The tension is rising. The ADAC GT Masters will stage the grand finale of the season at Hockenheim this weekend (22nd – 24th September). A further six drivers still have a chance of winning the title during this seventh fixture of the season. Corvette driver Jules Gounon (22, F, Callaway Competition) heads the standings while BMW driver Philipp Eng (27, A, BMW Team Schnitzer) has 15 points fewer as he travels to Baden. Sebastian Asch (31/Ammerbuch, BWT Mücke Motorsport), Kelvin van der Linde (21/ZA, Aust Motorsport) and last year’s champions, Connor De Phillippi (24, USA) & Christopher Mies (28, DEU, both Montaplast by Land-Motorsport) still have an outside chance in the Mercedes-AMG and Audi.
Key facts, Hockenheimring, Hockenheim, Rounds 13 and 14 of 14
Track length: 4.574 km
Layout: 25 turns (15 right-handers, 10 left-handers), racing in a clockwise direction
Winners 2016, Race 1: David Jahn & Kévin Estre (KÜS Team75 Bernhard, Porsche 911 GT3 R)
Winners 2016, Race 2: Robert Renauer & Martin Ragginger (Precote Herberth Motorsport, Porsche 911 GT3 R)
The ADAC GT Masters title will not be decided until the final weekend yet again in this eleventh season. All the signs indicate that we are in for an exciting time. With 131 points in total, championship leader Jules Gounon is 15 points up on his rival Philipp Eng. Gounon, who is again sharing the Corvette C7 with Daniel Keilwitz (28, DEU) remains optimistic about taking his first title win in the ADAC GT Masters despite having had his weakest weekend of the season with only four points and a retirement to show for his efforts at the Sachsenring. “I didn’t have a good weekend just now but still head the overall standings,” said the son of ex-Formula 1 driver Jean-Marc Gounon. “That’s the main thing. I was two points down ahead of the finale last year. This time, I have a points cushion.” Gounon also leads the junior classification for drivers under 25 where the Frenchman has a 36-point lead Audi driver Jeffrey Schmidt (23, CH, Montaplast by Land-Motorsport) and is 38 points up on Mercedes-AMG driver Luca Stolz (22, DEU, Mercedes-AMG Team ZAKSPEED).
Philipp Eng in second place also still has hopes of lifting the title. The BMW driver took 23 points out of Gounon during the penultimate race weekend at the Sachsenring. The Austrian shares the BMW M6 GT3 with Nick Catsburg (29, NL) and aims to take the impetus of his recent success with him to Hockenheim. “My chances are fully intact with 50 points still to be awarded,” said Eng. “We showed at the Sachsenring that you can make up a lot of points. All the guys at BMW Team Schnitzer have worked really well and not put a foot wrong. Everything has gone well, and we aim to repeat our performance in Hockenheim.”
Mercedes-AMG driver Sebastian Asch (third in the championship standings) and fellow Audi driver Kelvin van der Linde also still have an outside chance of taking the title. The former is 27 points adrift and the latter 30 points behind the front-runner. Last year’s champions Connor De Phillippi and Christopher Mies have a deficit of 33 points on Gounon. However, the two Audi drivers do not want to give up the fight in their title defence just yet. Mies: “Even if the track doesn’t one hundred percent suit our Audi, we still have a chance of lifting the championship, so we intend to attack at Hockenheim.”
The title-decider in the team standings is also going to the wire at Hockenheim. In the run-up to the two final races, Callaway Competition on 142 points lead from title defenders Montaplast by Land-Motorsport and BWT Mücke Motorsport (134 points each), followed by BMW Team Schnitzer with 121 points.
Porsche drivers may no longer be in the fight for the title but still have a good chance of winning races. GT3 sports cars from Weissach triumphed in both races in 2016. “We definitely want to end the season on a high note,” said Porsche driver Robert Renauer (32, DEU, Precote Herberth Motorsport), who won the race on Sunday at the Motodrom in Baden along with Martin Ragginger. “I have a speedy partner in Sven Müller this year, but unfortunately, we’ve had very little luck since our win at the Lausitzring in May, so we now intend to show again just what we can do. I think we have a good chance of being able to compete up front again.”
Renauer knows exactly what is important at the 4.574-km track: “Hockenheim is a very demanding circuit. There are long passages taken at full-throttle and several places where you have to slow down from a high speed. Engines and brakes get highly stressed as a result. The circuit affords good overtaking opportunities, at the hairpin especially, but in Turn 2 and in front of the Mercedes grandstand as well. The races at Hockenheim have always been exciting, and I expect that it will be the same again this time.”
Source. ADAC GT Masters/Photo. ADAC Motorsport