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ADAC GT MASTERS TITLE CHASE HOTS UP AT OSCHERLEBEN WITH WIN FOR AMMERMULLER/ ENGELHART

With a Pole position, a lights-to-flag victory and a fastest race lap Michael Ammermüller (34, GER) and Christian Engelhart (33, GER, both SSR Performance) underscored their title aspirations in the ADAC GT Masters – a dominant performance in the penultimate race of the season at Oschersleben. Win number three of the season for the Porsche duo was enough to take them to the top of the Super Sports Car League standings ahead of Sunday’s final round. Luca Stolz (25, GER) and Maro Engel (35, Monte Carlo, both Toksport WRT) in a Mercedes-AMG GT3 secured the runner-up spot to keep their own title ambitions alive. P3 went to Philip Ellis (28, GB) and Raffaele Marciello (25, ITA, both Knaus-Team HTP-Winward) also in a Mercedes-AMG. Three more contestants – defending champions Patric Niederhauser (29, CH) and Kelvin van der Linde (24, ZA) in a Rutronik Racing Audi and Porsche driver Robert Renauer (35, GER, Precote Herberth Motorsport) – are also still in with a chance of lifting the 2020 championship trophy on Sunday (live on SPORT1 from 13:00 CET onwards). Just twelve points separate the title rivals. “We managed to have a perfect race today,” said delighted race winner Ammermüller. “Our Porsche ran just great this Saturday. We can go into tomorrow’s race with confidence thanks to our performance today.”

Ammermüller stays ahead
 
While pole-sitter Ammermüller retained P1 at the start, Audi man Max Hofer, who had also been on the front row, was overtaken by Luca Stolz, who thus moved up into second place. Ammermüller then pulled away slightly. He had built up a lead of just under 1.2 seconds after twelve laps, when the race was stopped for around 20 minutes following a collision between the two Audis of Niels Langeveld (32, NL, T3-HRT-Motorsport) and Nikolaj Rogivue (24, CH, Aust Motorsport). On the restart, Ammermüller was able to pull out a gap again on Stolz. By the time the two front-runners came in for their mandatory pit stops on Lap 22, the Porsche driver was more than two seconds up on his closest pursuer. After taking over from team-mate Ammermüller, Engelhart remained in front, which is also where he finished. Even a subsequent safety car deployment to rescue the stricken Mercedes-AMG of Dorian Boccolacci (22, FRA, Team Zakspeed BKK Mobil Oil Racing) left race leader Engelhart in the Porsche unfazed. He took the chequered flag in P1 by a margin of 3.887 seconds and secured the partnership’s third success of the season. Ammermüller and Engelhart go into the final race on Sunday topping the championship table on 168 points. This was Ammermüller’s fifth victory in the Super Sports Car League and, even more impressively, the 15th for Engelhart.
 
Two more title contenders, Maro Engel and Luca Stolz, finished second on the podium. The Toksport WRT drivers are now third overall, twelve points down on the championship leaders with 25 points still up for grabs. Philip Ellis (28, GB) and Raffaele Marciello (25, ITA, both Knaus-Team HTP-Winward), also in a Mercedes-AMG, finished third with a deficit of just 0.6 seconds and took their first podium of the season.
 
Max Hofer (21, AUT) and Christopher Haase (33, GER, both Montaplast by Land Motorsport) started the race from second place and were running third until the driver handover. They lost another position during the pit stop and eventually had to settle for fourth place. Robert Renauer (35, GER, Precote Herberth Motorsport), who is sharing his Porsche with Mathieu Jaminet (26, FRA) this time out at Oschersleben, kept his title hopes alive by finishing fifth. Defending champions Patric Niederhauser (29, CH) and Kelvin van der Linde (24, ZA, both Rutronik Racing) were sixth and are also in with an excellent chance of hanging on to their title. Renauer is now on 156 points while the two Audi Sport drivers are on 160.
 
Ricardo Feller (20, CH) and Stefan Mücke (38, GER, both BWT Mücke Motorsport) finished seventh in another R8 LMS. Feller secured victory in the Pirelli Junior classification. Lamborghini driver Tim Zimmermann (24, GER, GRT Grasser Racing Team), came home fifth in class but still leads in the Junior stakes.
 
Klaus Bachler (29, AUT) and Simona De Silvestro (32, CH) in the Küs Team75 Bernhard Porsche took P8 ahead of Alfred Renauer (35, GER) and Sebastian Asch (34, GER, both Precote Herberth Motorsport) in yet another 911. Mercedes-AMG drivers Indy Dontje (27, NL) and Maximilian Götz (34, GER, both Mann-Filter-Team HTP-Winward) completed the Top Ten.
 
Victory in the Pirelli Trophy classification went to Audi driver Rolf Ineichen (42, CH, Team WRT) for the fifth time this season.
 
 
Comments from the winners:
 
Michael Ammermüller (SSR Performance, Porsche 911 GT3 R):
“We had a brilliant car and had already worked out a good strategy in qualifying. In the race itself, I got away well, was able to defend pole position and pushed hard. Conditions on the track were tricky after the restart, with quite a few of the sections being slippery. I made a successful pit stop and handed over the car to Christian.”
 
Christian Engelhart (SSR Performance, Porsche 911 GT3 R):
“Michael did a great job of preparing the way in qualifying and in the opening stint of the race. I even had some clear air behind me when I took over. There were several incidents during the race, and the track was very slippery in a lot of places, so I first had to find the limit over the first few laps, after which I was able to nail down the win at the finish. We can go into the final round, feeling very confident. We are well prepared and have a terrific car. Our chances in tomorrow’s race are very good indeed.”

Source. ADAC GT Masters

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