Match point for the championship leaders, setback for the chasing pack: The title race in the German GT Championship goes down the final race on Sunday at the Nürburgring. Audi drivers Ricardo Feller (21/CH) and Christopher Mies (32/Düsseldorf, both Montaplast by Land-Motorsport) produced a commanding display to claim their third win of the season in the penultimate race of the year, and significantly extended their lead at the top of the table in the process. However, three pairs of drivers still have title aspirations going into the final race. They include the pair who finished runner-up in race one, Mathieu Jaminet (27/F) and Michael Ammermüller (35/Rotthalmünster, both SSR Performance). Third place on Saturday went to their fellow Porsche drivers Christian Engelhart (34/Starnberg) and Thomas Preining (23/A, both Küs Team Bernhard). “That was absolutely perfect today. Third pole, third race win, and we extended our lead. That puts us in the perfect position for the race on Sunday,” said a victorious Feller. “We are extremely motivated ahead of tomorrow.”
Key facts, Nürburgring, Nürburg, race 13 of 14
Circuit length: 3,629 metres
Weather: 7 degrees, sunny
Pole position: Ricardo Feller (Montaplast by Land-Motorsport, Audi R8 LMS), 1:26.688 min.
Winners: Ricardo Feller/Christopher Mies (Montaplast by Land-Motorsport, Audi R8 LMS)
Fastest lap: Ricardo Feller (Montaplast by Land-Motorsport, Audi R8 LMS), 1:27.741 min.
Impressive display from Feller
Ricardo Feller laid the foundation for the championship leaders’ victory in the first half of the race. After securing pole position in qualifying, he was pushed hard at the start of the race by Luca Stolz (26/Brachbach, Mercedes-AMG Team Toksport WRT), who is second in the table. However, Feller then set about gradually opening a lead. By the time he came in for the driver changeover at the midway point of the race, he was almost seven seconds ahead of Stolz. His partner Mies then brought the win home without any problems, crossing the finish line 3.490 seconds clear of his pursuers. Thanks to their victory, Feller and Mies take a 17-point lead into the final race of the season on Sunday, with a maximum 28 points still up for grabs. Feller also took his sixth class win in the Pirelli Junior competition for young drivers, which he also leads. Victory also sees the Montaplast by Land-Motorsport team move to the top of the Team standings.
While everything was clear-cut at the head of the field, the pit stops shook things up again amongst the chasing pack. Porsche drivers Jaminet and Ammermüller were running third for the first half of the race, but then came in for an early changeover at the midway point of the race. This tactic proved to be successful: the SSR drivers passed the Mercedes-AMG to take second place – a position they maintained through to the finish. In doing so, Jaminet and defending champion Ammermüller kept their title hopes alive going into Sunday’s race. However, they now trail the leaders by 25 points. Porsche drivers Christian Engelhart (34/Starnberg) and Thomas Preining (23/A, both Küs Team Bernhard) also passed the Mercedes-AMG of Stolz and Engel during the pit stop window, and went on to finish third and claim their second podium of the season. Mercedes works drivers Stolz and Engel had to settle for fourth place, but remain second in the table. With a 17-point deficit, they are still the leaders’ closest rivals.
Mercedes works drivers Raffaele Marciello (26/I) and Maximilian Buhk (28/Hamburg, both Mann-Filter Team Landgraf – HTP/WWR) crossed the finish line in fifth place, meaning they had to bid farewell to their mathematical chance of winning the title. They were followed home by Lamborghini juniors Maximilian Paul (21/Dresden) and Luca Ghiotto (26/I), whose sixth place represented the best result so far in the ADAC GT Masters for their team T3 Motorsport. Fellow Mercedes racers Rolf Ineichen (43/CH) and Franck Perera (37/F, both GRT Grasser Racing Team) finished seventh. This was good enough for Ineichen to take his ninth win of the season in the Pirelli Trophy competition. Eighth place went to the Audi pair of Kim-Luis Schramm (24/Meuspath) and Dennis Marschall (25/Eggenstein, both Rutronik Racing by Tece), followed by BMW works drivers Jesse Krohn (31/FIN) and Nick Yelloly (30/GB, both Schubert Motorsport). Rounding off the top ten were Audi drivers Charles Weerts (20/B) and Dries Vanthoor (23/B, both Team WRT).
Ahead of the 14th and final race of the season, Audi driver Florian Spengler (33/Ellwangen, Car Collection Motorsport) leads fellow Audi driver and defending champion Elia Erhart (33/Röttenbach, Rutronik Racing by Tece) in the battle for the title in the Pirelli Trophy competition.
Quotes from the winners
Ricardo Feller: “The battle with the Toksport Mercedes at the start was close but fair. After that, the Porsche put the Mercedes under a lot of pressure and I was able to open a healthy lead. The car felt very good today and I was able to get through my laps well. Chris then brought the car home safely in his stint. We are now very close to winning the title, but an awful lot can still happen. Taking a 17-point lead into the final race is good, and we will do everything we can to hang on to that lead.”
Christopher Mies: “We are a little surprised at how good the Audi is here. We actually thought we might be the third power here. We must now make sure we look after the points, avoid getting involved in any skirmishes, and then take advantage of the situation. The ADAC GT Masters is always very close and I know how good the other drivers are. It will definitely be a close affair tomorrow.”
Source. ADAC GT Masters