Pierre Kaffer and Elia Erhart claimed a surprise victory in Sunday’s ADAC GT Masters race at the Sachsenring after starting from 26th on the grid.
The EFP by TECE Audi pair, who had not scored a point heading into the penultimate weekend of the season, rose to the top of the field through a safety car period shortly after the mid-race pit window.
Erhart emerged as the leader with team-mate Florian Spengler in second and Remo Lips third in the No. 4 Aust Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT3.
While Spengler and Lips dropped back after a final restart with 12 minutes to go, Erhart sternly resisted the efforts of the Sheldon van der Linde and Jeffrey Schmidt Audis to win a 60-minute race affected by three safety car periods and a red flag.
The No. 28 Montaplast by Land-Motorsport Audi of Sheldon and Kelvin van der Linde settled for second, 0.317 seconds adrift of Erhart, while Schmidt and Stefan Muecke completed the podium.
A bizarre situation at the end of the mandatory pit window saw the pair of EFP by TECE Audis move into first and second having started 26th and 17th respectively.
The fortuitous timing of the race’s second safety car brought them and the Aust-run Audi out ahead of the early front-runners led by Adrian de Leener in the pole-sitting KUS Team75 Bernhard Porsche 911 GT3-R.
De Leener was then rotated by Schmidt heading into turn one with seven minutes to go, undoing the work of co-driver Klaus Bachler who commanded the opening half.
Robert Renauer and Mathieu Jaminet picked up fourth place in their Herberth Motorsport Porsche which was enough to move them ahead of erstwhile points leaders Maximilian Goetz and Markus Pommer, who had another tough race in their HTP Motorsport Mercedes AMG GT3.
Contact with Kelvin van der Linde’s Audi at the first corner resulted in a right-rear puncture that sheared off the Mercedes’ rear bodywork, while other accidents on the opening lap resulted in a red flag period that saw the race length reduced from 60 to 55 minutes.
Goetz was able to return with a patched-up car, but he and Pommer could only recover to 16th.
Race one winners Timo Bernhard and Kevin Estre finished fifth in their KUS Team75 Porsche, ahead of the HTP Mercedes of Maximilian Buhk and Indy Dontje.
Dontje played a part in the safety car period that shifted the lead pattern, after he collided with Mirko Bortolotti in the title-contending GRT Grasser Racing Lamborghini whilst battling for fourth.
The pair touched through turn two, sending Bortolotti’s Lamborghini Huracan GT3 into the barriers and out of the race.
Other caution spells included one 16 minutes in when Jens Klingmann’s BMW broke down, and another in the final 15 minutes when De Leener was turned around by Schmidt, setting up the close run to the finish.
RESULTS: Race 2