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Weekly Racing Roundup (5.17.21)

Reports from GT racing around Europe plus other weekend action and news…

Photo: Gruppe C Photography

Tire Call Pays Dividends for Porsche Duo

Mathieu Jaminet and defending champion Michael Ammermueller took an early ADAC GT Masters points lead with a win and a seventh-place at the Oschersleben season-opener.

Jaminet started race two from pole but was passed by Toksport WRT Mercedes-AMG driver Maro Engel shortly after an early restart for three cars going off in wet conditions.

Engel led the rest of the opening stint before swapping out for Luca Stolz. Several of the leading entries including Toksport WRT remained on rain tires after a soggy start to the race, but SSR Performance sent Ammermuelleer out on slicks in a strategic play.

That move turned out to be crucial, as Ammermueller recovered from initially slipping back to fifth by overtaking several drivers on the drying track including race leader Stolz.

Other cars to adopt slicks ended up climbing the order and reaching the podium, with Nick Yelloly and Jesse Krohn taking second in their Schubert Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 followed by Maximilian Hacklander and Mick Wishofer’s MRS-GT Racing Porsche.

Raffaele Marciello and Maximilian Buhk ran a textbook race from pole position to win Saturday’s dry-weather contest from pole in HTP-Winward’s Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo.

A later pit stop enabled GRT Grasser Racing’s Mirko Bortolotti and Albert Costa to grab second from Land-Motorsport’s Christopher Mies and Ricardo Feller.

In race two, Costa tagged Buhk into a spin which saw the top two from the opening race register DNFs on Sunday.

RESULTS: Race 1 / Race 2 

Photo: GT Open

Lazarus, VSR Share GT Open Spoils at Ricard

Bentley squad Team Lazarus won on Saturday and Lamborghini team Vincenzo Sospiri Racing chalked up a Sunday one-two to kick off the new International GT Open season.

VSR’s Frederik Schandorff and Michele Beretta came away from Paul Ricard on equal points with Lazarus duo Ivan Peklin and Jordan Pepper after both crews took a win and a fifth-place.

The opening 60-minute contest saw Pepper take the lead in a first half that was interrupted by two safety car periods.

The first occurred on lap one when Dominik Schraml arrived too hot into Turn 3 and vaulted his Mercedes-AMG over the roof of Christian Klien’s McLaren 720S GT3.

Shortly after the restart, Pepper seized the lead from Nico Bastian by out-braking the HTP-Winward Mercedes-AMG driver into the Mistral chicane.

The safety car then returned when Boutsen Ginion’s Lamborghini Gallardo Reiter R-EX crashed coming onto the Mistral straight, enforcing a slow period that ate into the remaining stint time before the driver swaps.

Winward jumped ahead of Lazarus in the pits but Ukrainian teenager Peklin managed to restore the Bentley Continental GT3’s earlier lead with a move on Markus Sattler into Turn 1. Sattler would later spin down to 9th, enabling the two Optimum-run Inception Racing McLarens to complete the podium.  

In race two, Andy Soucek charged into the lead for Lechner Racing but a tap from Ollie Milloy’s McLaren sent the Porsche driver off his line through Turn 11 and allowed Yuki Nemoto to seize the advantage in the No. 19 VSR Lamborghini Huracan G3 Evo.

The order changed again during the pit stops as Lechner brought Al Fusail Al Zubair out ahead of the two Lamborghinis in reverse order, only for Schandorff to get past at Turn 5.

This gave Schandorff and Beretta the win, while Nemoto’s co-driver Baptiste Moulin secured a VSR one-two by squeezing past Al Zubair at the final corner.

RESULTS: Race 1 / Race 2

Photo: Dirk Bogaerts/SRO

High Class Nets Hockenheim GT2 Double

The High Class Racing duo of Anders Fjordbach and Mark Patterson won both legs of the Fanatec GT2 European Series round at Hockenheim in their Audi R8 LMS GT2.

After winning once at last month’s Monza season-opener, Fjordbach and Patterson dominated in Germany to establish a 23-point Pro-Am top category championship lead.

Patterson ran in the mid-pack during the early stages of race one, with the 12-car field using wet tires to match the day’s earlier rainfall.

High Class then applied slicks to its Audi when Fjordbach jumped in. This turned out to be a pivotal call as the Dane quickly gained ground on those who had stayed on wets, including the leading Porsche 911 GT2 RS Clubsport driven by Michael Vergers.

Vergers then lost second to Peter Guelinckx with 10 minutes to go, before both drivers were passed by Peter Kox whose KTM X-Bow GT2 had switched to slick tires.

High Class led from the front in race two as LMP2 regular Fjordbach sped away from pole before handing over to Patterson, who kept the lead despite a slow pit stop.

Vergers overtook Guelinckx’s co-driver Bert Longin for second in the opening stint while the Speed Factory Porsche driver’s teammate Aurelijus Rusteika maintained that position to the line, but slipped to third behind Stephane Ratel and Luca Pirri’s Audi after a five-second time penalty for track limits was applied.

RESULTS: Race 1 / Race 2

Photo: Gruppe C Photography

Other Weekend Action

***Gabriele Piana and Michael Schrey swept ADAC GT4 Germany’s Oschersleben opener in their Hofor Racing by Bonk Motorsport BMW M4 GT4. Leipert Motorsport’s Marc de Fulgencio and Robin Falkenbach were the runners-up on both occasions, while Doer Motorsport and Zakspeed crews completed the podiums. Race 1 / Race 2

***After competing in the Fanatec GT2 European Series on Saturday, SRO founder and CEO Stephane Ratel traveled to Oschersleben to visit the ADAC meeting on Sunday. SRO lends its Balance of Performance system to the ADAC’s GT series. New ADAC Sporting President Dr. Hans-Gerd Ennser was also present after recently succeeding Hermann Tomczyk in the role.

***The Ligier European Series visited the Red Bull Ring for the first time, with an 11-car field for the pair of 60-minute races. Natan Bihel’s overtake on Olivier Pernaut with 15 minutes remaining sealed top honors in race one. Pernaut’s co-driver Mathieu Martins then returned the favor on Bihel to win the second race for Ohres Racing. Race 1 / Race 2

Photo: James Roberts/SRO

News & Notes

***26 cars including a field of 14 GT3s are on the entry list for this weekend’s two-hour Intelligent Money British GT Championship season-opening race at Brands Hatch. Five crews are signed up for the new Silver-Am class. Several teams firmed up their plans for the start of the 2021 season last week. 

***Ultimate Speed will run an Aston Martin Vantage GT3 in four of the seven British GT rounds. Drivers Matt Manderson and Mike Brown will contest Brands Hatch, Snetterton and both Donington Park events.

***Steller Motorsport has switched categories with the team’s 2020 driver pairing of Richard Williams and Sennan Fielding teaming up to share an Audi R8 LMS GT4. Steller ran a GT3 Audi in select rounds last year but cannot continue with the same lineup in that class due to the outlawing of Silver Cup crews.

***Former Ginetta LMP1 driver Charlie Robertson and Mark Sansom will tackle a full season of British GT4 this year in a new Ginetta G56 run by Assetto Motorsport.

***Prominent historic racer James Cottingham will make his first GT3 appearance in five years at Brands, sharing a RAM Racing Mercedes-AMG with Sam de Haan. This entry is currently a one-off, with last season’s British GT runner-up de Haan now competing full-time in Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup.

***Gulf colors will appear on a Formula 1 car for the first time after McLaren revealed a special livery for the Monaco Grand Prix. The design nods to both a current partnership with Gulf Oil and famous light blue and orange liveries from the past including the McLaren F1 GTR that finished second at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1997.

On this weekend: Intelligent Money British GT Championship (Brands Hatch), 24H Series (Hockenheim), Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America (COTA)

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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