For the first time, the ADAC GT Masters raced at the new track configuration of Circuit Zandvoort that was reconstructed last year. Following the weekend’s two races, a pair of second places and multiple top ten results were in the books for the Mercedes-AMG GT3. Maro Engel and Luca Stolz (both GER) of Mercedes-AMG Team Toksport WRT achieved the best result on Saturday, finishing in second place with starting number 22. In the Sunday race, it was MANN-FILTER Team LANDGRAF HTP/WWR with Raffaele Marciello (ITA) and Maximilian Buhk (GER) that ran the best-placed Mercedes-AMG GT3 to second place. Driving the Team Zakspeed Mobil Krankenkasse Racing car with starting number #13, Jules Gounon (FRA) and Igor Walilko (POL) scored top ten results in both races. On the support package, there were race wins to celebrate for the Mercedes-AMG GT4: Team Zakspeed (#13) ended up in first place in both ADAC GT4 Germany races.
For the third race weekend of the year, there were again four Mercedes-AMG GT3s in the ADAC GT Masters field of 27 cars. In the process, Mercedes-AMG Team Toksport WRT (#22) secured the best grid position for the first 60-minute race on Saturday as Maro Engel and Luca Stolz started third. In good track conditions, starting driver Engel maintained third place in the turbulent opening stages at the spectacular circuit in the dunes. Driving the MANN-FILTER Team LANDGRAF – HTP/WWR with starting number 70, Maximilian Buhk worked his way up through dense traffic in the early parts to improve from eleventh on the grid to seventh. The #13 Team Zakspeed Mobil Krankenkasse Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 also made up five places from 13th on the grid with Igor Walilko behind the wheel until the first intervention of the safety car that was already deployed after the opening lap.
After the restart, the teams held on to their positions. After a second intervention of the safety car, only the car with starting number 13 lost one place before the ten-minute pit stop window opened. Buhk was among the first drivers in the pit lane, handing the #70 Mercedes-AMG GT3 to Raffaele Marciello. Soon after that, Team Zakspeed (#13) also completed its driver change, putting Jules Gounon in for the second half of the race. Third-placed Engel, meanwhile, used the opportunity to change to Stolz at a late stage, which turned out to be a favourable timing. While the #22 Mercedes-AMG Team Toksport WRT remained in third place after the driver change, the #13 and #17 Mercedes-AMG GT3s slotted into ninth and tenth place respectively. All three cars then moved one position further up following a drive-through penalty for the leading competitor. The second half of the race didn’t produce any further position changes until the chequered flag was out after 36 laps. By finishing in second place, Engel and Stolz secured the second podium result for the Mercedes-AMG GT3 this year. For the duos of Walilko/Gounon (#13) and Buhk/Marciello (#70), eighth and ninth place were the respective results at the 4.3 kilometres long track. The fourth Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the field, the #20 Team Zakspeed Mobil Krankenkasse Racing car with Constantin Schröll (AUT) and Hendrik Still (GER), finished the first race in 20th place.
MANN-FILTER Team LANDGRAF HTP/WWR takes second place in race two
On the Dutch North Sea coast, Buhk and Marciello (#70) had the best grid position of the Mercedes-AMG GT3s on Sunday, starting fourth after qualifying in the morning. Engel and Stolz (#22) ended up in 13th place in qualifying. Team Zakspeed Mobil Krankenkasse Racing saw its cars starting from sixth (Walilko/Gounon, #13) and 24th (Schöll/Still, #20) place respectively.
Marciello managed to pull off an outstanding race start. In the first of the 14 corners, he already made up two positions. Until the driver change, the Italian gradually closed up to the leader lap after lap and handed the #70 car to his teammate Buhk while in second place, less than two seconds down. The latter then found himself under immense pressure right after exiting the pit lane, but maintained his position in an impressive way and undisputedly drove second place home after 37 laps. By virtue of their strong achievement, Buhk and Marciello made further progress in the championship standings and are now in second place after six races.
The Mercedes-AMG Team Toksport WRT Mercedes-AMG GT3, meanwhile, had a lot of bad luck in the race: starting driver Stolz made up three positions during his stint and entered the pits in tenth place. Following a well-timed change and three very fast initial laps, Engel slotted into seventh place and temporarily ran in sixth position following another successful overtaking move. Towards the end of the race, however, he had to deal with technical problems and came off the track on the final lap following a collision by an opponent and lost many positions with an ailing car.
Gounon and Walilko showed another consistently strong performance with the #13 Mercedes-AMG GT3. The Team Zakspeed Mobil Krankenkasse Racing duo made no mistakes to speak of throughout the 60 minutes and secured a top ten finish like in the first race with fifth place their result on Sunday. Teammates Schöll and Still made up nine positions and still added to their points’ tally by finishing in 15th place.
A dominant weekend by the Mercedes-AMG GT4 in ADAC GT4 Germany
The first ADAC GT4 Germany race, featuring on the support package, saw the Mercedes-AMG GT4 lock out the first three positions. In the end, Jan Marschalkowski (GER) and Theo Nouet (FRA) turned out to be unbeatable with the #13 Team Zakspeed entry. The sister car with starting number #20, driven by Robert Haub (USA) and Gabriela Jilková (CZE), finished in second place. Marc de Fulgencio (ESP) and Robin Falkenbach (GER) rounded out the podium, finishing in third position with the Leipert Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT4.
The #13 Team Zakspeed car also was the benchmark in the sixth championship round of the year. In an exciting conclusion of the race on Sunday, Marschalkowski and Nouet again came out on top against the opposition. The #20 sister car with Haub and Jilková added another top ten result in sixth place. In the drivers’ standings, the two pairings are now in second and third place.
Luca Stolz, Mercedes-AMG Team Toksport WRT (#22): “First of all, thanks go out to our team that has done an outstanding job in spite of the packed race schedule in the past weeks. Of course, we were slightly lucky in the first race as we were still able to move up one position because of the drive-through penalty for the leader. Now, we have to catch up further to our opponents in the championship.”
Maro Engel, Mercedes-AMG Team Toksport WRT (#22): “We are very happy with the podium result in race one. Once again, the team put a very good Mercedes-AMG GT3 on the ground, many thanks for that! Towards the end, it was a bit closer at the front and unfortunately, there was no more chance to mount a challenge for first place.”
Raffaele Marciello, MANN-FILTER Team Landgraf – HTP WWR (#70): “I had a very good start on Sunday and I immediately tried to put the front runners under pressure. At this track, however, overtaking is very difficult. Therefore, second place is a very good result for us at the end of the day.”
Maximilian Buhk, MANN-FILTER Team Landgraf – HTP WWR (#70): “Right after getting into the car, I had a close duel with an opponent. Thankfully, everything was clean in sporting terms and I was able to hold on to our position. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough for the top position on Sunday. Nevertheless, I am very happy with the result and the championship points. Of course, we want to build on this result at the Nürburgring in four weeks.”