The title fight in the ADAC GT Masters has reached a critical stage. In the run-up to the penultimate round of the season at the Sachsenring this coming weekend (7th – 9th September), Mercedes-AMG drivers Markus Pommer (27, GER) and Maximilian Götz (32, GER, both Mann-Filter Team HTP Motorsport) have a lead in the overall standings of only eight points on Porsche rivals Robert Renauer (33, GER) and Mathieu Jaminet (23, F, both Precote Herberth Motorsport). And the Corvette pairing of local driver Marvin Kirchhöfer (24, GER) and Daniel Keilwitz (29, GER, both Callaway Competition) is in striking distance with a 19-point deficit.
Key facts, Sachsenring, Hohenstein-Ernstthal, Races 11 and 12 of 14
Track length: 3,671 metres
Layout: 14 turns (four right-handers, ten left-handers), racing in an anti-clockwise direction
Winners 2017, Race 1: Connor De Phillippi and Christopher Mies (Montaplast by Land-Motorsport, Audi R8 LMS)
Winners 2017, Race 2: Sebastian Asch and Edoardo Mortara (BWT Mücke Motorsport, Mercedes-AMG GT3)
100 points will be awarded in the remaining four races of the 2018 ADAC GT Masters. Title contenders representing Mercedes-AMG, Porsche, Corvette and Lamborghini will be going wheel-to-wheel at the penultimate meeting of the season at the Sachsenring, and achieving finishes up front will be absolutely vital in order not to lose ground in the fight for the title. Markus Pommer and Maximilian Götz in the Mercedes-AMG took the lead in the standings last time out at Zandvoort. So far in 2018, they have taken one win plus three more podiums. They intend to build on that success at Hohenstein-Ernstthal and defend their lead. Götz, who won the ADAC GT Masters back in 2012, is optimistic: “We should be among the front-runners again, but the gaps between cars will be very small once more. All things will be possible, though, provided we can get a good lap in qualifying and start from up front on the grid.”
The Porsche pairing of Robert Renauer and Mathieu Jaminet have an eight-point deficit on the two in the ‘yellow Mamba’. The drivers from Precote Herberth Motorsport took their first victory of the season in Sunday’s race at Zandvoort, thus setting out their title ambitions. In the tenth round of the season, Renauer and Jaminet were the ninth pair of drivers to claim victory in the 2018 Super Sports Car League. Their task at the weekend is not going to be easy, as a 911 has never won any of the 22 ADAC GT Masters races already held at the Sachsenring. “Unfortunately, the circuit does not suit the Porsche 911 GT3 R,” said Renauer. “But we intend to secure as many points as possible in order to keep the title fight open.”
Local favourite Marvin Kirchhöfer is within striking distance of the leaders in the standings. The German driver in the Corvette, along with Callaway Competition partner Daniel Keilwitz, is currently in third place, 19 points behind the leaders. They are the only duo to have already won two races in 2018, but – unlike their title rivals – they have also failed to score six times. “I’m really looking forward to my home fixture. We intend to give it our best shot,” said Kirchhöfer. “It will not be easy for us, but a lot can still happen in the last four races, as past events have shown.”
Local outfit YACO Racing will also be in the line-up at the weekend, fielding an Audi R8 LMS with Philip Geipel (31, GER) and Rahel Frey (32, CH). “The Sachsenring weekend is always a highlight of the year for us,” said Frey. “The circuit is very challenging. It’s a real driver’s track. We’ve experienced some highs and lows there in the past. We’ve been on the podium but have also had our retirements. The circuit is one that suits the Audi, so we remain optimistic.” A quick look at the statistics confirms that. The vehicle with the four rings holds the record for the most wins at the Sachsenring with ten successes in all. Fellow Audi driver and last year’s winner, Christopher Mies (29, GER, Montaplast by Land-Motorsport), also intends to fight for the win after taking his first podium of the season in the Netherlands along with Jake Dennis (23, GB). Mies will share the car at the Sachsenring with Spaniard Alex Riberas (24), with whom he jointly leads the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup. “I’m pleased to be supporting my friend Christopher and the team at the Sachsenring,” said Riberas, who contested two races in the 2014 ADAC GT Masters. “It’s terrific to be able to compete in such a strong line-up in this highly competitive series. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Lamborghini works drivers Mirko Bortolotti (28, ITA) and Andrea Caldarelli (28, ITA, both ORANGE1 by GRT Grasser), who are 43 points behind the championship leaders, are outsiders in the title fight. The two Italians will have to score some strong points at the Sachsenring in order to safeguard their chances after coming away with nothing to show for their efforts in the last three races.
Mercedes driver Sebastian Asch (32, GER, Team Zakspeed BKK Mobil Oil Racing) is also hoping for a good result. He has taken one win at the Sachsenring in each of the previous two years, but the two-time ADAC GT Masters champion is still waiting to claim his first podium of the 2018 campaign along with partner Luca Stolz (23, GER). “I’ve won there in the last two years, so that should augur well for the future,” said Asch. “If we can just get qualifying boxed and coxed, then I’ll be quite optimistic about our chances. I really like the track. It’s an old-school, roller-coaster of a circuit with flowing turns. The gravel traps don’t allow you to make any mistakes. I also like the area around the Sachsenring, and lots of enthusiastic spectators always come every year to watch.”
There will be plenty of motor racing action for fans at the Sachsenring. Apart from the ADAC GT Masters, the ADAC TCR Germany, the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland and the Special Touring Car Trophy (STT) will also be holding their races at the circuit.
Calendar for the 2018 ADAC GT Masters
13/04/18 -15/04/18 Motorsport Arena Oschersleben
27/04/18 -29/04/18 Autodrom Most (CZ)
08/06/18 -10/06/18 Red Bull Ring (AUT)
03/08/18 -05/08/18 Nürburgring
17/08/18 -19/08/18 Circuit Zandvoort (NL)
07/09/18 -09/09/18 Sachsenring
21/09/18 -23/09/18 Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg
Source. ADAC GT Masters