The star turn of the first stint contested in extremely high temperatures of over 30°C was the Nissan GT-R. On the very first corner, Dominic Jöst (36, GER) in his MRS GT Racing Nissan drew past pole-sitter Philipp Eng (24, A) in the GW IT Racing Team Schütz Motorsport Porsche to take a lead which he then held comfortably until the halfway mark. Meanwhile, Eng was forced to concede second place to Russell in the Lamborghini, who then pursued the leading Nissan to the pit stop.
The Lamborghini duo managed to complete their changeover three seconds faster, which brought Enge out ahead of the Nissan. But 20 minutes before the end of the race, there was huge disappointment in the Nissan camp as Florian Scholze (42, GER) limped home to the pits after a recurrence of the electronics problem that had dogged the team all weekend. Corvette man Keilwitz inherited second place and mounted a furious pursuit of race leader Enge. But ultimately, he was forced to concede defeat by less than one second. After a good start and an error-free race, Asch and Ludwig finished third, which was enough to see them take over at the top of the championship table.
“My start was not the best, but it was good enough to immediately get us into the battle for the lead,” said Russell after becoming the first Australian to win an ADAC GT Masters race. “The Nissan was very strong in the first stint, but I was able to stay in touch. Tomas then did a great job for the remainder of the race. My first race in this series and my first win – I couldn’t be happier.”
“The result is far better than expected,” said an exhilarated Enge. “We had a great car, and our hard work of recent months has paid off here. So far, we have not allowed ourselves to make the slightest mistake this weekend. This performance by David is incredible, because he has never been here before. It’s a challenging track anyway and the field is massively competitive with 18 cars within one second of each other. Tomorrow, we aim to be on the podium again.”
Austrians Eng and Bachler fifth in Porsche
Finishing fourth were Italy’s Diego Alessi (43) and Patrick Assenheimer (23, GER) in another Callaway Competition Corvette. The 2013 champion and his talented young co-driver prevailed over the Austrian pairing of Klaus Bachler (23, A) and Philipp Eng in a Porsche 911 GT3. The fifth place was a creditable result in the circumstances, after an enforced tyre change due to a slow puncture. Having led the championship after the first race weekend, Bachler might otherwise have been a contender for the podium.
Lips wins Gentlemen class
There was also a strong debut for the second Lamborghini in the field, the bright green Huracán entered by Grasser Racing based in nearby Knittelfeld and driven by Adrian Zaugg (28) of South Africa and Mirko Bortolotti (25) of Italy. It might have emerged from its maiden ADAC GT Masters outing with an even higher placing than sixth if it had not been hit with a drive-through penalty for exceeding the pit lane speed limit. In seventh place overall and first place in the Gentlemen class was Switzerland’s Remo Lips (32) partnered by Sven Barth (34, GER) in their RWT Racing Team Corvette. Lips claimed his first class victory of the year ahead of Andreas Weishaupt (42, GER) in a C Abt Racing Audi R8.
Claudia Hürtgen (43, GER) and Uwe Alzen (47, GER) in their BMW Sports Trophy Team Schubert BMW Z4 finished eighth in one of many exciting battles for position ahead of the kfzteile24 MS RACING Audi R8 driven by Florian Stoll (33, GER) and Marc Basseng (36, GER) and the C Abt Racing Audi R8 of Stefan Wackerbauer (19, GER) and 2014 champion Kelvin van der Linde (18, ZA).
Lamborghini and Corvette share front row on Sunday
The outcome of the first race promises another close-run affair on Sunday (live on SPORT1 commencing at 1pm CEST). The Top Two from today’s race – the Lamborghini and the Corvette – share the front row tomorrow. Starting just behind in third is Florian Strauss (30, GER) in an MRS GT-Racing Nissan GT-R alongside Mirko Bortolotti in the Lamborghini Huracán.
Results from Race 1:
1. Russell/Enge (Reiter Engineering, Lamborghini Gallardo R-EX), 39 laps
2. Andreas Wirth/Daniel Keilwitz (Callaway Competiton, Corvette Z06.R GT3), +0.944 sec
3. Sebastian Asch/Luca Ludwig (Team Zakspeed, Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG), +8.201 sec
4. Patrick Assenheimer/Diego Alessi (Callaway Competition, Corvette Z06.R GT3), +23.592 sec
5. Philipp Eng/Klaus Bachler (GW IT Racing Team Schütz Motorsport, Porsche 911 GT3 R), +24.044 sec
6. Adrian Zaugg/Mirko Bortolotti (Grasser Racing, Lamborghini Huracán GT3), +25.933 sec
Sourc: ADAC GT Masters/Photo. ADAC Motorsport