One finale – at stake at the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg from 21st to 23rd October is nothing less than the title in the 2022 German GT Championship. Seven drivers in Mercedes-AMG, Porsche and Lamborghini cars are still in with a mathematical chance of taking overall victory. The man to catch is Raffaele Marciello (27/CH) from Mann-Filter Team Landgraf: the Mercedes-AMG works driver tops the Drivers’ Championship with a comfortable 42-point lead. But will that be enough to be crowned champion in the fastest GT3 series in Germany? 56 points are still up for grabs at the finale. Marciello’s closest rivals are Christian Engelhart (35/Starnberg) and Ayhancan Güven (24/TR) from the Joos Sportwagentechnik team – despite the deficit, the Porsche drivers refuse to accept defeat. Also hanging onto their slim hopes are third-placed Fabian Schiller (25/Troisdorf) and Jules Gounon (27/F) in the #4 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo. Trailing their fellow Mercedes-AMG driver at the top of the championship by 53 points, they still have a mathematical chance of snatching the trophy. It is a similar story for Jack Aitken (26/GB) and Albert Costa Balboa (32/E) from Emil Frey Racing in the #63 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo, who lie a further point back in fourth place.
Favourite for the title
Raffaele Marciello already has one hand on the 2022 ADAC GT Masters trophy. After victory in the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, the Drivers title in the Endurance Cup, and overall victory in the GT World Challenge Europe, the title in the German GT Championship would be the icing on the cake at the end of a successful motorsport season for the 27-year-old. While things did not go entirely to plan in the first half of this year’s ADAC GT Masters, Raffaele Marciello turned up the heat at the midway point and gradually pulled clear of the field in the second half of the season. One of the championship leader’s strengths has been his consistency. He has stepped onto the podium on seven occasions, including one appearance on the very top step. Not including bonus points from qualifying, the Swiss has scored an average of 14 points per race. One point from either of the final two races would see him crowned champion. Despite this, the GT specialist remains cautious: “As always, I am looking forward to the race weekend. However, we have not won anything yet and must continue to push. The team is well prepared. In Hockenheim, it is all about avoiding unnecessary mistakes.”
The determined pursuers
The pairing of Engelhart and Güven has also claimed one victory in the previous twelve races, and has also regularly finished in the top ten. The Porsche duo goes into the finale in Hockenheim in second place, trailing the leader by 42 points. Technical issues and punctures whilst in promising positions have prevented them from picking up more points. “We will do our best to keep our championship hopes alive. We obviously need a bit of luck, as it is out of our hands. We have to go straight on the attack and win the opening race on Saturday, in order to cut the gap. Motorsport creates the craziest stories, and giving up is not in our vocabulary. All that matters is how it stands at the end, when the chequered flag is waved,” says Christian Engelhart, the 2020 champion, on his team’s chances.
The rapid outsiders
Winning is a speciality of Fabian Schiller and Jules Gounon. The drivers from Drago Racing Team ZVO won the Saturday race last time out at the Sachsenring – their third victory of the season. Fabian Schiller: “We have more wins to our name than anyone else and could have added to them at the Sachsenring, if we had not unnecessarily been disqualified from qualifying on the Sunday. In terms of performance, we have one of the strongest packages in the field. Unfortunately, however, we have not been able to show this in every race. We want to sign off from the season with success in Hockenheim. As long as it is still mathematically possible and there is a minimal chance of winning the championship, we will give it our all.” Jack Aitken and Albert Costa Balboa from Emil Frey Racing have had a mixed season, with one win and two second places. Despite this, with 125 points to their name the Lamborghini duo could still theoretically get their hands on the champion’s trophy at the grand finale of this season’s ADAC GT Masters at the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg.
Source. ADAC GT Masters
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