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MERCEDES-AMG DRIVERS MARCIELLO/BUHK WIN THE SEASON-OPENER IN THE GERMAN GT CHAMPIONSHIP

Raffaele Marciello (26/I) and Maximilian Buhk (28/Hamburg) overcame difficult conditions to take victory in the Saturday race at the opening round of this season’s ADAC GT Masters in Oschersleben. In doing so, they made it a successful debut for their team, Mann-Filter Team Landgraf – HTP/WWR, in the German GT Championship. Second place went to Lamborghini works drivers Mirko Bortolotti (31/I) and Albert Costa Balboa (31/E, GRT Grasser Racing Team), ahead of Ricardo Feller (20/CH) and Christopher Mies (31/Heiligenhaus, both Montaplast by Land-Motorsport) in the best-placed Audi. “It feels great to win again,” said a victorious Marciello. “The car feels very good and we were able to control the race.”

Key facts, Motorsport Arena Oschersleben, Oschersleben, race 1 of 14
Circuit length: 3,667 metres
Weather: 13 degrees, cloudy, rain midway through race
Pole position: Raffaele Marciello (Mann-Filter Team Landgraf – HTP/WWR, Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo), 1:22.922 min.
Winner: Raffaele Marciello/Maximilian Buhk (Mann-Filter Team Landgraf – HTP/WWR, Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo)
Fastest lap: Mirko Bortolotti (GRT Grasser Racing Team, Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo), 1:25.109 min.

Marciello leads the way
The eventual race winners laid the foundation for their success with a perfect start, which saw pole-sitter Marciello defend the lead in their Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo. The Italian then proceeded to pull away from the chasing pack. Even a short shower could not knock the former Formula 1 test driver out of his stride. By the mandatory pit stop around the halfway point of the race, he handed the car over to his partner Maximilian Buhk with a lead of roughly 5.3 seconds. However, the man from Hamburg was stopped in his tracks saw his lead evaporate shortly afterwards when the safety car made an appearance to allow the recovery of Elia Erhart’s (33/Röttenbach, Rutronik Racing by Tece) Audi from a gravel bed. The German retained the lead at the restart and, after 41 laps of racing, came home 2.604 seconds clear of the second-placed car to present Mann-Filter Team Landgraf – HTP/WWR with its maiden victory on the team’s debut in the ADAC GT Masters.

Second-placed Lamborghini drivers Bortolotti and Costa Balboa also enjoyed a strong start to the season. The duo started from fifth place and had climbed into third by the halfway point. They then took second place from Audi drivers Mies and Feller courtesy of a late pit stop. The Audi pair crossed the finish line in third place to claim a podium finish and earn Feller victory in the Pirelli Junior competition.

Nick Yelloly (29/GB) and Jesse Krohn (30/FIN, both Schubert Motorsport) in the only BMW M6 GT3 battled their way from seventh on the grid to finish fourth and put a smile on the faces of their team, which is based not far from the circuit in Oschersleben. Rounding off the top five were Luca Stolz (25/Brachbach) and Maro Engel (35/Monte Carlo, both Mercedes-AMG Team Toksport WRT).

Kim-Luis Schramm (23/Meuspath) and Dennis Marschall (24/Eggenstein, both Rutronik Racing by Tece) finished sixth in their Audi, followed in seventh place by defending champion Michael Ammermüller (35/Rotthalmünster) and his new partner Mathieu Jaminet (26/F, both SSR Performance). Eighth place went to fellow Porsche drivers David Jahn (30/Leipzig) and Marco Holzer (32/Bobingen, both Team Joos Sportwagentechnik), who had started from the front row of the grid but dropped back through the field following an incident during the rain shower. Robert Renauer (36/Vierkirchen) and Sven Müller (29/Bingen am Rhein, both Precote Herberth Motorsport) came home ninth in another 911 GT3 R, with Jusuf Owega (19/Cologne) and Patric Niederhauser (29/CH, both Phoenix Racing) completing the top ten in their Audi.

Victory in the Pirelli Trophy, for amateur drivers, went to Audi driver Florian Spengler (33/Ellwangen, Car Collection Motorsport).

Quotes from the winners

Raffaele Marciello: “I am delighted to have won with the team. We now go into tomorrow’s qualifying and the race full of confidence. We will continue to do our best, in order to hopefully be celebrating again come the end of the season.”

Maximilian Buhk: “It is great to be racing in the ADAC GT Masters again. It all became a bit precarious when it briefly started to rain during the race, but Raffaele handled it superbly and laid a good basis for the win. The strength in depth is extremely high this year and everyone is pushing to the limit. As such, I am all the more pleased with the solid and good structure we have in the team. I really couldn’t be happier.”

Source. ADAC GT Masters

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