ADAC GT Masters drivers also do well in endurance races. Following the win in the ADAC Zurich 24-hour race at the Nürburgring by Connor De Phillippi (24, USA), Christopher Mies (28, DEU), Kelvin van der Linde (21, ZA) and Markus Winkelhock (37, DEU), ex-F1 driver Winkelhock, championship leader Jules Gounon (22, F) and Christopher Haase (29, DEU have now emerged triumphant in the 24-Hours of Spa. The successful drivers will be back, tackling an ADAC GT Masters sprint race at the Nürburgring this weekend (4th – 6th August). This will be the fifth race of the current season.
ADAC GT Masters title defenders De Phillippi and Mies are currently the best-placed ‘endurance specialists’ in the Super Sports Car League in fourth place. They have fond memories of the Nürburgring, not only because of their win in the 24-hour race, but because it’s where they achieved their only success of the 2016 season on their way to winning the title. De Phillippi and Mies stood on the top rung of the ADAC GT Masters podium for the first time this year at Zandvoort recently, thus reducing the deficit on the championship leaders. They both feel confident about the weekend as a result. Mies: “We definitely still have a chance of defending the title. The Corvette drivers had a big lead last year as well, but we managed to catch them eventually. We’ll do everything we can and still have a chance at any rate.” His team-mate, De Phillippi, is also optimistic: “The Nürburgring sprint track is very technical. You need an agile car that’s also good on the brakes, which certainly applies to the Audi.” Christopher Haase, team-mate to De Phillippi & Mies at Montaplast by Land-Motorsport and second in Sunday’s race in the ADAC GT Masters recently at Zandvoort, was one of the winning trio in Spa at the weekend, just like ADAC GT Masters championship leader Jules Gounon, who does not drive an Audi R8 in the Super Sports Car League but the Corvette C7 GT3-R prepared by Callaway Competition. It was the Frenchman’s first outing in a works-supported GT3 sports car with the four rings.
Kelvin van der Linde also had good reason to be cheerful at Zandvoort. The South African and Markus Pommer (26, DEU), his team-mate at Aust Motorsport, also took their first podium of the season on Saturday. Van der Linde: “I know the Nürburgring really well. The championship is still relatively wide open. We’re only 15 points behind the best-placed Audi.” The 2014 ADAC GT Masters champion is looking forward to the upcoming races: “We were already quite strong before Zandvoort but didn’t always have the necessary luck. In any case, there are circuits still to come that should be excellent for our Audi R8 LMS.”
Markus Winkelhock not only lived up to his reputation as an endurance specialist at the Nürburgringring but also secured another overall victory in a 24-hour race at Spa-Francorchamps – the fifth of his career – at the weekend. “It feels really great to win at both the Nürburgring and Spa in the same year. It’s something special. I first did it as recently as 2014,” said Winkelhock, who is looking forward to returning to the Eifel.” Of course, it feels good to have won there at the end of May. I like the Nürburgring in general. It suits me, and I like the layout.” Winkelhock, who took part in his only Formula 1 grand prix race ten years ago in the Eifel and even led for a while, races an Audi R8 fielded by BWT Mücke Motorsport this year. The Berlin-based team are contesting their first season in the Super Sports Car League. The best result of the season so far for Winkelhock and partner, Filip Salaquarda (33, CZ), has been a P7. They should now do even better: “Our pace compared to the other Audi teams has been good so far. The Mücke team do an excellent job. Unfortunately, we’ve not performed as well as we should after experiencing lots of bad luck. I hope the tide will turn at the Nürburgring. It would be great if we could finally get the just reward for our efforts.”
Source. ADAC GT Masters/Photo. ADAC Motorsport