Daniel Keilwitz and Marvin Kirchhoefer applied pressure at the top of the ADAC GT Masters standings with victory in the penultimate race of the season at Hockenheim.
The Callaway Competition pair won Saturday’s 60-minute contest in their Corvette C7 GT3-R to go equal second in the championship, while Robert Renauer and Mathieu Jaminet maintained their points lead by finishing second.
Kirchhoefer made a fast start from row two of the grid, working past Sheldon van der Linde’s Audi R8 LMS GT3 before setting off in pursuit of Renauer in the pole-sitting Precote Herberth Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 R.
The Corvette driver snatched the lead with a well-timed overtake at the fast turn 11 right-hander before pulling out a gap heading into the driver swaps.
Keilwitz then held on to his inherited advantage over a charging Jaminet to win by 0.747 seconds, marking his and Kirchhoefer’s third win of the year.
All four title contenders finished in the top five, as Kelvin van der Linde completed the podium in the No. 28 Land Motorsport Audi after a thrilling late-race battle against HTP Motorsport’s Maximilian Goetz.
Van der Linde needed to defend fiercely from an inspired Goetz, who had brought the No. 47 Mercedes AMG GT3 back into contention after co-driver Markus Pommer slipped to seventh by running wide at the hairpin.
Goetz made a daring move on Christopher Haase’s BWT Muecke Audi at turn 11 before hunting down Van der Linde, but couldn’t find a way past despite drawing alongside several times.
Third place for the Van der Linde brothers means they sit third in the standings with 111 points, while the result was enough for younger sibling Sheldon to be confirmed as Junior class champion.
Goetz and Pommer are now joint-second with Keilwitz and Kirchhoefer on 117 points, but Renauer and Jaminet continue to lead heading into Sunday’s title showdown with 127 points in the bank following their podium finish.
Second place in race two, which gets underway at 13:05 local time, would be enough for the Precote Herberth Porsche pair to clinch the title.
RESULTS: Hockenheim Race 1