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CORVETTE DUO KIRCHHOFER AND KEILWITZ WIN AGAIN IN THE ADAC GT MASTERS

Marvin Kirchhöfer (24, GER) and Daniel Keilwitz (28, GER, both Callaway Competition) have made it two wins out of two on the same weekend. The Corvette pairing triumphed in a rain-affected race on Sunday at the Red Bull Ring. More than 12,000 spectators came through the gates to watch the two ADAC GT Masters races. Mirko Bortolotti (28, ITA) and Andrea Caldarelli (28, ITA) in the ORANGE1 by GRT Grasser Lamborghini managed to progress all the way up the field from 24th on the grid to finish as runners-up, mainly due to well-judged tyre tactics. Third place went to the Mercedes-Benz partnership of Markus Pommer (27, GER) and Maximilian Götz (32, GER, both Mann-Filter Team HTP). “Two pole positions, two wins, and we’ve also taken over at the top of the championship,” said a delighted Keilwitz. “Things could not have gone better for us this weekend. It has definitely been a major step forward in our title challenge.”

Key facts, Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Round 6 of 14

Circuit length: 4,318 metres

Weather: 23°C, rain

Pole Position: Daniel Keilwitz (Callaway Competition, Corvette C7 GT3-R), 1:28.268 mins

Winner: Marvin Kirchhöfer and Daniel Keilwitz (Callaway Competition, Corvette C7 GT3-R)

Fastest lap: Dries Vanthoor (EFP by TECE, Audi R8 LMS), 1:30.684 mins

Spectators: more than 12,000 over the entire weekend

Changeable weather forces teams to gamble on tyre choice

After claiming victory in their Corvette C7 GT3-R the day before, Kirchhöfer and Keilwitz once again set the standard for others to aspire to in Sunday’s ADAC GT Masters race. Pole-sitter Keilwitz asserted his lead at the start and remained at the head of the field. As early as the second lap, the first raindrops began to fall. As the intensity of the shower increased, numerous cars in the lead group made a dash for the pits to make the change to Pirelli rain tyres, but Keilwitz stayed out on slicks. This turned out to be the right decision, as there was little difference in the lap times between the cars on slicks and those on wet weather tyres. In fact, Callaway Competition waited until the mandatory pit stop before eventually switching to wets, which meant that they avoided having to make an additional stop. Keilwitz’s co-driver Kirchhöfer then took the Corvette through to the finish, crossing the line 4.2 seconds ahead of the second-placed car. It was the first time since the 2014 season finale at Hockenheim that a driver pairing in the ADAC GT Masters managed to win both races on a single weekend. Kirchhöfer and Keilwitz further extended the championship lead that they had taken on Saturday.

Runners-up Mirko Bortolotti and Andrea Caldarelli, who drive for the outfit which is owned and managed by Gottfried Grasser team and based in the vicinity of the Red Bull Ring, also put in a strong performance. Starting from 24th place, the Lamborghini drivers stayed on slicks throughout the race. This paid off in the closing stages, as Bortolotti was lapping up to six seconds faster on the drying track than the opposition on their wets. The two Italians were already up to eleventh after the driver change and from that point on gradually worked their way forward. On the final lap, they got past the Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Markus Pommer and Maximilian Götz to demote them to third.

In fourth place were the Audi pairing of Filip Salaquarda (34, CZ) and Frank Stippler (43, GER, both Team ISR). At one point, it had looked as if they might be on course for a maiden podium, but they ultimately had to settle for what was at least the best result yet for their team in the ADAC GT Masters. Luca Stolz (22, GER) and Sebastian Asch (32, GER, both Zakspeed BKK Mobile Oil Racing team) in a Mercedes AMG improved from 18th on the grid to finish fifth, a result that was enough to secure victory in the Pirelli Junior Trophy for Stolz.

Sixth place went to Ezequiel Perez Companc (23, RA) and Franck Perera (34, FRA, both GRT Grasser Racing Team) in a Lamborghini ahead of best-placed Austrian Christopher Zöchling (30, AUT) and Jens Klingmann (27, GER) in the BMW entered by MRS GT-Racing. Jeffrey Schmidt (24, CH) and regular DTM driver Jamie Green (35, GB, both BWT Mücke Motorsport) scored three championship points in their Audi for a P8 finish.

In ninth place were Robert Renauer (33, GER) and Mathieu Jaminet (23, FRA, both Precote Herberth Motorsport). They started the race from third place and, like many of the other teams, switched to rain tyres early on. But this turned out to be an unsuccessful gamble. Renauer and Jaminet in their Porsche were the only partnership to score points after the early tyre change. They also have the distinction of being the only contestants to score points in all six races of the ADAC GT Masters season so far.

After finishing in the runner-up spot the day before, ex-DTM star Timo Scheider (39, GER) and partner Mikkel Jensen (23, DK, both BMW Team Schnitzer) in the BMW M6 GT3 had to content themselves with tenth place. Although they took the chequered flag in fourth position, they were subsequently handed a 30-second penalty for an incident at the pit stop.

Corvette drivers Sven Barth (37, GER) and Claudia Hürtgen (46, GER, both RWT Racing) extended their lead at the top of the Pirelli Trophy table with another class victory.

Comments from the winners

Daniel Keilwitz (Callaway Competition, Corvette C7 GT3-R): “I saw the clouds coming over before the start, and I thought it might begin to rain. Then, after two or three laps, it started to come down. At that point, you have to decide if you’re going to stay out. I got the impression that the slicks were still working OK. The cars that changed to rain tyres were no faster than us. That’s why we waited until the mandatory pit stop before switching to wets.”

Marvin Kirchhöfer (Callaway Competition, Corvette C7 GT3-R): “We weren’t expecting to win twice. I’m all the more delighted now we’ve achieved that. It was a perfect weekend for us, with a maximum points yield. Next on the itinerary are some tracks where it’s going to be harder for us to compete at the front. At the beginning of my stint, I had everything under control, but as the track dried, it was extremely difficult to keep the tyres alive.”

Calendar for the 2018 ADAC GT Masters

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

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