Raffaele Marciello (27/I) leads the ADAC GT Masters at the halfway point of the season. After impressing in this morning’s qualifying, the pole-sitter from Mann-Filter Team Landgraf was on top form again in Saturday afternoon’s race at the Nürburgring. Together with his partner Maro Engel (36/Monte Carlo) in the #48 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo, Marciello won the seventh of the 14 races in the German GT Championship to claim his first victory of the season and move to the top of the championship standings. “I am obviously very happy today and delighted with the win. However, there is always room for improvement. We must also perform well in the coming races,” said Marciello, who goes into the second half of the season on Sunday as championship leader.
Key facts, Nürburgring, Nürburg, race 7 of 14
- Circuit length: 3,629 metres
- Weather: 17.5 degrees, cloudy with sunny spells
- Pole position: Raffaele Marciello (Mann-Filter Team Landgraf, Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo #48), 1:25.544 minutes
- Winners: Marciello/Engel (Mann-Filter Team Landgraf, Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo #48)
- Fastest lap: Raffaele Marciello (Mann-Filter Team Landgraf, Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo #48), 1:26.829 minutes
Fans were treated to a spectacular race on Saturday afternoon, with many battles for position and aggressive overtaking manoeuvres. Pole-sitter Raffaele Marciello wasted little time in pulling clear of the field, driving like a man possessed and consistently extending his lead. However, the Mercedes-AMG works driver’s lead of over six seconds was wiped out when the safety car made its first appearance of two to remove carbon parts from the track. Despite this, by the time he came in for his mandatory pit stop, as one of the last to do so, he was able to hand the car over to Maro Engel with a lead of more than three seconds. The 36-year-old, returning to the series, controlled the field from the front and took the chequered flag after 41 laps of racing. Behind him, Sven Müller (Bingen/30) crowned an impressive fightback and masterly tactical performance from the Allied-Racing team with second place. Müller’s partner Joel Sturm (20/Brühl) had climbed from seventh on the grid to fourth in the #22 Porsche 911 GT3 R in the first half of the race. After an early pit stop and some very fast lap times, Müller made it into second place, which he defended superbly until the finish. An equally strong performance came from Fabian Schiller (24/Troisdorf) and Jules Gounon (27/F) of Drago Racing Team ZVO, who finished third in the #4 Mercedes-AMG GT3. They were followed home more than ten seconds later by Patric Niederhauser (30/CH) and Luca Engstler (22/Wiggensbach) of Rutronik Racing in the #15 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II. The race was a rather disappointing one for Christian Engelhart (35/Starnberg) and Ayhancan Güven (24/TR). The duo from the Joos Sportwagentechnik team led the championship coming into the race and had started from third on the grid. However, they dropped two positions after the pit stop and eventually finished fifth overall in the #01 Porsche 911 GT3 R.
The Mann-Filter Team Landgraf duo of Elias Seppänen (18/FIN) and Frank Bird (22/GB) enjoyed a strong race and guided the #8 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo to sixth place. This was the best result of the season so far for the two young drivers. The winners of the Sunday race in Zandvoort, Jack Aitken (26/GB) and Albert Costa Balboa (32/E), were unable to back up their triumph and came home seventh for Emil Frey Racing in the #63 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo. Christopher Mies (32/Düsseldorf) and Tim Zimmermann (25/Langenargen) from Montaplast by Land-Motorsport improved on their qualifying result by six places, finishing eighth in the #1 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II. They crossed the finish line just ahead of Jan Marschalkowski (19/Inning) and Luca Stolz (27/Brachbach) in the #8 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo. Youngsters Niklas Krütten (19/Trier) and Ben Green (24/GB) of Schubert Motorsport rounded off the top ten in the #10 BMW M4 GT3.
Maro Engel: “Raffaele did a mega job today. He handed the car over to me with a good lead and good tyres. We are determined to win as many races as possible, and today was a good start. The team worked superbly together. I am at the wheel for qualifying tomorrow, and will obviously be going flat-out.”
Raffaele Marciello: “I am very happy to share the cockpit with Maro. He is definitely one of the best GT drivers in the world, if not the best.”