Summer, sun, holidays and super sports cars on the Dutch North Sea coast. The ADAC GT Masters is heading to Zandvoort this weekend (21st – 23rd July) slap-bang in the middle of the holiday season for the fourth race meeting of seven which will mark the mid-way point on the GT Masters race calendar. There have been six different winners in the first six races held so far. Will there be a ‘repeat offender’ for the first time at this popular, well-established circuit or will more different drivers stand on the top rung of the podium?
The dunes circuit at Zandvoort, one of the most popular race tracks for Super Sports Car League drivers and teams, is next up on the calendar. Fast and challenging with changes in elevation and some turns that are blind, the 4.307-kilometre track which was first inaugurated back in 1948 has retained its original character despite modifications and is still much loved by drivers. Jules Gounon (22, F, Callaway Competition) leads the standings in the run-up to this season’s second race meeting outside of Germany’s borders. The Frenchman will have a new team-mate this weekend. His regular partner, Daniel Keilwitz (27, DEU) is injured and will be replaced by local driver Renger van der Zande (31, NL) in the Corvette C7 bearing start number #77. Having secured 80 championship points in total, Gounon & Keilwitz took over the overall lead in the rankings at the Red Bull Ring thanks to a win and a third place. “The goal is to collect as many points as possible,” says Gounon. “We’ll have to wait and see. Actually, the circuit doesn’t really suit us, but we’re pinning our hopes on the new asphalt surface which we hope will be to our liking.”
Their main rivals are the BMW pairing of Ricky Collard (20, GB) and Philipp Eng (27, A, both BMW Team Schnitzer), who have also achieved a win and are 19 points adrift. However, the British driver will not be competing at Zandvoort and Nicky Catsburg (29, NL) will replace him in the only BMW M6 in the field. Eng: “We didn’t expect to be so well placed in the drivers’ and team rankings for the weekend at Zandvoort. We intend to consolidate our current positions, for sure. I’m looking forward to partnering Nicky Catsburg as a local driver at Zandvoort. I think he fits into the team very well both as a driver and on a personal level. We have already met and get on very well. What’s more, he knows the circuit extremely well, and so, should be able to help us.” The Austrian also really likes the circuit: “Zandvoort is one of the best meetings of the whole year. The circuit is amazing fun with its layout – I think that the fast sections from Turn 5 onwards are really great. It’s almost like a miniature Nordschleife. The sand which is continually blown onto the track also makes it particularly challenging.”
Ranked third, fourth, fifth and sixth, Robert Renauer (32, DEU) & Sven Müller (25, DEU, both Precote Herberth Motorsport) in the Porsche 911, Mercedes drivers Luca Stolz (21, DEU) & Luca Ludwig (27, DEU, both Mercedes-AMG Team ZAKSPEED) and the two Lamborghini crews from GRT Grasser Racing Ezequiel Perez Companc (22, RA) & Mirko Bortolotti (27, I) and Rolf Ineichen (39, CH) & Christian Engelhart (30, DEU) are closely bunched together separated by just four points. While the two Porsche and Lamborghini pairings have each achieved a win, Stolz & Ludwig have yet to stand on the top rung of the podium. Mathieu Jaminet (22, F) and Michael Ammermüller (31, DEU, both KÜS Team75 Bernhard) were the sixth pair to win so far this season. The driver pairing fielded by the team of two-time Le Mans winner, Timo Bernhard, is currently ranked eighth.
Source. ADAC GT Masters/Photo. ADAC Motorsport