The first free practice session at Zandvoort was significantly affected by changeable weather. Adapting to the conditions best were the Porsche 911 GT3 R of Timo Bernhard (38, GER, Küs Team75 Bernhard), an Audi and a Ferrari.
The first free practice session began on a track that was still wet from a downpour earlier in the morning. The surface quickly began to dry, and the contestants soon changed to slicks. Timo Bernhard was the main beneficiary of the improving conditions, setting an absolute best time of 1:39.291 minutes in the first quarter of an hour. But shortly thereafter, the weather closed in and an intense shower of rain ruined any chances of a further challenge.
“The session was good for us,” said Bernhard, who partners Klaus Bachler (27, AUT). “Our car was fast in both the dry and the wet, and we were able to get through our planned programme. When I set the fastest lap, I had just changed to slicks because, apart from two or three corners, the track had already dried up. As we saw during free practice, we can expect the weather to be quite changeable over the weekend. However, it shouldn’t be excessively wet on the two race days. Even though it was only free practice, we are happy about having set the best time because it boosts our confidence. So, we’re happy to build on that result.”
Second fastest in the session was Italy’s Mattia Drudi (20, ITA, EFP by TECE) in an Audi R8 LMS with a lap time of 1:40.156 minutes. The Audi Sport driver shares a cockpit with Florian Spengler (31, GER). Third place went to the Ferrari 488 GT3 pairing of Luca Ludwig (30, GER) and Sebastian Asch (33, GER, both HB Racing) ahead of the second Porsche driven by Adrien de Leener (30, BEL) and Matteo Cairoli (23, ITA). Completing the Top Five in the 60-minute session were Elia Erhart (31, GER) and Pierre Kaffer (42, GER) in another Audi fielded by EFP by TECE.
Marco Holzer joins Iron Force Racing
Iron Force Racing have arrived at Zandvoort with a new driver combo: Marco Holzer (31, GER) takes over from team boss Jan-Erik Slooten (34, GER) this weekend and shares the cockpit of the Porsche 911 GT3 R with regular driver Lucas Luhr (39, GER). “Since we have a performance problem, I’ve decided to put a driver in the car who knows the Porsche and the Pirelli tyres well,” said Slooten. “We have problems with new tyres, though less so with used ones. We want to find out the reason for that. Marco is very experienced, and I think the change will be a step forward for our team performance.”
New line-up at Propeak Performance
Ezequiel Perez Companc (25, RA), who won one of the two races at Zandvoort in 2018, is set to make his return to the ADAC GT Masters for this year’s equivalent fixture, the fourth event of the 2019 Super Sports Car League. The Argentine will be teaming up with record championship winner Daniel Keilwitz (30, GER) at the wheel of the number 99 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 entered by Propeak Performance. “Maxime Martin had to pull out at short notice,” says team manager Steve Buschmann. “That’s why we’ve brought in Ezequiel, because he knows the track here well.”
PS on Air with Indy Dontje
Local favourite Indy Dontje (26, NL, Mann-Filter Team HTP) will be a guest on the ADAC GT Masters talk show, PS on Air, broadcast from Zandvoort this weekend. Patrick Simon, who hosts the show, will be conducting a live interview with the Mercedes-AMG driver in the paddock of the circuit on the North Sea coast. Tune in at 19:00 CEST on Saturday to one of the following: youtube.com/adac, the ADAC GT Masters Facebook channel and Patrick Simon’s YouTube channel youtube.com/Patsimon75.
Source. ADAC GT Masters