It was a special Sunday for the home fans at the Red Bull Ring as the Lamborghini pairing of Rolf Ineichen (39, CH) and Christian Engelhart (30, DEU, both GRT Grasser-Racing-Team) secured a first win of the 2017 ADAC GT Masters – much to the delight of their team who are based in the vicinity of the Austrian Formula 1 circuit. This was also a race for the record books, as it had the fastest average speed in the history of the ADAC GT Masters. Finishing as runners-up were current DTM championship leader Lucas Auer (22, AUT) and Sebastian Asch (31, DEU, both BWT Mücke Motorsport) in a Mercedes AMG. The Corvette C7 duo of Jules Gounon (22, FRA) and Daniel Keilwitz (27, DEU, both Callaway Competition), whose win on Saturday had taken them to the top of the table, claimed the remaining podium spot. “We are very happy and very grateful”, said race winner Ineichen. “The car was really perfect today; it could not have been better. The team did a superb job.” Ineichen and Engelhart became the sixth different winning pair in the first six races of the 2017 season.
Key facts, Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Round 6 of 14
Christian Engelhart (GRT Grasser-Racing-Team,
Lamborghini Huracán GT3), 1:27.500 mins
Rolf Ineichen and Christian Engelhart (GRT Grasser-Racing-Team, Lamborghini Huracán GT3)
Christian Engelhart (GRT Grasser-Racing-Team,
Lamborghini Huracán GT3), 1:28.445 mins
Engelhart sets the pace
Pole-sitter Christian Engelhart dominated the first stint of the race. The Lamborghini driver was posting the fastest laps in the field and had gradually extended his lead to almost seven seconds by the half-way stage when he handed the car over to Rolf Ineichen. The Swiss driver then extended the gap on his rivals, who were busy scrapping with each other, to more than ten seconds at times. After 41 laps, Ineichen took the chequered flag in the lead – despite the fact that his Lamborghini Huracán was misfiring in the closing stages and the gap had shrunk to 3.6 seconds. This was Engelhart’s and Ineichen’s second common ADAC GT Masters win, the first having come at Oschersleben in 2016. Sunday’s race was the fastest ever recorded in the ADAC GT Masters, with an average speed of 170.9kph being clocked.
Exciting battles as cars jockeyed for position provided plenty of thrilling entertainment. Lucas Auer and Sebastian Asch ultimately emerged as race runners-up. For DTM star Auer, this was his first weekend in the Super Sports Car League and his first series podium. It was also a maiden podium for his team, BWT Mücke Motorsport, who are contesting their first season in the ADAC GT Masters. Jules Gounon (22, FRA,) and Daniel Keilwitz (27, DEU, both Callaway Competition) took P3 on the penultimate lap. The Corvette pairing, who had won Saturday’s race, were thus able to extend their championship lead.
Patrick Assenheimer (25, DEU) and Maximilian Götz (31, DEU, both Mercedes-AMG Team HTP Motorsport) were the unlucky pair who suffered at the hands of Gounon as he swept past. They missed out on a first podium of the year by only 0.9 seconds in their Mercedes AMG. Ricky Collard (20, GB) and Philipp Eng (27, AUT, both BMW Team Schnitzer) crossed the line right behind them in the BMW M6 and leapt up the standings into second place as a result. Two further Mercedes pairings – Luca Stolz (21, DEU) partnered by Luca Ludwig (27, DEU, both Mercedes-AMG Team ZAKSPEED) and Indy Dontje (24, NL) partnered by Marvin Kirchhöfer (23, DEU, both Mercedes-AMG Team HTP Motorsport) – came home sixth and seventh respectively.
The second Lamborghini Huracán entered by GRT Grasser-Racing-Team, with Ezequiel Perez Companc (22, RA) and Mirko Bortolotti (27, ITA) sharing the driving, also scored points for a P8 finish. Completing the Top Ten were Mathieu Jaminet (22, FRA) and Michael Ammermüller (31, DEU, both KÜS Team75 Bernhard) in the best-placed Porsche 911, and Mike David Ortmann (17, DEU) partnered by Frank Stippler (42, DEU, both BWT Mücke Motorsport) in the most successful of the Audi R8s.
Comments from the winners
Rolf Ineichen (GRT Grasser-Racing-Team, Lamborghini Huracán GT3): “Our thanks go to the whole team. We were lucky to have reached the finish line at all. In my stint, the car kept misfiring, which is why my lap times fluctuated quite a bit. The last lap was consequently very difficult. That’s why we decided to park the car immediately after taking the chequered flag.”
Gottfried Grasser (Team principal GRT Grasser-Racing-Team): “A great day, a brilliant weekend! Yesterday didn’t work out so well, but today everything went right for us. In qualifying, Christian put in a fabulous lap – it was marvellous. As for the race itself, the start was decisive. Christian was then able to pull out a lead. The second stint was quite tense for us, though, because we were experiencing intermittent loss of power and engine misfires. When the misfiring got worse, we were chewing on our fingernails because we didn’t know whether we would even make it to the finish. But in the end, it was enough, and so we are super happy.”
2017 ADAC GT Masters Calendar
28/04/17 – 30/04/17 Motorsport Arena Oschersleben
19/05/17 – 21/05/17 Lausitzring (with DTM)
09/06/17 – 11/06/17 Red Bull Ring, Austria
21/07/17 – 23/07/17 Circuit Park Zandvoort, Netherlands
04/08/17 – 06/08/17 Nürburgring
15/09/17 – 17/09/17 Sachsenring
22/09/17 – 24/09/17 Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg
Source. ADAC GT Masters/Photo. ADAC Motorsport