Perfect day for birthday boy Igor Waliłko (24/PL) and Mercedes-AMG works driver Jules Gounon (26/F): the two drivers from iconic team Zakspeed Mobil Krankenkasse Racing claimed their first win of the season at the DEKRA Lausitzring on Sunday, repeating last year’s success for Zakspeed in the Lusatia region of Germany. Like yesterday, second place went to Luca Stolz (26/Brachbach) and Maro Engel (36/Monte Carlo, both Mercedes-AMG Team Toksport WRT. Raffaele Marciello (26/I) and Maximilian Buhk (28/Hamburg, both Mann-Filter Team Landgraf – HTP/WWR) finished third to make it an all-Mercedes-AMG podium. “This is the best birthday present you could imagine,” said Walilko after his maiden victory. “I don’t know what to say. Jules did a great job. I would also like to thank the team, who worked into the night to repair our car after yesterday’s crash.”
Key facts, DEKRA Lausitzring, Klettwitz, race 8 of 14
Circuit length: 3,478 metres
Weather: 22 degrees, cloudy
Pole position: Jules Gounon (Team Zakspeed BKK Krankenkasse Racing, Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo), 1:21.981 min.
Winners: Igor Waliłko/Jules Gounon (Team Zakspeed BKK Krankenkasse Racing, Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo)
Fastest lap: Jules Gounon (Team Zakspeed BKK Krankenkasse Racing, Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo), 1:23.107 min.
Gounon and Waliłko in commanding form
Jules Gounon laid the foundation for the victory in qualifying, when he secured pole position for the first time this season. The 2017 ADAC GT Masters champion also drove flawlessly at the start to keep his nose in front. While the Frenchman proceeded to strengthen his grip on the lead, and opened a three-second gap by the mandatory pit stops, fellow Mercedes drivers Maro Engel and Maximilian Buhk led the chasing pack. After the driver changeovers, Gounon’s partner Walilko continued to hold a commanding lead, ahead of Stolz and Marciello who had taken over at the wheel of their respective cars. A late safety car phase, triggered when Jeffrey Schmidt’s (27/CH, Callaway Competition) Corvette C7 GT3-R broke down, brought the field back together and ensured it would be an exciting finish. After the re-start, Stolz went on the attack again, but Poland’s Walilko was able to fend him off and present himself with the perfect birthday present: his first victory in the ADAC GT Masters. Walilko also won the Pirelli Junior competition.
Luca Stolz (26/Brachbach) and Maro Engel (36/Monte Carlo, both Mercedes-AMG Team Toksport WRT) eventually crossed the line 3.5 seconds behind the winners to finish runner-up and repeat their result from yesterday. Fellow Mercedes drivers Raffaele Marciello (26/I) and Maximilian Buhk (28/Hamburg, both Mann-Filter Team Landgraf – HTP/WWR) again underlined their title ambitions, securing another podium finish despite technical issues caused by a broken damper in the closing stages.
The Porsche duo of Joel Eriksson (23/S) and Julien Andlauer (22/F, both Küs Team Bernhard), who were making their first appearance together this weekend, narrowly missed out on the podium in fourth place. They were followed home in fifth by Mirko Bortolotti (31/I) and Albert Costa Balboa (31/E, both GRT Grasser Racing Team) in the best-placed Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo. Audi pair Ricardo Feller (21/CH) and Christopher Mies (31/Düsseldorf, both Montaplast by Land-Motorsport) were unable to repeat yesterday’s success and had to settle for sixth place today. However, that was sufficient to defend their lead in the championship. Feller and Mies are now three points clear of their closest rivals,
Rolf Ineichen (42/CH) and Franck Perera (37/F, both GRT Grasser Racing Team) finished seventh in their Lamborghini. Perera had started the race from second on the grid, but lost several positions at the start. Despite this, Ineichen still managed to claim his second win of the weekend in the Pirelli Trophy. Rounding out the top ten was a trio of Audis: Kim-Luis Schramm (24/Meuspath) and Dennis Marschall (25/Eggenstein, both Rutronik Racing by Tece) were eighth, ninth place went to Luca-Sandro Trefz (19/Wüstenrot) and Christopher Haase (33/Kulmbach, both Montaplast by Land-Motorsport), ahead of former champions Sebastian Asch (35/Ammerbuch) and Daniel Keilwitz (32/Villingen, both Aust Motorsport).
Quotes from the winners
Igor Waliłko: “In my stint, I initially lost a little time. I then tried to maintain my pace and avoid making any mistakes. And that worked. Only during the safety car phase did I briefly start to feel a little nervous. This is my first podium in the ADAC GT Masters and I am overjoyed.”
Jules Gounon: “The win feels awesome. This morning, we laid an important foundation for the race with pole position. I tried to look after the tyres during my stint and to open a lead ahead of Maro Engel – which I managed to do. Igor then did a really good job and withstood the pressure he came under. It is very nice to see three Mercedes-AMG out in front.”
Source. ADAC GT Masters