The Lamborghini pairing of Mirko Bortolotti (29, ITA) and Christian Engelhart (32, GER, both Orange1 by GRT Grasser) secured a third win of the season in Saturday’s ADAC GT Masters race at Hockenheim (Baden-Württemberg) to keep themselves in contention for the title in the Super Sports Car League. Second place went to Indy Dontje (26, NL) and Maximilian Götz (33, GER, both Mann-Filter Team HTP) in a Mercedes-AMG. Finishing third were pole-sitter Dennis Marschall (23, GER) and Carrie Schreiner (21, GER, both HCB-Rutronik Racing) in the best of the large Audi contingent. « A perfect day, » said Bortolotti. « I am very happy with our third win of the season. This success was extremely important to us. »
Title contenders get their wings clipped The eleventh race of the season began with a heart-stopping moment on the first lap. The Audi driven by Maximilian Hackländer (29, GER, Aust Motorsport) spun in the Parabolika after a contact, setting off a chain reaction that had serious consequences for two drivers with a stake in the title fight. Several cars collided while taking evasive action, including the Corvette of Markus Pommer (28, GER) and Marvin Kirchhöfer (25, CH, both Callaway Competition) who were second in the standings, and with the Audi of Max Hofer (20, AUT) and Christopher Mies ( 30, GER, both Montaplast by Land-Motorsport) who went into the race third in the championship. Both cars were so badly damaged that they were unable to rejoin the field for the subsequent restart after a short break.
Pole-sitter Dennis Marschall defended his lead again on the second start but then came under pressure from Lamborghini man Bortolotti who tried several times to get past but without success. The Italian launched a fresh attack shortly before coming in for his mandatory pit stop when Marschall was held up by a car he needed to lap. Bortolotti made his move stick this time, taking the lead on the approach to the hairpin. A few minutes later, he handed over to partner Christian Engelhart, who comfortably maintained the lead through to the finish. This third win of the season takes the pairing up into second place in the overall standings. Bortolotti and Engelhart are now 38 points behind leaders, Patric Niederhauser (27, CH) and Kelvin van der Linde (23, ZA, both HCB-Rutronik Racing), with 75 points available from the three remaining races, so they still have a realistic chance of lifting the title.
The fight for the other podium spots was just as exciting. Carrie Schreiner took over from Dennis Marschall. She was briefly in second place after the pit stops but had to relinquish position to Mercedes-AMG man Maximilian Götz and to HCB-Rutronik Racing team-mate Kelvin van der Linde, dropping down to P4. Götz and van der Linde then fought a thrilling duel for second place. On the final lap, van der Linde managed to overtake the yellow Mercedes-AMG. After taking the chequered flag, however, the South African and partner Niederhauser were subsequently handed a 30-second penalty for overtaking under the yellow flags, which bumped them down the field into ninth place. Dontje and Götz moved up to second place while Dennis Marschall and birthday girl Carrie Schreiner secured their maiden podium for P3 and also won through in the Pirelli Junior classification for young drivers. Schreiner is now the third woman after Claudia Hürtgen and Rahel Frey to make it into the ADAC GT Masters Top Three.
Daniel Keilwitz (30, GER) and Jimmy Eriksson (28, SWE) in a Mercedes-AMG missed the podium by only 0.5 seconds but registered the best result of the season so far for Team Zakspeed BKK Mobil Oil Racing. Fifth place went to the Porsche pairing of Timo Bernhard (38, GER) and Klaus Bachler (28, AUT, both Küs Team75 Bernhard).
Ricardo Feller (19, CH) and Dries Vanthoor (21, BEL, both Montaplast by Land-Motorsport) in P6 led home a convoy of no fewer than five Audis. In P7 were Filip Salaquarda (35, CZ) and Frank Stippler (44, GER, both Team ISR), and in P8 were Maximilian Paul (19, GER) and William Tregurtha (19, GB, both T3 Motorsport) claiming their first Top Ten finish in the series. P9 went to championship leaders Niederhauser and van der Linde after their retrospective penalty and P10 to Jeffrey Schmidt (25, CH) and Christopher Haase (31, GER, both BWT Mücke Motorsport).
Comments from the winners:
Mirko Bortolotti (Orange1 by GRT Grasser, Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo): « I had a good restart and got myself alongside Dennis Marschall, but I had to back off because it was all rather tight. I then opted to stick behind him and only went back on the attack towards the end of my stint. I had some luck with the traffic coming out of the pit lane and managed to get past. This victory makes me especially happy for the whole team who have worked so hard. »
Christian Engelhart (Orange1 by GRT Grasser, Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo): « Today, everything went perfectly. Especially when you see how close the cars are in terms of performance at Hockenheim. In the current championship situation, it’s extremely important for us and for the entire team to win races and score a lot of points. I can only thank them for the sensationally good preparation. What the Grasser team are achieving at the moment is immense. »
Press release ADAC GT Masters]]>