Milestone success for Corvette in a spectacular race that went down to the wire at the Red Bull Ring: Jeffrey Schmidt (27/CH) and Marvin Kirchhöfer (27/Lucerne, both Callaway Competition) not only claimed their first win of the season in a thrilling Sunday race in the German GT Championship, but also racked up triumph number ten for the US sports car manufacturer at the Austrian circuit. Second place, less than one second back, went to pole-sitters Kim-Luis Schramm (23/Meuspath) and Dennis Marschall (24/Eggenstein, both Rutronik Racing by Tece) in the best-placed Audi. BMW drivers Nick Yelloly (29/GB) and Jesse Krohn (30/FIN, both Schubert Motorsport) finished third to ensure a good mix of manufacturers on the podium. “A great day. We had very quick guys behind us, so we could not afford to make any mistakes,” said a delighted Schmidt. “We had to give it everything.”
Key facts, Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, race 4 of 14
Circuit length: 4,318 metres
Weather: 24 degrees, sunny
Pole position: Dennis Marschall (Rutronik Racing by Tece, Audi R8 LMS), 1:28.842 minutes
Jeffrey Schmidt/Marvin Kirchhöfer (Callaway Competition, Corvette C7 GT3-R)
Fastest lap: Dries Vanthoor (Team WRT, Audi R8 LMS), 1:29.679 minutes
Corvette leads from the opening lap
Sunday’s race at the Red Bull Ring began in spectacular fashion: while Corvette driver Marvin Kirchhöfer passed pole-sitter Dennis Marschall to take the lead, Mercedes-AMG driver Maro Engel (35/Monte Carlo, Mercedes-AMG Team Toksport WRT) skidded into the crash barriers after a collision, that was no fault of his own, coming out of turn one. The consequence of the crash, from which Engel emerged unhurt: an interruption of roughly 45 minutes while the car was retrieved and the barriers repaired. After the restart, Kirchhöfer and his partner Jeffrey Schmidt, who took over at the wheel of the Corvette at the halfway point in the race, managed to stay in front until they took the chequered flag. The leading Corvette duo was under pressure throughout the entire race from the second-placed Audi, which never fell more than 1.5 seconds back. In the end, Kirchhöfer/Schmidt crossed the finish line 0.842 seconds ahead of Dennis Marschall and Kim-Luis Schramm, whose second place was the best Audi result to date at the Red Bull Ring. The Audi duo’s efforts were rewarded, as they were on Saturday, with first place in the Pirelli Junior competition.
In the exciting closing stages, following a late safety car, BMW drivers Nick Yelloly and Jesse Krohn managed to fight their way into third place on the penultimate lap. Lamborghini works driver and the second-placed man in the championship, Mirko Bortolotti (31/I) and his partner Albert Costa Balboa (31/E, both GRT Grasser Racing Team) snatched fourth place from their team-mates Rolf Ineichen (42/CH) and Franck Perera (37/F, both GRT Grasser Racing Team) on the final lap. Fifth place was good enough to earn Ineichen his second victory of the weekend in the Pirelli Trophy competition.
Saturday’s winners Michael Ammermüller (35/Rotthalmünster) and Mathieu Jaminet (26/F, both SSR Performance) finished sixth in their Porsche 911 GT3 R to successfully defend their lead in the championship. Their lead after four of 14 races now stands at 16 points. After an impressive fightback from 18th place on the grid, Audi drivers Ricardo Feller (21/CH) and Christopher Mies (31/Düsseldorf, both Montaplast by Land-Motorsport) crossed the line in seventh place, followed in eighth by Igor Waliłko (23/PL) and Jules Gounon (26/F, both Team Zakspeed Mobil Krankenkasse Racing) in the best-placed Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo. Ninth place went to David Jahn (30/Leipzig) and Marco Holzer (32/Bobingen, both Team Joos Sportwagentechnik) in a Porsche, with fellow Porsche drivers Raffaele Marciello (26/I) and Maximilian Buhk (28/Hamburg, both Mann-Filter Team Landgraf – HTP/WWR) rounding off the top ten.
Quotes from the winners
Marvin Kirchhöfer: “We laid a good foundation for the start, which is very important here, in qualifying. The race was really demanding for us both. Jeffrey controlled the second half of the race very well. It was not as easy as it looked from the outside. The pace of the first three cars was virtually identical, but we were able to open a lead at the restarts and hold our position. The Corvette runs really well at the Red Bull Ring and we are delighted with the successful weekend.”
Jeffrey Schmidt: “It is very difficult to win here, we could not afford any mistakes. We gave it our all and are very happy with the win. We did a good job of staying out of the chaos at the start, and then got away well after the restarts. I am already looking forward to Zandvoort.”
Source. ADAC GT Masters