Audi Continues Strong DTM Form at Lausitzring
Audi continued its unstoppable form in the second round of the DTM series at the Lausitzring as Nico Mueller and Rene Rast were both victorious.
In the opening race, Muller was able to keep the chasing pack at bay after beating pole-sitter Robin Frijns off the line.
He then built up a healthy lead before rejoining from the pit stop sequence with a six-second gap.
Sheldon van der Linde scored BMW’s first podium of the year with a second-place finish, while Frijns held the BMW of Marco Wittmann behind to claim third.
Rast took the checkered flag first in Race 2 after an exciting duel to the finish, with Rast’s margin to Muller only 0.089 seconds at the line.
After his pit stop, Rast cleared race-leader, Frijns, on Lap 25 and set off out front while the latter fell into the hands of a charging Muller who stopped later than most of the pack giving him the advantage of fresher tires.
Once he moved by Frijns for second Muller closed in on Rast but ran out of laps and had to settle for second. Wittmann took over third after also passing a struggling Frijns.
Double Delight for Porsche in GT Masters
Porsche 911 GT3 Rs won both of last weekend’s ADAC GT Masters races at the Nürburgring as SSR Performance and Precote Herberth Motorsport shared the spoils.
In Saturday’s contest, Michael Ammemueller and ex-Lamborghini man Christian Engelhart gave the SSR squad its maiden victory in the series, winning from the Toksport WRT Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo driven by Maro Engel and Luca Stolz.
Ammermueller and Engel gapped the field in the opening stint, even with the intervention of an early safety car for T3-HRT-Motorsport’s Bentley Continental GT3 stopping in a dangerous position.
The leaders continued their impressive charge when the race resumed, before swapping over to their co-drivers with no change of position.
Engelhart then kept Stolz at bay to take the win by 0.7 seconds while reigning champions Kelvin van der Linde and Patric Niederhauser finished third in their Audi.
Race two saw Sven Mueller and Robert Renauer end Precote Herberth Motorsport’s 15-race winless streak going back to last year’s Oschersleben season-opener.
Mueller rose from fifth on the grid to third, while David Jahn vaulted the KÜS Team75 Bernhard Porsche into the lead from the third row.
Jahn led van der Linde and Mueller through the first half of the race, while Niederhauser jumped ahead courtesy of an undercut maneuver during the pit window.
However, Niederhauser’s HCB-Rutronik Audi was handed a drive-through for a pit infringement, which passed the lead to Renauer who went on to take the checkered flag ahead of Jahn’s co-driver Jannes Fittje.
A 30-second time penalty for an unsafe release then relegated the Team75 Bernhard Porsche to 18th, promoting WRT Audi duo Charles Weerts and Dries Vanthoor to second.
WPI, Team Parker Shine in Donington Double-Header
Round two of the Intelligent Money British GT Championship produced two different winners as WPI Motorsport’s Lamborghini and Team Parker Racing’s Bentley triumphed.
Race one saw Michael Igoe and reigning GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS champion Andrea Caldarelli deliver WPI’s maiden victory in the series, while Nick Jones and Scott Malvern put series stalwart Team Parker on top in race two.
Igoe and Caldarelli overcame challenging wet conditions to win Saturday’s two-hour race from ninth on the 13-car GT3 grid.
Igoe rose to fourth in the opening half-hour, while a battle for the lead raged ahead between the Rocket/RJN McLaren of Michael O’Brien, the Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini of Rob Collard and the RAM Racing Mercedes-AMG of Sam de Haan.
De Haan’s co-driver Patrick Kujala led after the pit cycle, while Lamborghini factory ace Caldarelli was strapped into the WPI Huracan GT3 Evo and hunting down the top three.
The Italian overtook RJN’s James Baldwin and Barwell’s Sandy Mitchell in short order, before sweeping around the outside of Kujala through Redgate for the win.
Mitchell then slipped to fifth behind RAM’s Mercedes of Yelmer Buurman and Ian Loggie, and the other Barwell Lamborghini driven by Phil Keen and Adam Balon.
In the 60-minute second race, Team Parker Racing gambled by equipping Malvern and Jones’ Bentley with slicks for the start, along with the Balfe Motorsport McLaren of Joe Osborne and Stewart Proctor.
While this resulted in Osborne and Malvern dropping to fourth and fifth, the changing conditions enabled them to rise through the order and establish a 16s gap over the field.
Jones emerged from the pit stops with a lead that only grew over the final stint, while Proctor came under pressure from Balon who made a pass for second at Coppice.
2 Seas Motorsport McLaren driver Jordan Witt and Proctor’s son Lewis, driving for Optimum Motorsport, then also got past the Balfe driver to determine the top five.
In the GT4 class, TF Sport scored a one-two in the opening bout with its pair of Aston Martin Vantage GT4s, while McLaren 570S GT4s swept the second race podium as Chris Wesemael and Gus Bowers prevailed for HHC Motorsport.
Other Racing Action
***The China Endurance Series held its first race in 12 months at Ningbo, where TORO Racing scored a one-two with its pair of Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evos. Reigning champion Eric Zhang won alongside Davide Rizzo, while Leo Ye and Ju Xia finished second.
***ADAC GT4 Germany’s 2020 season kicked off at the Nürburgring with a grid of 20 cars. Jan Kasperlik and Nicolaj Moller-Madsen won the opening race in their Allied-Racing Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport, while Julien Apotheloz and Luci Trefz took race two in a HTP-Winward Motorsport-prepared Mercedes-AMG GT4.
***Larry ten Voorde seized the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup points lead over Dylan Pereira with his second win of the season on the series’ visit to Barcelona. Jaxon Evans finished second and Pereira third. Actor and GTE racer Michael Fassbender arrived as a guest entry, but was one of four drivers to retire after getting caught up in a start-line accident.
***The Revolution A-One prototype made its international debut at Spa, supporting the FIA World Endurance Championship. Morten Dons and Scott Mansell shared out the wins in the Britcar Endurance Series/Sports Prototype Cup races.
News & Notes
***Porsche announced last week that its new Panamera set a new ‘executive car’ production record on the Nürburgring Nordschleife on July 24. Lars Kern, who drives for Manthey Racing’s GT3 team in the NLS, circulated the 20.832 km course in an independently-verified time of 7:29.81.
***Nico Mueller has been retroactively classified as the winner of the DTM’s second race at Spa held two weeks ago. On-the-road winner Rene Rast was given a 10-second time penalty for activating his push-to-pass system twice while leading, following a review of the data. This dropped the 2017 and 2019 champion to third, promoting Mueller to first and Robin Frijns to second.
***The start of the 2020 Australian GT Championship has again been postponed due to circumstances around the COVID-19 pandemic. The series is now set to host its opening round in October in support of the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.
***Series category rights holder Jim Manolios explained the call: “The current outbreak in Melbourne and the subsequent restrictions will see us ‘locked-down’ for at least a month more which puts us well into September, and that’s not time enough to contest a round and then head off to Bathurst in October, especially with no certainty that border closures and the like will be lifted after this current period.”
***Aston Martin outfit Garage 59 has confirmed that James Pull will join its GTWC Europe Endurance Cup Silver class lineup for the rest of the season. Garage 59 ran with two drivers in the 3 Hours of Imola, but team principal Andrew Kirkaldy said a three-man crew is vital for the other, longer races. Pull will share the wheel with Andrew Watson and Valentin Hasse-Clot.
On this Weekend: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (VIR), Michelin Pilot Challenge (VIR), Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America (VIR), IMSA Prototype Challenge (VIR), Super GT (Suzuka), DTM (Lausitzring), International GT Open (Paul Ricard)
Slade Perrins contributed to this report