We’ve now had five races in the current campaign, and each has produced a different pair of winners. The Corvette duo of Jules Gounon (22, FRA) and Daniel Keilwitz (27, DEU, both Callaway Competition) notched up their first ADAC GT Masters victory of 2017 on Saturday at the Red Bull Ring. Sven Barth (36, DEU) and Maximilian Hackländer (27, DEU, both RWT Racing) took the runner-up spot to make it a podium one-two for Corvette. Local favourite Philipp Eng (27, AUT) partnered by Ricky Collard (20, GB, both BMW Team Schnitzer) in a BMW M6 GT3 completed the Top Three ahead of fourth-placed Lucas Auer (22, AUT) and Sebastian Asch (31, DEU, both BWT Mücke Motorsport) in the best of the Mercedes-AMG GT3s. “We are mega happy,” said Keilwitz after registering his sixth ADAC GT Masters victory at the Red Bull Ring in five years. “Our objective was to win a race here this weekend, and that’s precisely what we did.”
Key facts, Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Round 5 of 14
Jules Gounon (Callaway Racing, Corvette C7 GT3-R), 1.27,731 mins
Jules Gounon/Daniel Keilwitz (Callaway Racing, Corvette C7 GT3-R)
Jules Gounon (Callaway Racing, Corvette C7 GT3-R), 1.28,735 mins
Gounon stays out ahead at start
Pole-sitter Jules Gounon maintained his lead at the start and kept it until the changeover of drivers in the middle of the race. Team-mate Daniel Keilwitz stayed in P1 to the finish line, despite two safety car periods due to stranded cars and a race stoppage lasting almost 15 minutes following a crash by Porsche driver Alex MacDowall (26, GB, Schütz Motorsport). This was the first win of the season for the Franco-German pairing. Their victory also gives them the lead in the Super Sports Car League standings.
DTM star Lucas Auer and Sven Barth fought for second place behind the winning vehicle during the first stint of the race, but the Mercedes-AMG and the Corvette swapped positions after the pit stops. While Barth’s team-mate Maximilian Hackländer defended second place to the finish and thus secured the first podium of the year for RWT Racing, Mercedes-AMG man Asch, who had taken over from Auer, fell back to fourth place during the closing stages. However, the final place on the podium still went to an Austrian – Philipp Eng. The BMW driver made a strong charge through the field and clawed his way up from eighth to claim the third podium spot. For Eng and team-mate Ricky Collard, this was their first Top Three finish since winning the second race of the season at Oschersleben.
Luca Stolz (21, DEU) and Luca Ludwig (27, DEU, both Mercedes-AMG Team ZAKSPEED) finished fifth in their Mercedes-AMG ahead of fellow Mercedes drivers Patrick Assenheimer (25, DEU) and Maximilian Götz (31, DEU, both Mercedes-AMG Team HTP Motorsport). Mathieu Jaminet (22, FRA) and Michael Ammermüller (31, DEU, both KÜS Team75 Bernhard) were the best-placed Porsche drivers in P7. The Top Ten was rounded off by three Audis. Last year’s champions, Connor De Phillippi (24, USA) and Christopher Mies (28, DEU, both Montaplast by Land Motorsport), beat two other Audi pairings – Markus Pommer (26, DEU) partnered by Kelvin van der Linde (20, ZA, both Aust Motorsport) and Philip Geipel (30, DEU) partnered by Rahel Frey (31, CH, both YACO Racing).
Robert Renauer (32, DEU) and Sven Müller (25, DEU, both Precote Herberth Motorsport), who had led the championship until now, were in second place briefly after the start but had to serve a penalty later on in the race for cutting short the mandatory pit stop. They subsequently missed a points-scoring finish, coming home in P12.
Comments from the winners
Jules Gounon (Callaway Racing, Corvette C7 GT3-R):
“We’ve finally won our first race of the season. The Callaway team put in a magnificent shift. This track suits the Corvette incredibly well. It’s almost as if the car had been built specifically for this circuit. I am very happy. At the start, I had a terrific scrap with Lucas Auer. It was a lot of fun. It felt great to keep him behind me.”
Daniel Keilwitz (Callaway Racing, Corvette C7 GT3-R):
“It was a great race for us. Jules did a super job. He defended first place from pole position, so that all I had to do in the end was more or less manage the lead. Even with the restarts after the two safety car deployments, everything went well. Tomorrow we intend to score a lot of points again. Then things would look really good for us in the championship.”
Source. ADAC GT Masters/Photo. ADAC Motorsport