The ADAC GT Masters 2020 season finally got going, with the opening round being run today at the Lausitzring between Berlin and Dresden.
Toksport WRT Mercedes #22 with Luca Stolz and Maro Engel had Pole Position for the Saturday race, ahead of T3-HRT Motorsport Audi #71 with Maximilian Paul and Niels Langeveld, while Team WRT Audi #32 with Charles Weerts and Dries Vanthoor were P3.
The defending Champions from Rutronik Racing Audi #31 with Patric Niederhauser and Kelvin van der Linde started the race in 9th position.
It was a crazy start to the race, with Toksport WRT Mercedes #22 not getting away too quickly from the rolling start, and the whole field came wooshing from behind. Especially the two Precote Herberth Motorsport Porsche #7 and #99 with the Renauer twins Alfred and Robert from starting position P4 and P6 were going for the lead into Turn 1. Alfred in #7 managed to do so, while Robert in the #99 slotted into third, behind the Mercedes. It went all wrong for the T3-HRT Motorsport Audi #71, who dropped through the field like a stone, and even had a trip through the gravel, before the first lap of the race even had been completed.
Team Zakspeed BKK Mobil Oil Racing #21 had a trip through the grass in Turn 3 but was soon back on the tarmac again.
Team WRT Audi #30 retired already on lap 3, with Rolf Ineichen having to park the car, but thankfully way off the racing line, so they didn’t have to move the car to a place of safety.
It didn’t go smooth either for Team WRT Audi #32, who had a solo spin, when Charles Weerts got out of racing line and spun around. They had already far back in the field, so a few lost seconds didn’t make much of a difference for them.
Luca Stolz was started to get frustrated behind Alfred Renauer, so the Mercedes driver in #22 punted the rear of the Porsche driver, at the end of the back straight. #7 ended up dropping all the way to 15th, before Alfred got the car up to speed again.
That made the SSR Performance Porsche #92 with Michael Ammermüller move into third in the race.
The stewards were naturally looking into the contact between the two leading cars.
Further early retirements, unfortunately, hit MRS GT-Racing BMW #14 with Nicolai Sylvest and Jens Klingmann, with Sylvest having to pull into the pits even before Klingmann got his chance in the car. The same thing happened for Rutronik Racing Audi #8, where Dennis Marschall had to park the car even before Carrie Scheiner got her stint in.
The stewards didn’t even manage to finish looking at the video of the previous incident, before the other Precote Herberth Motorsport Porsche #99 was involved in a different accident. Markus Pommer in the Callaway Competition Corvette #77 tried to overtake SSR Performance Porsche #92 with Michael Ammermüller. Pommer was way off-line and lost the car completely in the braking zone, almost scraping the door of Ammermüller, and ended up smashing into the rear of poor Renauer in #99, who had no chance to see it coming. That left both #77 and #99 with a lot of damage, and a Safety Car was required to tow the Porsche away.
It was a very unfortunate day for the Renauer twins, with both being shovelled off the track, totally innocent – with the only difference being, that Alfred could continue in the race, while Robert was out.
The race was restarted with KÜS Team75 Bernhard Porsche #17 in second, but Klaus Bachler was past Toksport WRT Mercedes #22 already before the first turn.
The mandatory pit window for driver changes opened shortly after.
After almost 20 minutes of studying the videos, the stewards decision was that the contact between Toksport WRT Mercedes #22 and Precote Herberth Motorsport Porsche #7 was a racing accident, with no further action. Not sure that Alfred would agree about that…
The leading KÜS Team75 Bernhard Porsche #17 with Klaus Bachler, was one of the final cars to pit, and handed the car over to Simona De Silvestro. #17 came out of the pits side by side the Toksport WRT Mercedes #22, but Maro Engel got ahead.
Aust Motorsport Audi #3 had been too fast during their pitstop, and didn’t respect the minimum pitstop time. So they were handed a Drive-through penalty that they had to do. There were already towards the rear of the field, so that didn’t really cost them anything.
SSR Performance Porsche #92 with Christian Engelhart also got out ahead of KÜS Team75 Bernhard Porsche #17, so they were second in the race.
De Silvestro in #17 got under pressure from Christopher Mies, who was absolutely flying in the race, with the Land Motorsport Audi #29 having started 25th, but she did manage to withstand the initial pressure.
You should think that the Porsche cars had a huge magnet on the rear of their cars, because it ended up with a hattrick of contact between the opposition and a Porsche, when Mies pushed De Silvestro around, going out on the start-finish straight. That send both cars way back in the field, but thankfully without any damage. The #29 got a post-race penalty of 30 seconds for the contact.
There was some close racing between GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini #63 and the MANN-FILTER Team HTP-Winward Mercedes #47, where Franck Perera in #63 got past Maximilian Götz in #47, in the fight for fourth in the race.
The #47 lost another position a few laps later, when Rutronik Racing Audi #31 with Kelvin van der Linde also found a way past.
The final laps of the race passed with #22 closely followed by #92, but Toksport WRT Mercedes #22 with Luca Stolz and Maro Engel did end up winning a very chaotic race, ahead of SSR Performance Porsche #92 with Michael Ammermüller and Christian Engelhart, while Land Motorsport Audi #28 with Christopher Haase and Max Hofer finished third.
Tomorrow is a brand new day in the ADAC GT Masters, with a new Qualifying session, and another race to be run.