There should be a flash banner here. There are 2 main reasons why you may not be able to see it:
  • You do not have the required version of Flash MX installed (v8.0+) in your browser
  • JavaScript is disabled in your browser

ADAC GT Masters, Assen - Race Reports

The penultimate round of the ADAC GT Masters season took place at Assen. Weather played an important role this weekend.

Qualifying

In Qualifying on Friday ABT Sportsline showed why it is still in the race for the Drivers and Teams Championship. On the high speed circuit Christer Jöns took his first ever ADAC GT Masters pole position in the first session, much to the delight of his teammate for the weekend Christopher Mies, who is third in the Drivers Championship. Championship leader Dino Lunardi was second quickest in the LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler BMW ALPINA B6 GT3. Jöns fastest time was a 1:38.571.

In the second qualifying ABT took another pole position as Christopher Mies set the fastest time - just beating the time set by his teammate in the first session. Alexandros Margaritis also put the LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler BMW ALPINA on the front row again for race 2.

Race 1

Dino Lunardi had the best start and overtook Christer Jöns before the cars had reached turn 1. Jöns was pushed down to fourth by Diego Alessi and Ferdinand Stuck, but the two hit each other and ran wide, resulting in Jöns getting back in second position. Stuck was back on track quickly, but was held up behind Lance David Arnold.

On lap 7 it suddenly started raining and the track conditions changed rapidly. Albert von Thurn und Taxis was caught out and an wide at the Ramshoek. Ricardo van der Ende in the Faster Racing by DB Motorsport BMW Z4 GT3 used his track knowledge in the rain and moved up from twelfth to fourth before the pit stops. Lap times dropped from 1:39 to 1:57 in only a handful of laps.

As soon as the pit window opened on lap 14 Ludwig came in for his stop. Lunardi stayed out until the very last lap of the pit window together with Van der Ende. When all teams had made their pit stops the LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler BMW ALPINA #41 was still in the lead, Alexandros Margaritis now 3.3 seconds ahead of Christopher Mies in the #3 ABT Sportsline Audi R8 LMS.

In the following laps Mies and Jens Klingmann were quicker than Margaritis, but on lap 25 Margaritis was back on the same lap times as his rivals, the gap between first and second still 2.5 seconds.

Duncan Huisman tried to keep his fourth position but was taken out of the race by Andreas Zuber at the Haarbocht (turn 1). Zuber tapped the right rear of the BMW and both cars went off, the Mercedes clipping the BMW once more. Zuber retired on the spot - Huisman completed the lap but returned to the pit where the car was retired.

With the first Reiter Lamborghini down in fifth place Margaritis seemed to realize that this was the perfect opportunity not only to increase the Drivers Championship lead, but also to close the gap to the Reiter team in the Teams Championship. In the last six laps Margaritis managed to increase his lead from 3.2 seconds to 8.4 seconds, before slowing down on the last lap to cross the line the moment the timer hit zero.

Race 2

Rain was predicted for the end of the second race, but on the formation lap the rain set in at the back of the track. The leading cars had no problems with the weather conditions, but behind them things went wrong. In the wet conditions several cars went off the track or into each other. When Christian Bebion the #59 Dodge Viper went off into the wall the race director thought it was enough and the safety car was deployed.

With the safety car out on the track the heavens opened and most drivers returned to the pit to change to wets. Those that didn’t come in regretted that decision as soon as the safety car came in. Into turn 1 Klingmann, Geipel and Haase spun off into the gravel trap on their slicks. Harald Proczyk - who had started from row 15 and was the first to pit - took the lead, followed closely by Christopher Mies.

Niclas Kentenich in the Farnbacher Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 went really well in the wet conditions and by lap 12 the #35 Ferrari was already in fourth place, lapping quicker than the two leaders and rapidly catching Christiaan Frankenhout. Kentenich started the race in thirteenth position.

Proczyk increased his lead over Christopher Mies onto lap 15 as the #3 Audi R8 LMS went straight at the final chicane. As the #32 Mercedes-Benz came in for its pit stop the gap to the second placed Audi was 5.9 seconds, Frankenhout was third at 7.4 seconds. The only car to change tyres was the Ferrari - the Farnbacher ESET Racing team changing the rear wheels to a new set of wets.

Positions were unchanged when the cars crossed the line again - although the Mercedes #32 was now 8.0 seconds clear of the #3 Audi. Wirth returned in third place, but a charging Dominik Farnbacher quickly caught him and passed the Mercedes. On lap 18 the German set the fastest lap of the race, 2.5 seconds quicker than race leader Baumann in the HEICO Mercedes. Within a matter of laps Farnbacher was right behind Baumann and looking for a place to pass the Mercedes and with just over 10 minutes remaining took the lead.

In the final minutes Farnbacher held on to his lead and after 30 laps the Ferrari 458 GT3 crossed the line to win race 2. The #35 Ferrari finished 3.5 seconds ahead of the #32 Mercedes and another 2.1 seconds ahead of the #34 Mercedes of Lance David Arnold. The LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler BMW ALPINA B6 GT3 of Lunardi/Margaritis finished in 7th position, one place behind the ABT Sportsline Audi R8 LMS of Jöns/Mies, which was given a drive through for not respecting the speed minimum at the pit exit.

The championships will be decided at the ADAC GT Masters season finale at Hockenheimring in two weeks.

Marcel ten Caat