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QUICK TRIP TO THE BEACH: DUNE SPECTACULAR AT ZANDVOORT MARKS ADAC GT MASTERS SEASON MID POINT

Who will be crowned champion to mark the mid-point in the ADAC GT Masters? The holiday season is well underway, but the ADAC GT Masters will be returning from its summer break to race at the Circuit Zandvoort in the Netherlands next weekend (9th-11th August). At the holiday resort on the North Sea, the ADAC GT Masters will stage the fourth of seven race weekends in total on the circuit in the dunes which will feature on next year’s F1 calendar. We’ve had four different winners so far this season, driving four different makes of car – Audi, BMW, Corvette and Porsche – so the guest round at this top-class circuit in the Netherlands should prove to be very exciting. More than 30 GT3 sports cars, representing eight brands, will challenge championship leaders Patric Niederhauser (27, CH) and Kelvin van der Linde (23, ZA, both HCB-Rutronik Racing) in the Audi R8 LMS for the top spot while three Dutchmen – Jeroen Bleekemolen, Indy Dontje and Kelvin Snoeks – will want to do exceptionally well in their home fixture.

Keyfacts, Circuit Zandvoort, Zandvoort, Races 7 and 8 out of 14 in total

Track length: 4.307 km
Layout: 14 turns (ten right-hand, four left-handers), racing in a clockwise direction
Winners 2018, Race 1: Ezequiel Perez Companc/Marco Mapelli (GRT Grasser Racing Team, Lamborghini Huracán GT3)
Winners 2018, Race 2: Robert Renauer/Mathieu Jaminet (Precote-Herberth Motorsport, Porsche 911 GT3 R)

The Circuit Zandvoort is located in the North Sea dunes and has a unique atmosphere due to its close proximity to the sea. Zandvoort is an ‘old-school’ track with fast corners, many changes in elevation and run-off zones with gravel traps that are unforgiving. “I’m really looking forward to the weekend,” said championship leader, van der Linde, who has finished in the Top Four in the six races held so far this season. “Zandvoort really suits the Audi, and I like the track a lot, because it matches my style of driving. However, as championship leaders, it’s not absolutely necessary that we win. Our goal is a place in the Top Five.” And team-mate Niederhauser added: “The way forward is very clear, to extend our lead in the championship. We won’t try to win come what may but focus instead on taking as many points as possible.”

Corvette drivers Markus Pommer (28, GER) and Marvin Kirchhöfer (25, CH, both Callaway Competition) are in second place and have already claimed three victories this season. However, Kirchhöfer is not prepared to make any predictions for Zandvoort: “It’s difficult to estimate how strong we will be,” said the German-born driver. “We’ll have to wait for practice to see where we really stand. Zandvoort is a circuit that does not suit our car as much as Autodrom Most or the Red Bull Ring, but still, we’ve improved on last year when we failed to score twice.”

Defending champion Robert Renauer (34, GER) won at Zandvoort in 2018. He and partner, Thomas Preining (21, A) have also been on winners’ row this year in the Porsche prepared by Precote Herberth Motorsport as have the BMW pairing of Nicolai Sylvest and Jens Klingmann from MRS GT- Racing. Corvette drivers David Jahn (28, GER) and Sven Barth (38, GER, both RWT Racing) are in third place followed by the best-placed Dutchman, Indy Dontje (26, NL) in fourth overall along with Maximilian Götz (33, GER), who is his partner in the Mercedes-AMG GT3 fielded by Mann-Filter Team HTP. They achieved their first podium of the season last time out at Spielberg. “That enabled us to gain a lot of ground in the championship,” said former champion, Götz. “And the racetracks that suit us best are still to come. We’ll go on attacking!” Two more local drivers will line up alongside Dontje at Zandvoort. Sports car veterans Jeroen Bleekemolen (37, NL) and Kelvin Snoeks (31, NL) will partner Jimmy Eriksson (28, S) and Mick Wishofer (19, A) in the Mercedes-AMGs from Team Zakspeed BKK Mobil Oil Racing.

Austrian outfit, Orange1 by GRT Grasser, are also hoping for a good result at Zandvoort, having won Saturday’s race last year. The team have already claimed several podiums this season but are still without a win for their three new Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evos. “We intend to mount an all-out attack,” said Christian Engelhart (32, GER), who shares the car with Bortolotti. “We know that Zandvoort suits our car. The circuit is very enjoyable and is a real driver’s track. It also often rains at Zandvoort, which would certainly benefit us, as so far, we’ve had a good set-up for all of this season’s races in the wet.”

Source. ADAC GT Masters

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