ADAC GT Masters at the Sachsenring - IMPORTANT POINTS: CALLAWAY COMPETITION BACK IN TITLE CONTENTION
Run of bad luck ended in Sunday race: Daniel Keilwitz and local favorite Marvin Kirchhöfer blast ahead to bounce back from a penultimate row start. Despite misfortunes on Saturday, a strong seventh place on the Sachsenring on Sunday was enough to keep the dream of defending the championship title alive.
On September 8-9, the ADAC GT Masters entered its season homestretch at the Sachsenring, with more than 20,000 spectators enjoying one of the most spectacular and chaotic racing weekends in the history of the "League of Super Sports Cars".
The Corvette team from Leingarten, Germany, started the weekend conservatively, as expected. In Friday’s two free practice sessions, drivers Daniel Keilwitz (28/Villingen) and Marvin Kirchhöfer (24/Markkleeberg) put their Corvette C7 GT3-R in unfamiliar situations, which weren’t really informative due to the rainy weather.
As usual, local favorite Marvin Kirchhöfer drove in the first qualifying session on Saturday morning and he secured the 16th starting position.
Qualifying ended prematurely for the Callaway Corvette on Saturday, after a collision with the Audi of Philip Geipel (31/ Rosenbach/Vogtland, YACO Racing) in the second round. In Saturday’s race, series leaders Pommer and Götz (MANN-Filter Mercedes-AMG) were also involved in a collision and could not continue the race. As the second-place team of Renauer and Jaminet (Precote / Porsche) also did not finish, the top of the points standings remained unchanged.
ADAC GT Masters officials blamed Callaway’s Marvin Kirchhöfer for the encounter in the first race with Geipel’s Audi. A severe penalty of 10 qualifying positions for the second race was imposed, which should have buried all title dreams.
Reigning series champion Daniel Keilwitz could not advance in the stronger qualifying on Sunday morning and, consequently, had to settle for the penultimate row of the grid. Keilwitz endured the start of a chaotic race. Repeated restarts with numerous incidents, crashes and several safety car sessions marked the second race at the Sachsenring. However, Keilwitz was already in 18th position by the second lap. From then on, Keilwitz and Kirchhöfer drove a brilliant race. At the end of the race, Kirchhöfer crossed the finish line in seventh place and ended the unfortunate run of five races with no points.
Competitors Pommer and Götz (MANN-Filter / Mercedes-AMG) finished outside the points and lost the championship lead to the fourth-place Precote-Porsche team with drivers Renauer and Jaminet. In the championship battle, the brothers van der Linde (Land-Motorsport / Audi R8) returned title contention with two second place finishes, just behind the Callaway Competition team.
Daniel Keilwitz and Marvin Kirchhöfer and their Corvette C7 GT3-R were able to shrink the championship leader’s points lead. Now they are within striking distance leading up to the thrilling finale at Hockenheim. Eight drivers, four different vehicles from four different manufacturers will fight for the ADAC GT Masters championship next weekend, September 21-23.
"It was a crazy weekend, with Saturday's retirement and penalty. We thought we would have to bury our title ambitions, but after the chaotic race on Sunday, everything is back in." driver Marvin Kirchhöfer
"The Sachsenring is not exactly the parade course for our Corvette, but we should be happy with the successful outcome. We wanted to take our chance for the title to the finale in Hockenheim." driver Daniel Keilwitz
"Nothing is impossible in the ADAC GT Masters this year. Not only have we come to this realization after this sort-of chaotic weekend, I’m looking forward to an exciting and, above all fair, finale in Hockenheim." team boss Mike Gramke.
Text: A.Dannenberg / Motorsport-Karriere.de
Foto: Burkhard Kasan