The second ADAC GT Masters race weekend at Spielberg in Austria saw Mercedes-AMG Motorsport score a total of four top ten results. Maximilian Buhk (GER) and Raffaele Marciello (ITA) delivered the best result at the Red Bull Ring. The duo with the #70 Mercedes-AMG GT3 run by MANN-FILTER Team Landgraf – HTP WWR ended up in fourth place on Saturday, having temporarily led the race. The best-placed Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the Sunday race of the international German GT championship was the #13 Team Zakspeed Mobil Krankenkasse Racing entry driven by Jules Gounon (FRA) and Igor Walilko (POL), classified in eighth place. 23-year old Walilko ended up on the junior class podium on both days. There were also podium results for the teams with the Mercedes-AMG GT4s in the two ADAC GT4 Germany races.
Having already posted the fastest time in Friday’s free practice, Raffaele Marciello also pulled off a top-notch lap with the #70 MANN-FILTER Team Landgraf – HTP WWR Mercedes-AMG GT3 in qualifying on Saturday morning. He concluded the session in third place, but was even promoted to second place on the starting grid for the first race at the 4.318 kilometres long track in Styria following a grid penalty for the pole sitter. In the first corners, Marciello aptly defended his position against the opposition and benefited from the retirement of the race-leading car after five laps. Until the end of his stint, the reigning FIA GT World Cup winner led the 27-car field. However, during the mandatory pit stop halfway through the race saw the Mercedes-AMG GT3 stationary for a little bit too long. The margin over the rivals decreased and teammate Maximilian Buhk only just managed to rejoin the race ahead of the second-placed car. Subsequently, the two leaders staged a close duel over many laps in which Buhk eventually had to admit defeat. Following intense position battles, he eventually drove the green-and-yellow ‘Mamba’ across the finish line in fourth place.
Mercedes-AMG Team Toksport WRT’s Luca Stolz (GER), meanwhile, showed a strong recovery drive on Saturday. From 24th place on the grid at the Austrian track, traditionally not quite known as a circuit that particularly suits Mercedes-AMG, he made his way up towards the top ten with fast lap times. Maro Engel (GER) then solidly drove tenth place home, scoring valuable championship points for the team in the process. With the #13 Mercedes-AMG GT3 run by Team Zakspeed Mobil Krankenkasse Racing, Jules Gounon (FRA) and Igor Walilko (POL) also ended up in the point-scoring positions by finishing 13th. With that result, Walilko also was classified third in the day’s junior category results.
The 23-year-old also ended up on the junior class podium on Sunday. In the second race, he made good use of the work previously done by the experienced Jules Gounon. The 2017 GT Masters champion handed the car to his young teammate on course for a top 10 result. On the final lap, Walilko was quick to react as a gap opened up and advanced two places into eighth position in one move. Maximilian Buhk and Raffaele Marciello again scored points by finishing tenth in the #70 MANN-FILTER Team Landgraf – HTP WWR car.
For Maro Engel, driving the #22 Mercedes-AMG Team Toksport WRT entry, the Sunday race was over really soon. Just after the start, he was hit by an opponent without any fault by himself and slid into the Armco barriers. Maro Engel walked away unscathed from the incident.
The Red Bull Ring brought a lot of bad luck for the duo in the second Team Zakspeed Mobil Krankenkasse Racing car. Both Hendrik Still (GER) and Constantin Schöll (AUT) had to park the #20 Mercedes-AMG GT3 at an early stage in their respective races due to damage beyond repair following contact with other cars.
A pair of podium results in ADAC GT4 Germany
In the ADAC GT4 Germany races on the support package, the Customer Racing Teams again convinced with top results. Both on Saturday and on Sunday, Jan Marschalkowski (GER) and Theo Nouet (FRA) from Team Zakspeed finished in second place with the #13 Mercedes-AMG GT4. As a result, Marschalkowski came out on top in the junior classification on both days. Fourth place for Marc de Fulgencio (ESP) and Robin Falkenbach (GER) from Leipert Motorsport and fifth place for Robert Haub (USA) and Gabriela Jilková (CZE) with Team Zakspeed’s #20 car rounded out the strong results of the Mercedes-AMG GT4s.
Raffaele Marciello, MANN-FILTER Team Landgraf – HTP WWR (#70): “A fourth place and a tenth place, not quite the outcome we had hoped for. Now, we will have to analyse where we can improve. We will continue to work hard to come back stronger in the next round at Zandvoort.”
Maro Engel, Mercedes-AMG Team Toksport WRT (#22): “The accident was really annoying, I had no chance whatsoever. Thankfully, Mercedes-AMG is building very safe cars. The reason for the accident was the turbulent start. The antics of some drivers were not acceptable. Up front, people were braking all the time instead of decently getting going.”
Constantin Schöll, Team Zakspeed Mobil Krankenkasse Racing (#20): “Until turn 3, everything was going well. Then it got close in front of me. I was slightly tapped into a spin and then hit in a very unfortunate way. During the interruption of the race, we examined the damage in the pits and decided that there was no way for us to continue like this. Sometimes, you just have bad luck.”