In pleasant early summer weather, the Corvette C7 GT3-R pairing of Markus Pommer (28, GER) and Marvin Kirchhöfer (25, GER, both Callaway Competition) outclassed the rest of the field to win Sunday’s ADAC GT Masters race and notch up a second victory of the season. Second place went to Rolf Ineichen (40, CH) and Franck Perera (34, FRA, both Orange1 by GRT Grasser) in the best of the Lamborghini Huracáns. In third place were David Jahn (28, GER) and Sven Barth (38, GER, both RWT Racing) in the second of the two Corvettes. “I am very happy,” said winner Kirchhöfer. “I can certainly live with two wins from the first four races.”
Action-packed first stint
The outcome was decided at the start when Kirchhöfer, starting from second on the grid, overtook pole-sitter Franck Perera on the approach to Turn 1. After a short safety car deployment to facilitate recovery of Pierre Kaffer’s Audi which had suffered a puncture in a contact at the start, Kirchhöfer proceeded to open up a gap at the front. However, the 25-year-old’s dash for victory was temporarily interrupted after twelve laps when Thomas Preining’s (20, AUT, Precote Herberth Motorsport) Porsche went into the crash barrier in a tussle for fourth place with Corvette man David Jahn. The race was stopped for just under ten minutes to recover the 911 and repair the barriers. Kirchhöfer remained in front as racing restarted behind the safety car. His partner Pommer took the wheel of the Corvette at the mandatory pit stop and thereafter never looked like losing the lead for the whole of his stint. He had a three-second lead at the finish line to wrap up a second victory of 2019 for himself and Kirchhöfer.
There was very little that Lamborghini drivers Franck Perera and Rolf Ineichen could do to haul in the ultimate winners, but they at least finished runners-up, securing their second podium of the year. Ineichen also won the Pirelli Trophy classification for the second time this season. The battle for third place, however, was not decided until the final laps. The BMW M6 GT3 of Nicolai Sylvest (21, DK) and Jens Klingmann (28, GER, both MRS GT-Racing) looked destined for a podium until just a few laps from the end when Sylvest dropped out of the points with fuel pump problems. That then left the way clear for the Corvette of David Jahn and Sven Barth (38, GER), who had put pressure on the BMW earlier, and now began to hunt down the Lamborghini in second place.
Saturday’s winners, Patric Niederhauser (27, CH) and Kelvin van der Linde (22, ZA, both HCB-Rutronik Racing), finished fourth this time to consolidate their championship lead from the previous day. They were followed home by another Audi R8 LMS driven by Mike David Ortmann (19, GER) and Markus Winkelhock (38, GER, both BWT Mücke Motorsport). The result was enough for Ortmann to win the Pirelli Junior classification for younger drivers.
The two Mercedes-AMG GT3s fielded by Mann-Filter Team HTP were sixth and seventh. Indy Dontje (26, NL) and Maximilian Götz (33, GER), who had dropped down to 12th after a spin in the early stages, narrowly beat team-mates Philip Ellis (26, GB) and Fabian Vettel (20, GER). Series newcomer Vettel took his first points on Saturday and finished in the Top Ten for the first time today. He came second in the Pirelli Junior classification and made his first appearance on the podium.
Luca Ludwig (30, GER) and Sebastian Asch (32, GER, both HB Racing) in the only Ferrari 488 GT3 were rewarded for a determined charge from 22nd place with a P8 finish. Crossing the line behind them were two more Audis: Jeffrey Schmidt (25, CH) and Christopher Haase (31, GER, both BWT Mücke Motorsport) came home ninth, ahead of Ricardo Feller (18, CH) and Dries Vanthoor (21, BEL, both Montaplast by Land-Motorsport).
Dennis Marschall and Carrie Schreiner, the only female in the driver line-up, made good 15 places. The 20-year-old, who is contesting her first season in the Super Sports Car League finished a creditable 15th.
Comments from the winners:
Marvin Kirchhöfer (Callaway Competition, Corvette C7 GT3-R):
“The start was crucial to the race, because the Lamborghini is very fast over the second and final sector of the track. There is not a lot we could have done there. I got off to a good start and made use of the slipstream on the side to overtake Franck Perera. It wasn’t at all easy to keep him behind me after that. I had to push hard, especially with him being so fast in that final sector. We had a good pit stop today after making a mistake yesterday. Markus then maintained our lead through to the finish.”
Markus Pommer (Callaway Competition, Corvette C7 GT3-R):
“After a lot of bad luck yesterday, everything went according to plan today. Qualifying went well for us, and that was the basis for our victory. Marvin took the lead right at the start. Then, with the race interruption, the situation became very tense again, as our advantage was gone. But we had a good strategy, and I went out onto the track leading by a big margin. After that, I was able to comfortably bring the victory home.”
Press release ADAC GT Masters