Audi driver Patric Niederhauser (28, CH, Rutronik Racing) set the fastest lap in the first ADAC GT Masters free practice session at the Nürburgring. Last year’s champion topped the timesheets ahead of Mick Wishofer (20, AUT, Team Zakspeed BKK Mobil Oil Racing) in the best of the Mercedes-AMG contingent and Jordan Pepper (24, ZA, T3-HRT-Motorsport) driving the only Bentley in the field.
The lap times steadily improved as the one-hour session progressed. The fastest time of 1:27.671 minutes was eventually set by Niederhauser, who is once again sharing a cockpit with fellow 2019 champion Kelvin van der Linde (24, ZA). It followed the test on Thursday in which the duo were also quickest: “This is a mega positive start to the weekend for us. We had a solid opening to our campaign at the Lausitzring with a P5 and a P6, but we knew that we had to find a bit more pace for this weekend. We’ve been doing intensive preparation. I already felt extremely comfortable with the car yesterday. The whole team is in a buoyant mood and highly motivated. It was important that we showed yesterday’s result wasn’t a one-off. We are basically heading in the right direction with the car. Now it’s important that we go into tomorrow’s quali with everything in place.”
In P2 and 0.247 seconds behind Niederhauser was the Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo of Mick Wishofer (20, AUT) and Dorian Boccolacci (21, FRA, both Team Zakspeed BKK Mobil Oil Racing). Jordan Pepper (24, ZA, T3-HRT-Motorsport) raised a few eyebrows by placing the new Bentley Continental GT3 third: the South African, who shares the car with Constantin Schöll (22, AUT), posted a lap time of 1:27.943 minutes. “I am very happy with third place,” said Pepper. “We managed to set good lap times during the tests, too. Our car suits the Nürburgring much better than the Lausitzring, and I’m glad about that. But we need to continue to improve step by step, because we don’t know what tyre strategy the other teams were on. Several of them have saved the fresh tyres for the second practice session in the afternoon. We still have work to do, because we are 0.3 seconds off the best time. But the result was a first indication of a much better weekend for us than we had at the season opener.”
Philip Ellis (27, GB) and Raffaele Marciello (25, ITA, both Knaus-Team HTP-Winward) in another Mercedes-AMG were fourth fastest, and the Top Five was rounded off by Alfred Renauer (35, GER) and Sebastian Asch (34, GER, both Precote Herberth Motorsport).
The bunching at the top, which was already seen on the opening weekend, was also evident in the first practice session at the Nürburgring, with 25 cars within one second of each other.
Special fan service from Rutronik Racing
Rutronik Racing are offering fans a very special service at the second event on the 2020 ADAC GT Masters calendar. Last year’s team championship winners will provide a unique glimpse behind the scenes on their Instagram channel @rutronik_racing. “We’ve got together with the ADAC and come up with some ideas,” says Valerie Priszlinger, Social Media Manager of Rutronik Racing. “Despite the ongoing restrictions on spectators at the races, we would like to offer the fans the opportunity to receive information over and above what they see on TV. We will take the fans along with us virtually and give them an insight into different areas of the team.” Among the live broadcasts planned by Rutronik Racing are the strategy meeting, the driver briefing and data analysis meeting. There will also be several technical videos and a digital autograph session. The team will report live from the Nürburgring pit lane for the first time at 16:00 CEST on Friday.
Jens Klingmann (30, GER, MRS GT-Racing) will start his 100th ADAC GT Masters race on Sunday. The BMW works driver so far has a tally of nine race wins and four pole positions in the Super Sports Car League. Klingmann made his series debut in 2009 at Hockenheim.
PS on Air on Saturday evening
The next episode of the Ravenol ADAC GT Masters talk show ‘PS on Air’ will be broadcast live and direct from the Nürburgring on Saturday at 20:00 CEST. Presenter Patrick Simon and his guests will be reviewing Saturday’s ADAC GT Masters race and analysing the decisive moments.
Source. ADAC GT Masters