Excitement from start to finish: Saturday’s race in the German GT Championship at the Red Bull Ring was characterised by many overtaking manoeuvres and spectacular battles. In the end, it was defending champion Michael Ammermüller (35/Rotthalmünster) and Mathieu Jaminet (26/F, both SSR Performance) who crossed the finish line first to take their second victory of the season. Second place went to Mirko Bortolotti (31/I) and Albert Costa Balboa (31/E, GRT Grasser Racing Team), with Corvette drivers Jeffrey Schmidt (27/CH) and Marvin Kirchhöfer (27/Lucerne, both Callaway Competition) rounding off the podium in third place. “A really incredible race,” said a delighted Ammermüller. “To claim win number two on the second weekend of the season is really super.”
Key facts, Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, race 3 of 14
Circuit length: 4,318 metres
Weather: 23 degrees, slightly overcast
Pole position: Mirko Bortolotti/Albert Costa Balboa (GRT Grasser Racing Team), 1:28.773 minutes
Winners: Michael Ammermüller/Mathieu Jaminet (SSR Performance, Porsche 911 GT3 R)
Fastest lap: Raffaele Marciello (Mann-Filter Team Landgraf – HTP/WWR, Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo), 1:30.458 minutes
BMW and Mercedes-AMG lead for the first half of the race
BMW driver Nick Yelloly (29/GB, Schubert Motorsport), who started the race from first place on the grid, held onto the lead at the start. The Englishman led the way up to lap five, when he was forced out of the race by a suspension damage. Mercedes-AMG driver Raffaele Marciello (26/I, Mann-Filter Team Landgraf – HTP/WWR) took over at the head of the field and extended his lead to 3.5 seconds over Michael Ammermüller in the Porsche by the time he came in for his pit stop. However, by the time they had handed the cars over to their team-mates Maximilian Buhk and Mathieu Jaminet, the leaders were within striking distance again. Jaminet did not need much invitation and immediately attempted to pass the leading Mercedes. The 2018 champion managed to pull off the manoeuvre over the course of a few corners on lap 22. While Buhk was then put under pressure by the chasing pack, Jaminet set about gradually extending his lead to over six seconds. A late safety car phase to remove debris saw the field bunch together again shortly before the end of the race, but Jaminet managed to stay out in front and take the chequered flag.
The battle for second place was equally exciting. In the end, the Lamborghini duo of Mirko Bortolotti/Albert Costa Balboa came out on top, 1.1 seconds behind the winners. Bortolotti had set the fastest time in qualifying, but was relegated five places due to an infringement committed by his team-mate in Oschersleben and consequently had to start from sixth place. The Italian fought his way into fourth place in the first half of the race, before Costa Balboa climbed into second place during his stint to present the GRT Grasser Racing Team with a podium at their home event. Corvette drivers Jeffrey Schmidt and Marvin Kirchhöfer finished third to claim their first podium of the season. Kirchhöfer was embroiled in a fierce battle with Maximilian Buhk in the closing stages. He briefly had to allow Buhk through, upon the instructions of race control, for failure to observe track limits. However, he immediately regained the final podium position. Marciello and Buhk eventually had to settle for fourth place.
Newcomer Dennis Lind (28/DK) and Dries Vanthoor (22/B, both Team WRT), in the best-placed Audi R8 LMS, passed the Porsche of David Jahn (30/Leipzig) and Marco Holzer (32/Bobingen, both Team Joos Sportwagentechnik) shortly before the end of the race to take fifth place. Seventh place went to Rolf Ineichen (42/CH) and Franck Perera (37/F, both GRT Grasser Racing Team) in another Lamborghini run by the GRT Grasser Racing Team. This was sufficient to earn Ineichen victory in the Pirelli Trophy competition. The winner of the Pirelli Junior competition was Kim-Luis Schramm (23/Meuspath), who finished eighth overall alongside Dennis Marschall (24/Eggenstein) in a Rutronik Racing by Tece Audi. Robert Renauer (36/Vierkirchen) and Sven Müller (29/Bingen am Rhein, both Precote Herberth Motorsport) were ninth, followed in tenth place by Luca Stolz (25/Brachbach) and Maro Engel (35/Monte Carlo, both Mercedes-AMG Team Toksport WRT), who had started the race from 24th place.
Quotes from the winners
Michael Ammermüller: “The team did a good job and the solid third place in qualifying meant I was able to get through the first stint nicely. It all got a bit close again at the restart after the first safety car, but I was able to open up a small lead by the time the pit stop window opened. Mathieu performed very well today and we are pleased with the win.”
Mathieu Jaminet: “It was an exciting race with a lot of battles. The duel with Maximilian Buhk was really spectacular and close to the limit. As I came out of turn one, I could see that he was exiting the pit lane. I did not want to allow him to find his rhythm on his out lap, so immediately went on the attack. I pulled level with him in turn three and finally got past in turn five. I was obviously not thrilled when the safety car made another appearance at the end, but I pushed hard again at the restart and thereafter. In the end, it all turned out well for us and we are pleased with the win. That was fantastic racing today.”
Source. ADAC GT Masters