Pole-sitters Mirko Bortolotti (29, ITA) and Christian Engelhart (32, GER, both Orange1 by GRT Grasser) cruised to a second win of the season in Saturday’s ADAC GT Masters race at the Nürburgring. Luca Stolz (24, GER) and Maro Engel (33, MON, both Toksport WRT) finished second in a Mercedes-AMG GT3. Joining the podium party in P3 were current championship leaders Patric Niederhauser (27, CH) and Kelvin van der Linde (23, ZA, both HCB-Rutronik Racing) in the best of the Audi R8 LMS contingent. “In recent years, the Nürburgring has been a problematic track for us,” said Engelhart. “But now, with the new car, it seems to suit us a lot better. After the win at Zandvoort, it’s great to get another here.”
Winning duo open up comfortable gap
Mirko Bortolotti and Christian Engelhart took a comfortable win, and it was only at the start that pole-sitter, Bortolotti, found himself briefly under pressure. The Lamborghini works driver then proceeded to pull away from the rest of the field. He had opened up a gap of just over three seconds by the time he came into the pits towards the middle of the race for the mandatory change of drivers. Partner Engelhart then extended their cushion to more than five seconds at times. It was not until the final few laps that the German half of the partnership was then able to ease off a little, eventually taking the chequered flag by a margin of 2.7 seconds. Bortolotti and Engelhart finished on the top rung of the podium for the second time in a week after their success in Saturday’s race at Zandvoort.
Luca Stolz and Maro Engel in P2 also finished on the podium in the best-placed Mercedes-AMG. Championship leaders Patric Niederhauser and Kelvin van der Linde completed the party on the podium. Stolz and Engel had been fourth behind the Audi pairing initially, but on Lap 7, Stolz found a way past Niederhauser to take third place which he then maintained until the pit stop. After the driver handover, Engel and van der Linde battled their way past Carrie Schreiner (20, GER, HCB-Rutronik Racing) in second place. Her partner, Dennis Marschall (23, GER) had started from the front row. While Schreiner’s Audi dropped back down the field to finish 14th, Engel and van der Linde secured their place on the podium. Stolz and Engel are not eligible to score points as guest entrants but secured Toksport WRT’s maiden podium in the ADAC GT Masters. Niederhauser and van der Linde in P3 extended their lead in the standings with their fourth podium of the season.
Fourth place went to David Jahn (28, GER) and Sven Barth (38, GER, both RWT Racing) in the best-placed Corvette C7 GT3-R. Barth secured his fourth win of the season in the Pirelli Trophy classification. Max Hofer (20, AUT) and Christopher Mies (30, GER, both Montaplast by Land-Motorsport) came home behind them in another Audi to finish fifth overall. Hofer was the best driver in the Pirelli Junior classification. Indy Dontje (26, NL) and Maximilian Götz (33, GER, both Mann-Filter Team HTP) fought their way up the field in the Mercedes-AMG GT3 from 13th place on the grid to finish sixth.
Luca Ludwig (30, GER) and Sebastian Asch (33, GER, both HB Racing) in the Ferrari 488 GT3 took points for P7 from the Audi pairing of Ricardo Feller (19, CH) and Dries Vanthoor (21, BEL, both Montaplast by Land-Motorsport). In a scrap for ninth place that continued over several laps, defending champion, Robert Renauer (34, GER) and Thomas Preining (21, AUT, both Precote Herberth Motorsport) in the Porsche won through against Nicolai Sylvest (22, DK) and Jens Klingmann (29, CH, both MRS GT Racing) in the BMW M6 GT3.
Comments from the winners:
Mirko Bortolotti (Orange1 by GRT Grasser, Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo):
“It was a tight situation on the first corner, as we all had full fuel tanks and cold tyres and no-one really knew where to brake. But I have to compliment the whole field on the way they went around it. I then tried to pull away and managed to open up a gap. We made the pit stop at the right time, which enabled us to increase our lead. So, all in all, a great performance and a perfect race for us.”
Christian Engelhart (Orange1 by GRT Grasser, Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo):
“When I took over the car, I knew that I had Maro Engel behind me. In those circumstances, you can’t relax – you just have to keep pushing. And that’s what I did until three laps before the finish when the team told me that I had a lead of 5.2 seconds. So I eased off slightly and avoided the kerbs in the chicane to go easy on the tyres.”
Press release ADAC GT Masters