WRT from Belgium have got their ADAC GT Masters challenge off to magnificent start. The Audi outfit, which already has an illustrious record in international GT racing, has chalked up a maiden ADAC GT Masters victory on its very first competitive outing in the series. After Dries Vanthoor (22, BEL, Team WRT) booked pole position in the tightest qualifying session in the history of the ADAC GT Masters, the Belgian and his co-driver Charles Weerts (19, BEL) were also on unbeatable form in Sunday’s race at the Lausitzring. The duo put in a commanding performance to secure a lights-to-flag victory. Second place went to the previous day’s race winners Luca Stolz (25, GER) and Maro Engel (34, Monte Carlo, both Toksport WRT). Robert Renauer (35, GER) and Sven Müller (28, GER, both Precote Herberth Motorsport) in the day’s top Porsche joined them on the podium in third. “That was a great race for us,” said a jubilant Vanthoor. “I am delighted that Charles and Team WRT have been able to celebrate a victory on their very first race weekend in the ADAC GT Masters.”
Key facts: Lausitzring, Klettwitz, Round 2 of 14
Circuit length: 3,478 metres
Weather: 31°C, sunny
Pole Position: Dries Vanthoor (Team WRT, Audi R8 LMS), 1:21.318 mins
Winner: Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts (Team WRT, Audi R8 LMS)
Fastest lap: Dries Vanthoor (Team WRT, Audi R8 LMS), 1:22.250 mins
Vanthoor in a league of his own
Pole-sitter Dries Vanthoor dominated the first stint of the second race of the season. The Audi Sport driver initially seemed to have lost the lead to Porsche man Sven Müller at the start, but the Belgian was back ahead as they emerged from the first corner. After that, Vanthoor steadily drew away from the pursuing pack, posting lap times that were half a second faster than the rest of the field. By the time he handed the number 32 black Audi over to partner Charles Weerts in the middle of the race, he had built up a cushion of just under 14 seconds. Weerts even managed to slightly extend their lead. However, a late safety car deployment for the recovery of the Bentley of Constantin Schöll (21, AUT) and Jordan Pepper (24, ZA, both T3-HRT-Motorsport), which had spun off in a collision, served to bunch the field up again. Despite temperatures of more than 30 degrees in the shade, Weerts, who is the youngest driver in this year’s field, stood up to the enormous pressure and stayed ahead on the restart. He had a lead of almost 3.8 seconds at the finish line and secured his maiden victory in the Super Sports Car League on his very first weekend. He also triumphed in the Pirelli Junior classification for young drivers.
Saturday’s winners Luca Stolz and Maro Engel had to content themselves with second place this time but lead the first standings of the season as they head home from the Lausitzring. After a night shift to repair their Porsche which had been badly damaged the previous day, Robert Renauer and Sven Müller showed their appreciation to the team by finishing third.
Michael Ammermüller (34, GER) and Christian Engelhart (33, GER, both SSR Performance) finished fourth in another 911 GT3 R. Coming home behind them in P5, defending champions Patric Niederhauser (28, CH) and Kelvin van der Linde (24, ZA, both Rutronik Racing) led a trio of Audis across the line with Kim-Luis Schramm (23, GER) and Christopher Mies (31, GER, both Montaplast by Land Motorsport) in sixth and Rolf Ineichen (42, CH) and Mirko Bortolotti (30, ITA, both Team WRT) in seventh. Ineichen also won the Pirelli Trophy classification.
Three Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evos slotted into positions eight, nine and ten at the finish line with Indy Dontje (27, NL) and Maximilian Götz (34, GER, both Mann-Filter-Team HTP-Winward) preceding Jimmy Eriksson (29, SWE) and Daniel Keilwitz (30, GER, both Team Zakspeed BKK Mobil Oil Racing), followed by Philip Ellis (27, GB) and Raffaele Marciello (25, ITA, both Knaus team HTP-Winward).
Comments from the winners:
Dries Vanthoor (Team WRT, Audi R8 LMS): “The start was a bit difficult because the Porsche of Sven Müller came charging through from behind. But I got through the first corner well and retained the lead. I then started pushing and built up a gap to take into the driver changeover. Charles did a good job afterwards. Unfortunately, the safety car negated the big advantage, but afterwards, he was able to re-establish it again. We have shown that WRT are one of the best outfits in GT racing. The series is obviously new for the team, but they are all great people, and they’ve shown that again today.”
Charles Weerts (Team WRT, Audi R8 LMS): “Dries handed the car over to me with a nice lead. Unfortunately, the safety car came out and nullified it. That was a bit frustrating. But our car was extremely strong, and after the restart, I was able to pull away a bit. We already had high hopes after our good showing in the tests, but we never expected it to go so well right away.”
Source. ADAC GT Masters