Indy Dontje (26, NL) and Maximilian Götz (33, GER, both Mann-Filter Team HTP) claimed a first win of the season for Mercedes-AMG at the Sachsenring. In the penultimate race of the campaign, Dontje and Götz were on unbeatable form, completing a lights-to-flag victory by a margin of 31 seconds. The runner-up spot went to Max Hofer (20, AUT) and Christopher Mies (30, GER, both Montaplast by Land-Motorsport), a result that was enough to see Hofer win Saturday’s Pirelli Junior class. Kelvin Snoeks (32, NL) and Mick Wishofer (19, AUT, both Team Zakspeed BKK Mobil Oil Racing) finished third in another Mercedes-AMG GT3. « We’ve done it at last, » exclaimed a jubilant Indy Dontje. « It’s been a really great day today: pole position, a good race and the fastest lap – what more could anyone want? »
Decisive lights-to-flag victory
The first win of the season for Indy Dontje and Maximilian Götz could not have been a more clear-cut affair. Pole-sitter Dontje laid the foundations for success at the start. As Dontje was defending his lead, Dennis Marschall, who had also started on the front row in the Audi, got in the way of Corvette man David Jahn and dropped to the back of the field after going off into the gravel bed on the first corner. Dontje then gradually pulled away from his pursuers, fellow Mercedes-AMG driver Mick Wishofer who moved up five positions with a strong start, Marvin Dienst (22, GER, Schütz Motorsport) and Daniel Keilwitz (30, GER, Team Zakspeed BKK Mobil Oil Racing), and had built up a lead of almost four seconds before the mandatory change of drivers. At the finish line, partner Götz had extended the gap to almost 32 seconds.
For the chasing pack, however, it was a much more fluid situation. Wishofer’s partner Kelvin Snoeks defended second place until the final stages but had to let Christopher Mies in the Audi go past with six laps remaining. Mies made sure of the win in the Pirelli Trophy classification for his partner, Austrian driver Max Hofer, who now has the overall lead in class thanks to this well-timed result in the penultimate race. Wishofer and Snoeks in P3 made a first podium appearance of the season for Zakspeed. Their team-mates Jimmy Eriksson (28, SWE) and Daniel Keilwitz came home in fourth place. They had been as high as P2 after the round of pit stops but temporarily dropped back to sixth after receiving a drive-through penalty for a pit stop that was too short. Keilwitz then fought back with a series of thrilling encounters, taking on one and sometimes two other drivers.
Christian Engelhart (32, GER) and Mirko Bortolotti (29, ITA) in a Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo made a strong charge up the field from 17th on the grid to finish fifth, a result that lifted Orange1 by GRT Grasser to the top of the team classification. Sixth place went to Mike David Ortmann (19, GER) and Markus Winkelhock (39, GER, both BWT Mücke Motorsport) in another Audi R8 LMS. David Jahn (28, GER) and Sven Barth (38, GER, both RWT Racing) came seventh, driving the only Corvette C7 GT3-R in the field. They clawed their way back after dropping down to the last-but-one position on the opening lap. Barth, who has already been crowned overall winner in the Pirelli Trophy stakes, claimed his eighth class win of the season. Marvin Dienst (22, GER) and Aidan Read (20, AUS, both Schütz Motorsport) had been on course for a podium finish but were obliged to settle for eighth after their pit stop went wrong during the driver handover. Filip Salaquarda (35, CZ) and Frank Stippler (44, GER, both Team ISR) took ninth place ahead of fellow Audi drivers Nikolaj Rogivue (23, CH) and Stefan Mücke (37, GER, both BWT Mücke Motorsport).
Newly crowned champions Patric Niederhauser (27, CH) and Kelvin van der Linde (23, ZA) finished 19th after a puncture. However, the outfit they drive for still has a chance of winning the team title: HCB-Rutronik Racing are on 200 points, just two behind new leaders Orange1 by GRT Grasser. Montaplast by Land-Motorsport are also still in title contention on 195 points. However, positions in the team competition are provisional pending an appeal.
Comments from the winners:
Indy Dontje (Mann-Filter Team HTP, Mercedes-AMG GT3): « Our start was not at all easy. I got a bit of a nudge, but in the end everything was fine. I was able to pull out something of a gap which I then proceeded to build on. We were also quite lucky with the pit stop, as we emerged onto an open track. That’s especially good here, because the Sachsenring is a narrow and technically challenging circuit. Everything went perfectly, and having the right strategy also helped, of course. »
Maximilian Götz (Mann-Filter Team HTP, Mercedes-AMG GT3): « Indy laid the ground work really well with the pole position, which is always very important here at the Sachsenring. At the pit stop, we played it safe, as we didn’t want to take any risks. I then went out for my stint in the lead and just tried to enjoy the race, as I was unable to see any major threat in my rear-view mirror. I had a lot of fun during the race and even managed to extend the lead. Ultimately, it was a controlled race, and I think we managed to avoid any mistakes. That’s the sort of thing we aim to do. Together with the rest of the team, we now intend to savour this win. »
Press release ADAC GT Masters]]>