The Lamborghini was in a class of its own in the ADAC GT Masters at the Nürburgring this weekend. After Christian Engelhart (32, GER) and Mirko Bortolotti (29, ITA) had dominated Saturday’s race, their team-mates Rolf Ineichen (41, CH) and Franck Perera (35, FRA) repeated the feat on Sunday. The runner-up spot in Race 2 went to Porsche duo Timo Bernhard (38, GER) and Klaus Bachler (28, AUT, both Küs Team75 Bernhard) for the second time this season. They finished narrowly ahead of 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. “Wow, what a great weekend for our team,” said a delighted first-time winner Perera. “Yesterday, it was our team-mates who claimed pole position and victory, and today we’ve managed to do the same. Simply mega!”
Perera and Ineichen stay ahead
Qualifying took place in wet conditions this morning, but the Nürburgring had dried out again for the start of the second ADAC GT Masters race. Pole-sitter Franck Perera got away well in the Lamborghini and maintained his position in the lead. After a brief safety car period to recover the Lamborghini of Saturday’s winner, Christian Engelhart, and the Audi of Maximilian Paul (19, Dresden, T3 Motorsport), which had been involved in a collision on the opening lap, Perera slowly drew away from his pursuers. He had opened up a gap of more than five seconds before pitting to change drivers. Partner Ineichen then rejoined the track with a comfortable lead and managed the race from the front to the finish line. He ultimately took the chequered flag in P1 with a lead of 5.3 seconds to secure the first success of the season for himself and Perera, who had driven during the first stint. This was at the same time the Frenchman’s maiden victory in the ADAC GT Masters and Ineichen’s fourth. Ineichen also took top honours in the Pirelli Trophy classification for amateur drivers.
The race winner was never in any doubt, but just 0.4 seconds decided the battle for second place. Until the round of mandatory pit stops, Kelvin van der Linde in the Audi had been the main driver in pursuit with Klaus Bachler behind him in a Porsche, waiting to seize his chance. Bachler came in to change drivers one lap later than van der Linde towards the middle of the race, which paid off. His partner, Timo Bernhard, took second place, while Patric Niederhauser, who had taken over from van der Linde, rejoined the track in P3. Niederhauser was all over the Porsche works driver to the finish line but could not find a way past. Bachler and Bernhard came in second for the second time this season. Van der Linde and Niederhauser were third as they had been on the previous day. Thanks to their eighth finish of the season in the Top Four, the championship leaders extended their lead to 40 points with four races remaining.
Guest entrants Luca Stolz (24, GER) and Maro Engel (33, Monte Carlo) had another strong showing in the Mercedes AMG prepared by Toksport WRT, coming home fourth this time after finishing runners-up on Saturday. Luca Ludwig (30, GER) and Sebastian Asch (33, GER, both HB Racing) crossed the finish line in P4 and clinched their best result of the season so far in the Ferrari 488 GT3. Indy Dontje (26, NL) and Maximilian Götz (33, GER, both Mann-Filter Team HTP) booked P6 in the Mercedes-AMG with a deficit of just 0.6 seconds.
It was also very close as to who took the other four positions. The battles between those lower down the field for the remaining places in the Top Ten proved very enjoyable, especially in the closing stages. In the end, Michele Beretta (24, ITA) and Marco Mapelli (32, ITA, both Orange1 by GRT Grasser) took seventh place in another Lamborghini. Beretta won the Pirelli Junior Trophy for junior drivers under 25 for the second time this year. Markus Pommer (28, GER) and Marvin Kirchhöfer (25, CH, both Callaway Competition) went on a strong charge again. Currently second in the standings, they moved up from grid slot 19 to eighth place and as a result, secured vital points in the title fight. Two more Audi R8 LMS cars completed the Top Ten. Max Hofer (20, AUT) and Christopher Mies (30, GER, both Montaplast by Land-Motorsport) finished ninth. P10 went to Jeffrey Schmidt (25, CH) and Christopher Haase (31, GER, both BWT Mücke Motorsport).
Comments from the winners:
Franck Perera (Orange1 by GRT Grasser, Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo):
“With this win, we’ve shown that we are competitive in different conditions. First the pole position in the wet, then the victory in the dry. It was by no means easy. At the start, I obviously wanted to stay ahead without taking too many risks, and that’s what I managed to do. After that, I tried to pull out a gap while also going easy on the tyres for Rolf’s stint. He then did a great job and made sure of the victory.”
Rolf Ineichen (Orange1 by GRT Grasser, Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo):
“To an outsider, I think that it probably looked as if it was very controlled and easy, but that certainly wasn’t the case for me. It was very tricky. I pulled out of the box and hit the wet verge on the outside of Turn 1, which caused quite a big skid. All I tried to do after that was complete the race safely. Franck did a mega job. He put the car on pole this morning with a great lap. That laid the groundwork for our victory. I’m very happy with the result. It’s a huge success for Orange1 by GRT Grasser. “
Press release ADAC GT Masters