Five competitions, eleven races and 14 title outcomes still to be decided – the grand finale of the ADAC GT Masters and its four support series at the Sachsenring (27 to 29 September) promises to be a pulsating affair. In the ADAC GT Masters itself, the drivers’ championship was already wrapped up at the previous event. The two races in Saxony will now settle the matter of which is the best team and who is the top Junior contestant in the ADAC GT Masters. The new drivers’ champions Patric Niederhauser (27, CH) and Kelvin van der Linde (23, ZA, both HCB-Rutronik Racing) will not be basking in the glory just yet, as their Audi outfit is still battling for the team crown. The Pirelli Junior class is also still being fiercely contested between eleven drivers, and no wonder: for the Junior champions in the past three years, this particular title has been the springboard to a works contract.
Keyfacts Sachsenring, Hohenstein-Ernstthal, Races 13 and 14 out of 14 in total
Track length: 3,645 Meters
Layout: 14 turns (four right-handers, ten left-handers), driven counterclockwise
Winners 2018, Race 1: Sheldon van der Linde/Kelvin van der Linde (Montaplast by Land-Motorsport, Audi R8 LMS)
Winners 2018, Race 2: Elia Erhart/Pierre Kaffer (EFP by TECE, Audi R8 LMS)
HCB-Rutronik Racing will be travelling to the circuit five miles west of Chemnitz as leaders in the team classification. The series newcomers put in an impressive all-round performance on the most recent weekend at Hockenheim, with the second of their two Audi R8 LMSs driven by Dennis Marschall (23, GER) and Carrie Schreiner (21, GER) also finishing in the points. “To cap our fantastic debut season by winning the team title would be the icing on the cake,” says Fabian Plentz, Team Principal at HCB-Rutronik Racing. “That’s going to be our clear focus. After our great weekend at Hockenheim, we are now all the more motivated to win the team classification.” Plentz does, however, see his team at something of a disadvantage this time: “The Sachsenring is completely uncharted territory for us. We have never been there before. However, in Kelvin van der Linde we have a four-time Sachsenring winner in our ranks. His experience of competing there is certainly going to be a big help.”
Second in the table, nine points behind HCB-Rutronik Racing, are Orange1 by GRT Grasser. The Austrians will be fielding two Lamborghini Huracán GT3s driven by Christian Engelhart (32, GER) and Mirko Bortolotti (29, ITA), who have won three races in the current campaign, and by Rolf Ineichen (41, CH) and Franck Perera (35, FRA), who have likewise made several podium appearances in 2019. Team principal Gottfried Grasser is sounding upbeat: “The title is our clear objective. We have been really good at the Sachsenring in recent years. Although the new Evo version of the Lamborghini Huracán GT3 is very different from the previous model, we have a good base set-up that works well for very different tracks, as our race wins on the past three race weekends have shown. We should do OK there.”
The third contender for the team title is Montaplast by Land-Motorsport. The outfit from Niederdreisbach, 50 miles east of Cologne, has consistently finished the season in the Top Three since making its series debut in 2016. Indeed, they won the team title three years ago. Land Motorsport are 31 points off the top spot, with 50 points still to play for in the last two races. “As long as it is mathematically possible, we won’t be giving up,” asserts team manager Christian Land. “The team championship is very important for us and to our partners. We’ve done well at the Sachsenring in recent years, so I’m feeling confident.” Land Motorsport recorded a victory on the rollercoaster circuit in both the 2017 and the 2018 seasons. The two Audi R8 LMSs are driven by Ricardo Feller (19, CH) and Dries Vanthoor (21, BEL) and by Max Hofer (20, AUT) and four-time Sachsenring winner Christopher Mies (30, GER). Feller and Hofer currently lead the Pirelli Junior classification for drivers aged under 25, but they have no fewer than nine rivals for the title.
Looking forward to their home race at the Sachsenring are series newcomers T3 Motorsport from Radebeul and ADAC Sports Foundation protégé Maximilian Paul (19) from Dresden. “It’s going to be an exciting weekend for us,” says Paul. He and his partner William Tregurtha (19, GB) made a Top Ten breakthrough on the recent Hockenheim weekend. “Many of our friends and partners will be coming along to support us. Unfortunately, I’ve never driven at the Sachsenring before. I haven’t even tested there, let alone contested a race. But in a way, that makes our debut all the more exciting. To prepare for the race weekend, we have been doing some practice on the simulator.”
Fans who come along to the Sachsenring to watch the ADAC GT Masters can also enjoy the action in four other racing series, all of which are still open at this stage of the season: the new ADAC GT4 Germany, the touring cars of the ADAC TCR Germany, the talented youngsters of ADAC Formula 4 and the now well-established Porsche Carrera Cup Germany. But in addition, there is a lot for spectators to see and do off the track. The pit walk (Saturday 10:05 – 10:45 and Sunday 10:05 – 10:40) offers a glimpse behind the scenes of the ADAC GT Masters. A Meet the Drivers session will also take place in front of the ADAC Hospitality suite on Saturday (start time 17:20 CEST), at which fans can ask the drivers for their autograph or for a selfie.
Source. ADAC GT Masters