On your marks, get set, go! The 2020 ADAC GT Masters has begun with FP1 at the Lausitzring. The best time of the practice session was posted by Corvette driver Markus Pommer (29, GER, Callaway Competition). Three other brands made it into the Top Four – Porsche, Audi and Mercedes-AMG.
Precisely 306 days (alternatively ten months and two days) have elapsed between the final race of the 2019 season and the first session of the 2020 campaign. This started with a one-hour free practice session, in which Markus Pommer set the fastest lap early on. Pommer, who comes from Neckarsulm and shares the cockpit of a Corvette C7 GT3-R with Jeffrey Schmidt (26, CH), moved to the top of the leaderboard after just under 25 minutes. During the rest of the session, no-one else was able to better his time of 1m 21.553s. “The first session went perfectly for us,” said Pommer. “Everything we tried out on the car worked. I had the perfect conditions for my hot lap, with no traffic in the way. I have a good feeling about this weekend, and I am very satisfied with the car. But as for the actual pecking order, we’ll only see that emerge tomorrow morning in the first qualifying session.”
In second place, 0.118 seconds adrift, was the Porsche 911 GT3 R of Robert Renauer (35, GER) and Sven Müller (28, GER, both Precote Herberth Motorsport). “We did a qualifying simulation during practice to make sure we’ll be competitive tomorrow morning,” said ex-champion Renauer, who already has three winner’s trophies from the Lausitzring. “I think we did quite well. In the second practice, we’ll try out a few more things aimed at performance in the race itself. I hope that we’re well sorted out for the rest of the weekend when the going really gets tough.”
Third place went to the fastest of the Audi R8 LMS contingent, Charles Weerts (19, BEL) and Dries Vanthoor (22, BEL) of Team WRT, which is making its ADAC GT Masters debut. Behind them in fourth place was yet another of the brands on this year’s grid – the Mercedes AMG of Philip Ellis (27, GB) and Raffaele Marciello (25, ITA, both Knaus-Team HTP-Winward). Completing the Top Five were last year’s champions Patric Niederhauser (28, CH) and Kelvin van der Linde (24, ZA, both Rutronik Racing) in another Audi. At the end of the session, they were only 0.241 seconds shy of the fastest time. The gaps in the pursuing pack were likewise small, with no fewer than 20 cars within one second of each other.
Klingmann OK to start, Sylvest as co-driver
BMW works driver Jens Klingmann (30, GER) has been cleared to compete at the Lausitzring despite being involved in a bicycle accident at the end of June in which he broke his arms. “I am very happy,” said the German. “Those first few laps went very well, and I wasn’t in any pain. I had an operation on 30th June, and today was my first time back in the car. Normally, the healing process takes eight weeks. I did a lot of rehab and physio and got the green light from the doctors this week. Today was the moment of truth. I was a bit nervous initially, but everything worked out fine. Anyway, I’m not worried about the rest of the weekend.” The second driver in the BMW M6 GT3 fielded by MRS GT in the season opener is Nicolai Sylvest (23, DK). The Dane already drove for the Lonsee-based outfit last year, partnering Klingmann to a pole position and a victory at the Red Bull Ring.
PS on Air on Saturday evening
The next episode of the Ravenol ADAC GT Masters talk show PS on Air comes live and direct from the Lausitzring on Saturday at 20:00 CEST. Presenter Patrick Simon will look back with guests on the first race day of the 2020 ADAC GT Masters and provide an analysis of the decisive moments.
Source. ADAC GT Masters