The final round of the ADAC GT Masters season, which took place in Germany, came to an end today. The race situated in the region of Baden-Wurttemberg, just north of Stuttgart, at the circuit in Hockenheim held the 7th round of the prestigious GT championship.
Christian Engelhart clocked the fastest time in a rainy second free practice session on Friday, he was fastest by a wide margin with a time set of 1:53.265. In the opening day of the grand finale, his teammate Rolf Ineichen was placed in P17 for Race 1. An unfortunate contact with another competitor forced the #82 to stop on track and retire on lap 6 because of the extent of the damage.
The German-Swiss pairing, who won the race at Hockenheim in 2017, started the second race from P3 as the teams’ best Lamborghini car on the grid. The race hadn’t even completed a lap, when it was stopped due a big crash between the leaders in front of Christian and after a big delay it was back underway with the #82 in the leading position. Engelhart showed great pace and kept that position until the mandatory pit-stop. When Ineichen handed over, he completed a remarkable comeback by finishing second, just 2.220 secs behind the #28 Audi. From an impressive race they also claimed 1st place in the Pirelli Trophy and Engelhart set the fastest lap time of 1:40.758 – an amazing double success.
Caldarelli qualified in P22 on Saturday, but the #63 car was dropped to the back of the grid for Race 1 due to the stewards decision and penalty from Sachsenring. Caldarelli made a clear start and immediately took the fight. From the last place on the grid, he steadily progressed and put the car up to P17 before the compulsory pit-stop on lap 19. When Bortolotti took over, he gained five more positions and steered the #63 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 car up into P13.
Earlier today Bortolotti started the final race of the season in P19. He impressively moved up to 8th place, showing clear intentions from the start. When the chequered flag waved in Race 2, Caldarelli crossed the line in P9 after completing 31 laps.
Unfortunately, Race 1 was not to be successful for Ezequiel Perez Companc and Carlo van Dam, who replaced this weekend’s Marco Mapelli. They started from P13 and the #19 wasn’t able to complete one lap due to an unfortunate incident in T2.
Earlier today, Race 2 went much better for the #19. Carlo van Dam drove an excellent first stint, moving up the order from P33 to P24. He also showed he had great pace with the second highest speed of 266.66 kph. Companc was unstoppable and finished the race in P18.
The next race for the GRT Grasser Racing Team takes place in Barcelona just 4 days away, and the final race of the Blancpain GT Series calendar in 2018.
Lamborghini Huracán GT3 (ORANGE1 by GRT Grasser) #63 (Mirko Bortolotti, Andrea Caldarelli)
Race 1: 13rd (1:43.318), 36 laps
Race 2: 9th (1:41.140), 31 laps
Mirko Bortolotti: “It’s not the best of weekends with a P13 and P9 finish. Qualifying for me was very unfortunate as we switched to slicks a bit too late and missed out on the final lap. Never-the-less we made the most of it in the races, I had some fun storming through the field and we finished ninth in Race 2. I’d like to thank Grasser Racing and Orange 1 for their hard work and faith in this year’s GT Masters Season, as well as Andrea who I had fun to share the car with.”
Andrea Caldarelli: “It was a tough weekend for us. We had a bad Qualification that compromised all the results this weekend and the penalties we got from last weekend did not help to get the best result. We did make two strong recovery races gaining a lot of positions even though it was not the result we expected this weekend.”
Lamborghini Huracán GT3 #82 (Rolf Ineichen, Christian Engelhart)
Race 1: DNF
Race 2: 2nd (1:40.758), 31 laps
Christian Engelhart: “After I got into the lead on the first lap I pushed to create the biggest possible gap. It was a struggle and I was really on the edge a few times but I managed to pull away and pitted from the lead. Rolf did a fantastic job as well and we finished in P2 – the Audi was just a little bit too quick for him and caught him in the end, but it was a fair battle. I am proud about today’s race and cannot thank my team enough for their tremendous support throughout the whole season. It’s always great to end the year on a high.”
Lamborghini Huracán GT3 #19 (Ezequiel Perez Companc, Carlo van Dam)
Race 1: DNF
Race 2: 18th (1:41.541), 31 laps
Ezequiel Perez Companc: “It was a difficult weekend for us. Carlo had to get used to the car at the track, so it was a difficult experience for him. Also, with rain coming for Qualifying and starting from the back today, but in the end we managed to get some positions back. Yesterday was also quite unfortunate. Q1 was good, we missed having a little bit of tyre pressure and unfortunately, I didn’t see an accident between the Audi’s in T2 and when they stopped I just crashed into them, because I didn’t see them.”
Carlo van Dam: “Obviously it’s been a tough weekend. However, I was very glad to get a chance to race for the Grasser Racing Team. Free Practice went very well, and we looked quite strong. Then, unfortunately in Saturday’s race Ezequiel was out so I didn’t have a chance to drive at all. Today we struggled in Qualifying which made me start from the back and then in Race 2 I struggled a little bit. It’s been a difficult weekend and not the one we expected. But after all it was a good experience to race for the GRT in ADAC GT Masters and I hope to be back soon.”
Gottfried Grasser, the Team Owner: “The weekend was good. Second place today was quite a fine result. Christian and Rolf did a mega job. Car #63 struggled a little bit to get the right pace in Qualifying and to then create a good race, but anyway they did a mega job inRace 2 – from P19 to P9, which is really good. For car #19 it was a very tough weekend, however today they made a good improvement. Anyway, it was a good race today and we scored a podium. Now we are looking forward to the final race in Barcelona.”
Source. GRT Grasser Racing