Saturday’s ADAC GT Masters race at the Lausitzring was suspenseful right up to the last few metres. The Audi pairing of Max Hofer (21, AUT) and Christopher Haase (33, GER, both Montaplast by Land Motorsport) won by a margin of only 0.147 seconds ahead of Indy Dontje (27, NL) and Maximilian Götz (34, GER) in the Mercedes-AMG of Mann-Filter-Team HTP-Winward. Robert Renauer (35, GER, Precote Herberth Motorsport), partnered this time by Klaus Bachler (29, AUT), kept his title hopes alive with a P3 finish. Reigning champions Patric Niederhauser (29, CH) and Kelvin van der Linde (24, ZA) in the Rutronik Racing Audi retain their lead in the overall standings. “I am very satisfied” said winner Christopher Haase afterwards. “Our team has given us a really great car. It is great to have got another win in the ADAC GT Masters. Only if you have the best package you can win here. And that’s what we had today.”
Renauer successfully defends pole during first stint
Pole-sitter Robert Renauer in his Porsche dominated the first stint of this rain-affected eleventh race of the season. He asserted his lead at the start, followed by Mercedes-AMG driver Indy Dontje, who had also started out on the front row. The two lead cars then pulled away from the rest of the field until the safety car came out for three laps on Lap 8 to facilitate the recovery of Hendrik von Danwitz’s Audi R8 LMS. Renauer and Dontje stayed in front until the pit stop window opened. They both decided to pit early to swap drivers, handing over to their respective team-mates Klaus Bachler and Maximilian Götz.
However, eventual race winners Max Hofer and Christopher Haase together with Porsche drivers Alfred Renauer (35, GER) and Sebastian Asch (34, GER, both Precote Herberth Motorsport) elected to pit at a late stage while lying in P4 and P5 respectively. Their strategy paid off, as Haase and Asch moved to the head of the field after the pit stop window, closely followed by Bachler and Götz. The Porsche drivers and Götz then fought an exciting three-way battle for second place behind race leader Haase. Götz managed to find a way first past Bachler and then overtook ex-champion Asch. A late safety car deployment then led to a sprint to the finish line over three laps, during which Götz put pressure on Haase once again but was unable to find a way around him. As a result, Hofer and Haase took their first win of the season. This was Hofer’s second success in the ADAC GT Masters general classification and Haase’s twelfth.
Dontje and Götz narrowly missed out on the win but secured their first podium of the season for second place. Alfred Renauer and Sebastian Asch took the chequered flag in P3 but were retrospectively handed a 30-second penalty for disregarding the yellow flags, which dropped them down the field and out of the Top Ten. Third place went to their team-mates Robert Renauer and Klaus Bachler. Renauer was the best-placed driver among the title contenders, enabling him to reduce his deficit on the leaders in the standings to 15 points. Defending champions Patric Niederhauser (29, CH) and Kelvin van der Linde (24, ZA, both Rutronik Racing) in the Audi R8 LMS came home in fifth behind Porsche drivers David Jahn (29, GER) and Jannes Fittje (21, GER, both Küs Team75 Bernhard), who took the win in the Pirelli Junior classification.
Christian Engelhart (33, GER) and Michael Ammermüller (34, GER), who are currently in second place overall in the standings, came home directly behind in sixth. Their deficit in the overall standings is now only two points, while in the team competition, their SSR Performance outfit is two points ahead of Rutronik Racing, with three races remaining. Hamza Owega (29, GER) and Dennis Marschall (24, GER, both Rutronik Racing) in the Audi took P7 ahead of Corvette drivers Markus Pommer (29, GER) and Jeffrey Schmidt (26, CH, both Callaway Competition). Ricardo Feller (20, CH) and Stefan Mücke (38, GER, both BWT Mücke Motorsport) in another Audi R8 LMS and Constantin Schöll (22, AUT) and Jordan Pepper (24, ZA, both T3-HRT -Motorsport) in the Bentley Continental GT3 completed the Top Ten. This is the best result to date for the British-designed GT3 racing car.
Audi driver Elia Erhart (32, GER, EFP Car Collection by Tece) took his third win of the season in the Pirelli Trophy classification for amateurs and wrapped up the title with three races left to run.
Comments from the winners:
Christopher Haase (Montaplast by Land Motorsport, Audi R8 LMS):
“Our race was good overall. Max laid the foundation in the first half hour with a great performance, and our strategy was also just right, especially regarding the safety car around the halfway point of the race. Towards the end, Maxi Götz was putting me under a lot of pressure. I had a hard time finding enough grip, especially in the last sector of the track. Fortunately, we were able to hang on to the first position anyway, which was by no means easy. But considering the tricky conditions, our Audi R8 LMS was really very good.”
Max Hofer (Montaplast by Land Motorsport, Audi R8 LMS):
“The major challenge today was certainly the poor visibility, and there was also a lot of dirt on the track, which quickly got plastered on the windscreen. It was really difficult to see clearly and safely take it to the limit. In the end, I was able to finish the first half of the race solidly and had a thrilling battle with Steijn Schothorst. I brought the stint to a good end. Because of the difficult conditions, we had to be spontaneous today in terms of strategy. The grip got better over time, but the track dried up relatively slowly.”
Source. ADAC GT Masters