was squeezed in a sandwich later in the lap, so Jens Klingmann broke the front suspension and was out of the race. It deployed the third Safety Car of the day to get the BMW removed.
The race was restarted with ten minutes left, and Estre directly went to attack Bouveng in P3, but he couldn’t get past.
Orange1 by Grasser GRT Lamborghini #63 had to retire with eight minutes left with a technical problem. Fortunately, Andrea Caldarelli drove the car out of the way so that a Safety Car wasn’t necessary.
Michele Beretta in Team Rosberg Lamborghini #53 clipped one of the commercial boards in the last corner, that got pulverised in small styrofoam pieces but nothing worse.
Precote Herberth Motorsport Porsche #99 and HB Racing #7 had a close duel through the second part of the race, where the two cars went side by side a few times – Robert Renauer against Luca Ludwig. #99 could however hold sixth place until the chequered flag.
Two cars that had a boring race, regarding battles, was Callaway Competition Corvette #1 with Marvin Kirchhöfer and Daniel Keilwitz, and BMW Team Schnitzer #42 with Mikkel Jensen and Timo Scheider, that finished the race in first and second place respectively, while BMW Team Schnitzer #43 with Victor Bouveng and Dennis Marschall completed the top three.
Nicolai Sylvest and Team Zakspeed BKK Mobil Racing #20 finished unfortunately in a disappointing 22nd position, far away from the points.
There is still one more race on Sunday, and it will be exciting to see if Corvette and BMW will be as dominant, or if Porsche, Audi, and Mercedes can catch up.