Successful season opener – Callaway Competition makes a run to the podium on the first racing weekend
Leingarten, 1 May 2017
Callaway Competition got off to an outstanding start at the ADAC GT Masters kick-off last weekend. Although the Swabian team did not see the checkered flag on Saturday, its performance on Sunday was respectable. The two Callaway drivers Jules Gounon and Daniel Keilwitz celebrated their success on Sunday after taking second place on the podium.
Third-fastest on two occasions in qualification training, one second placement, and 18 championship points – that was the successful Callaway balance after the first ADAC GT Masters weekend. The two races of the “league of super sports cars” were a genuine motor sports show and attracted more than 20,000 spectators to the Magdeburg Börde.
Premature exit: Jules Gounon in no-fault collision
The Callaway duo of Gounon/Keilwitz initially took seventh and 15th place in the two training sessions on Friday. But in qualifying on Saturday morning, the young Frenchman Jules Gounon made his mark and positioned the Callaway Corvette C7 GT3 in third place. Thus the starting situation for the one-hour race was perfect.
But unfortunately things turned out differently than expected. The 22-year-old was rudely ejected from the race after less than three laps: “The Audi behind me saw a gap where there wasn’t one, leading to unfortunate contact,” says Jules Gounon. The result: Tire damage and consequently a race that could not be finished.
Perfect interplay – Keilwitz/Gounon triumphant on the podium
The frustration of failing to complete the first race had evaporated by Sunday. Competing for the starting position in the second race was up to Daniel Keilwitz. Like his teammate, he burned the third-fastest lap time into the 3,696 kilometer racecourse.
Keilwitz tucked himself behind the second-place Porsche directly off the starting line. Since a chance to pass was not in sight, the team used the mandatory stop. When Jules Gounon took the wheel and came out of the box, he was past the Porsche. The due was second over the finish line and then celebrated its success on the podium. “We are very pleased with the result,” Daniel Keilwitz exulted. “After we had such bad luck the first day, this really made us happy. It’s a great base. We are very satisfied.” His teammate Gounon agreed: “Daniel did a fantastic job today and the team worked together perfectly. It couldn’t have gone any better.”
Things did not go as well for the sister Corvette of the friendly RWT team. The team had to give up the second race after Sven Barth was in an accident through no fault of his own. “I feel very bad for RWT,” said team leader Giovanni Ciccone, expressing his sympathy. “The incident was unnecessary and could have been avoided.”
Anticipating the second racing weekend on the Lausitzring
Team leader Giovanni Ciccone’s racing summary: “The first race went badly. It was obvious that Jules was not at fault. On Sunday we knew we would make it to the podium if we could keep third place. We were unable to pass the Porsche on the track, but Daniel was very strong on his inlap so we were able to advance to second place when we switched drivers. I am pleased about our second place finish, and do not begrudge BMW the win that they have more than earned after all those hard years. Especially with Philip Eng, who is not only a sensational driver but also a great person.”
Now Callaway is returning home to Leingarten in Swabia ranked sixth before heading to the Lausitzring in four weeks (May 19-21) for the motor sports festival where the ADAC GT Masters meets the DTM. Callaway once again intends to have its say when it comes to earning points and podium placements.