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ADAC GT Masters, Zandvoort - Race Reports

Race 1 - Callaway Competition Wins On Saturday

Local driver Simon Knap started race 1 at Zandvoort from pole-position. The DB Motorsport driver had qualified in second place, but the Diego Alessi overtook another car after the red flags were shown in qualifying and was given a grid penalty.

Thirty-nine GT3 cars started the formation lap, but the Schubert BMW of Claudia Hürtgen suffered a puncture and returned to the pit, leaving Knap with thirty-seven cars behind him at the start. Knap maintained his position as the cars went into the Tarzancorner for the first time, but saw the Lambda Performance Ford GT GT3 of Jesse Krohn in his rear-view mirror. The young Finn had a great start and went from ninth to second quickly. On the third lap the Ford passed the BMW, but Knap managed to stay close to Krohn.

Diego Alessi meanwhile set the fastest lap times and quickly closed the gap to the two leaders. As the pit window opened Krohn was the first one to come in to the pit, Knap and Alessi followed his example two laps later.

After a quicker pitstop Alessi's teammate Daniel Keilwitz was leading, ahead of Jeroen den Boer and Heinz-Harald Frentzen. Den Boer lost some time in his attempt to keep up with the leading Corvette after hitting slower traffic. While Den Boer managed to clear traffic without any incidents, Frentzen hit a slower Porsche and was forced to pit. Jeroen Bleekemolen inherited third place.

In the last laps Den Boer managed to reduce Keilwitz's lead, but the Dutchman was unable to pass the German. Despite a couple of last lap attempts Keilwitz won the race for Callaway Competition, finishing four tenths of a second ahead of Den Boer and almost 35 seconds ahead of Bleekemolen.

Race 2 - DB Motorsport Take First Win At Home

In race 2 on Sunday it was once again the DB Motorsport BMW Z4 GT3 that would start from pole position. The BMW Alpina B6 GT3 of Maxime Martin had a great start and briefly took the lead, but into the first corner Den Boer had taken back the lead. Local heroes Christiaan Frankenhout and Jeroen Bleekemolen made contact in the Scheivlak corner, sending Bleekemolen's Porsche into retirement.

Martin managed to pass Den Boer on lap two, but knowing that his tires would last longer Den Boer tried to keep up with the Belgian driver. Behind the two Dominik Schwager made it a BMW top three in his Schubert BMW Z4 GT3.

After seventeen laps Den Boer and Schwager came in for their pit stop. Den Boer's teammate Simon Knap managed to keep Claudia Hürtgen behind him as the two BMW's returned to the track. For the revelation of race 1, Jesse Krohn, the second race was less impressive. Just after he had taken the wheel of the Ford he crashed hard into the barrier at the Gerlachcorner. With a heavily damaged Ford he rejoined, but retired the car in the pit.

Two laps after the two BMW Z4 GT3s it was Maxime Martin who pitted and handed over the BMW Alpina B6 GT3 to teammate Dino Lunardi. Lunardi rejoined two seconds ahead of Den Boer. Knap did everything to close the gap to Lunardi and managed to bring it down from two seconds to just half a second.

On lap 30 disaster struck for the ALPINA team when Lunardi suddenly slowed down with a technical problem. Knap took the lead and knew all he had to do was stay clear of backmarkers and keep the car on the track.

In the remaining laps Hürtgen was unable to catch the Dutchman and after 35 laps Knap crossed the finish line almost four seconds clear of the Schubert BMW. The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 of Asch and Götz finished in third place, 37 seconds behind the race winner.

The next round of the ADAC GT Masters series will take at the Sachsenring on June 9-10.

Marcel ten Caat
Images: ADAC GT Masters