Audi driver Patric Niederhauser (25, CH, Aust Motorsport) set the fastest time in the first free practice session of the ADAC GT Masters race weekend at Zandvoort. The Swiss finished FP1 ahead of the two Lamborghini Huracáns entered by GRT Grasser Racing.
Niederhauser set a best time of 1.36.18 minutes. His lap was 1.5 seconds faster than the current ADAC GT Masters qualifying record, due at least in part to the resurfacing that the track has recently undergone. “It would be hard to imagine a better start to the weekend,” said Niederhauser. “The car felt very good. This is my first race weekend here in Zandvoort. I like the track very much. It suits me and also the Audi R8 LMS. The new tarmac offers a lot of grip.”
The two Lamborghini Huracáns entered by GRT Grasser Racing came second and third. Ezequiel Perez Companc (23, RA) and Mirko Bortolotti (27, ITA) were only 0.008 seconds off the top time. Their team-mates Rolf Ineichen (39, CH) and Christian Engelhart (30, DEU) meanwhile posted a lap time of 1.36.552 minutes. Rounding off the Top Five were Filip Salaquarda (33, CZ) and Markus Winkelhock (37, DEU, both BWT Mücke Motorsport) in another Audi R8 LMS ahead of Sebastian Asch (31, DEU) and Stefan Mücke (35, DEU) in a Mercedes-AMG also entered by Peter Mücke’s outfit.
Championship leader Jules Gounon (22, FRA) and new team-mate Renger van der Zande (31, NL, both Callaway Competition) stepping in for the injured Daniel Keilwitz (27, DEU) at Zandvoort finished the session in seventh place.
Weekend starts at a beach club
The race weekend at Zandvoort got underway with the media kick-off at Bernies Beach Club on Thursday afternoon. In attendance at the press event were the three Dutch ADAC GT Masters drivers Nicky Catsburg (29, NL, BMW Team Schnitzer), Indy Dontje (24, NL, Mercedes-AMG Team HTP Motorsport) and Renger van der Zande (31, NL, Callaway Competition), as well as contestants from the ADAC TCR Germany series and Prince Bernhard van Oranje who owns the Zandvoort circuit.
New ADAC GT Masters record?
With the first six races of the 2017 ADAC GT Masters having produced six different winners, the competition looks to be extremely tight this year, and the Super Sports Car League could well set a new record this weekend. In 2008, the first seven races had seven different winners. If the present run continues to Race 2 on Sunday, then a new record will have been set. The chances of this happening are quite strong, especially as Audi and Mercedes-AMG are yet to claim their first victory of the campaign, and they are two brands with respectable track records in the Dutch dunes.
Lamborghini driver Emil Lindholm (21, FIN, ADAC NSA/Attempto Racing Team) made his debut in the Junior Rally World Championship (JWRC) in early July. This outing in Poland served as preparation for entry in the World Rally Championship which is due to take place next weekend in his home country of Finland. Lindholm, who gained his first off-road experience in 2014 and 2015 in the ADAC Opel Rallye Cup, is related to the former rally world champion Marcus Grönholm.
24-hour winner at Goodwood
Reigning ADAC GT Masters Champion Connor De Phillippi (24, USA) together with co-drivers Christopher Mies (28, DEU), Kelvin van der Linde (20, ZA) and Markus Winkelhock (37, DEU) won the ADAC Zurich 24-hour race at the Nürburgring in late May. He has now been accorded the special honour of driving his race-winning Audi R8 LMS prepared by Audi Sport Team Land at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. This tradition-steeped event in the south of England is one of the world’s most popular motorsport festivals for classic and modern racing cars.
Source. ADAC GT Masters/Photo. ADAC Motorsport