It was a dramatic season finale in ADAC GT Masters, that was run at Hockenheim.
MANN-FILTER Team HTP Mercedes #47 had taken Pole Position ahead of EFP by TECE Audi #12, GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini #82, and Montaplast by Land-Motorsport Audi #28. The championship leader Precote Herberth Motorsport Porsche #99 would start the race back from P10, while yesterday’s winner as well as P2 in the championship, Callaway Competition Corvette #1 was all the way back in 27th position. They had a lot of cars to overtake before going back to the points.
Mikkel Jensen and Timo Scheider would start from P5 in BMW Team Schnitzer #42, while Team Zakspeed BKK Mobil Oil Racing Mercedes #20 with Nicolai Sylvest and Kim Luis Schramm started the race from 20th position.
Aust Motorsport Audi #3 would start from the last position, since Nikolaj Rogivue had gotten a penalty after the collision under the start yesterday, which was for the car to start last on the grid for today’s race.
It didn’t take many corners before something happened that partly decided the championship.
In Turn 1, Dries Vanthoor in #12 dived on the inside of Maximilian Götz in #47 and sent both cars off the track, and out of the race. Unfortunately it also involved KÜS Team75 Bernhard Porsche #18 and Team ISR #33.
First the Safety Car was deployed, but the race director then chose to stop the race in order to clean up the cars.
The race was restarted with 46 minutes left on the clock, and GRT Grasser Racing Team #82 got a huge gap to Montaplast by Land-Motorsport Audi #28 and BMW Team Schnitzer #42, with Precote Herberth Motorsport Porsche #99 on P4.
They only drove for one lap before Kim Luis Schramm in Team Zakspeed BKK Mobil Oil Racing Mercedes #20 had to retire with a broken suspension, which gave out under braking in Turn 2. It completed the nightmare season for him and Nicolai Sylvest, where the podium place in Sachsenring as well as Sylvest’s Pole Position at the Nürburgring were sadly the only highlights of the 2018 season.
In the middle of the field, Callaway Competition Corvette #1 was on the move, where Daniel Keilwitz was up to 14th place after only seven minutes.
GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini #82 had a big lead of more than five seconds, while there as a long train behind Montaplast by Land-Motorsport Audi #28.
Kevin Estre had gotten KÜS Team75 Bernhard #17 up from 18th to 6th place, before he went to the pits.
Robert Renauer in #99 came back on the track ahead of Timo Bernhard in #17, and was under pressure right away from the fellow Porsche driver.
MANN-FILTER Team HTP Mercedes #48 also came out in front of #99, who took fifth place with 14 minutes left of the race. It would be enough to claim the championship at that time, but a lot of things could still happen, which was proven again and again in ADAC GT Masters.
It was, however, #48 that was on the way forward and dived past BMW Team Schnitzer #42 in the hairpin, and thus swapped the last podium place from BMW to Mercedes.
Sheldon van der Linde in Montaplast by Land-Motorsport Audi #28 was closing up on Rolf Ineichen in GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini #82, and was about two seconds behind them, with ten minutes left.
Callaway Competition Corvette #1 was up to seventh. But they should catch up Precote Herberth Motorsport Porsche #99 with ten points, in order to win the championship – so #99 still had the upper hand with seven minutes left of the race.
With four minutes left, van der Linde was right behind Ineichen, where the South African went past with an ultra late braking in front of the Mercedes Tribune – with one and a half minutes remaining.
It meant that Precote Herberth Motorsport Porsche #99 was suddenly only one point ahead of #28 in the championship
There was excitement all the way to the chequered flag, where Kelvin and Sheldon van der Linde in Montaplast by Land-Motorsport Audi #28 won the race, in front ot GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini #82 with Christian Engelhart and Rolf Ineichen, and MANN-FILTER Team HTP Mercedes #48 with Maximilian Buhk and Indy Dontje.
But Robert Renauer og Mathieu Jaminet in Precote Herbert Motorsport Porsche #99 were the biggest winners. They won the championship ahead of Montaplast by Land-Motorsport Audi #28 with Sheldon and Kelvin van der Linde, Callaway Competition Corvette #1 with Daniel Keilwitz and Marvin Kirchhöfer, as well as Maximillian Götz and Markus Pommer in MANN-FILTER Team HTP Mercedes #47 in third and fourth.
MANN-FILTER Team HTP won the team championship, ahead of Montaplast by Land-Motorsport and Precote Herberth Motorsport.
Remo Lips, for the third season in a row, won the gentleman driver’s trophy. Jan-Erik Slooten was second, followed by Sven Barth, Claudia Hürtgen and Rolf Ineichen respectively.
Sheldon van der Linde won the Junior championship, in front of Mikkel Jensen and Indy Dontje.
It was the ending of a fantastic ADAC GT Masters season. 12 different teams won the 14 races. Only Callaway Competition Corvette #1 had more than one victory this season, while MANN-FILTER Team HTP Mercedes #47 and #1 were the only ones taking two Pole Positions.