Swiss driver Patric Niederhauser had an outstanding season in the 2019 ADAC GT Masters, making history in many ways along with HCB-Rutronik Racing team-mate, Kelvin van der Linde, as they took the title. They became the first drivers to clinch the title before the final weekend since records first began in the series in 2007. What is more, no one before them has ever won the championship by such a big margin. Having amassed 205 points, Niederhauser and van der Linde finished 59 points up on their closest rivals.
Three wins and a total of seven podiums meant plenty of champagne showers for the driver pairing of Niederhauser and van der Linde and a lot of trophies to take home. With their consistent performance, they made a decisive contribution to HCB-Rutronik Racing’s win in the team classification. The German outfit from Baden-Württemberg were contesting their first season in the Super Sports Car League and yet, managed to win through against many better established teams.
‘We are the champions’:
How Niederhauser stormed to victory in the ADAC GT Masters
Motorsport Arena Oschersleben
Niederhauser did not have to wait long for his first success of the season. Having qualified third on the grid, he was in a good position for the opening round. He then did even better in the race, gaining a position to finish runner-up as he took his maiden podium in the ADAC GT Masters. In the second race, he just missed another podium in fourth place. With a mere two-point deficit on the leaders, Niederhauser and team mate van der Linde headed home from Oschersleben second in the championship standings.
Niederhauser achieved three more milestones in only his third season in the ADAC GT Masters with his first pole position, first victory and championship lead in the second round. By securing victory on Saturday and finishing fourth on Sunday, Niederhauser and van der Linde not only took the lead but also pulled out a gap of 17 points on their closest rivals. While it was not apparent at the time, they would go on to retain the lead until the end of the season.
Red Bull Ring
They defended their top position in the drivers’ standings with their third podium finish of the season, but their lead was reduced to ten points. Still, that did nothing to detract from their showing in the run up to the summer break, as Niederhauser and van der Linde finished in the Top Four in each of the first six races and secured one win. In qualifying, Niederhauser took one pole position, a P2 and a third place.
Niederhauser showed his pace in qualifying once again soon after the summer break, missing his second pole position in the ADAC GT Masters by just 0.072 seconds. However, in the race on Saturday, the Swiss driver and South African team-mate finished 17th and had to accept that they were out of the points for the first time this season. In the second round, though, they returned to form and extended their championship lead to 18 points with a P9 finish.
Niederhauser missed pole position by the blink of an eye once again in the fifth round of the season, qualifying third on the grid with a deficit of 0.094 seconds. Van der Linde suffered a similar fate, missing pole position in his qualifying by only 0.007 seconds. In the races, they achieved two podiums, bringing their total number of podium finishes to five and increasing their points cushion to 43 in the drivers’ standings.
Niederhauser and van der Linde experienced a roller coaster of emotions at the penultimate race weekend of the season. Niederhauser again showed a strong performance in qualifying with fourth place. However, in Saturday’s race, they lost out on another podium due to a penalty, but van der Linde struck back with pole position in Sunday’s qualifying and laid the foundations for their second victory of the season.
And still there’s more! They wrapped up the championship title before the season had even ended, achieving a feat that no driver before them has ever managed to do since 2007 when the ADAC GT Masters was first launched. Up until this year, the title has always been decided during the final weekend, but Niederhauser and van der Linde found themselves in an unassailable position with a lead of 55 points after the penultimate race weekend of the season.
While Niederhauser only finished Saturday’s qualifying in 14th place, he was the second-best driver in the race against the clock all season with a qualifying average of 4.14. His 14th place in the quali at the Sachsenring was the only time he qualified outside of the Top Four. In the race, team-mate van der Linde was heading for a top-five finish when tyre damage bumped him back down into 19th position. However, he struck back with pole position as he had already done previously at Hockenheim. In the final race of 2019, Niederhauser and van der Linde took their third win of the season and their good haul of points enabled HCB-Rutronik Racing to secure the title in the team competition in their very first year.
Press release Patric Niederhauser