Dinamic Motorsport’s management of “close calls” set its Porsche 911 GT3 R on course to win Sunday’s 6 Hours of the Nürburgring, according to driver Christian Engelhart.
Engelhart, who shared the win with Sven Mueller and Matteo Cairoli, praised the Italian squad for preparing a car that was “basically a rocket” throughout the race.
But the German driver also told Sportscar365 that he and the team had to negotiate some close calls that threatened to buckle Dinamic’s strong position at the front.
The first came at the start as the 47-car GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup field squeezed into the Turn 1 hairpin for the first time.
A lunge from Albert Costa’s Lamborghini resulted in Dennis Olsen’s pole-sitting Porsche being turned around in front of Engelhart, who in turn was almost hit from behind.
“I had a good start alongside Dennis, and so did he,” said Engelhart, who started from the front row alongside Olsen.
“From my view, I was trying to brake alongside him to stay beside him, but then I suddenly saw his car making a jump so he was obviously hit by something.
“Then I completely opened the steering wheel to try to avoid him, but he spun directly in front of me and I almost stopped. I think I almost got touched on the rear and on the front, but I only just didn’t.
“The second close call was under a Full Course Yellow situation in the middle of the race. We lost the lead, so it was critical to pass the [AKKA-ASP] Mercedes very quickly.
“If that didn’t happen, I could have been stuck there for the complete stint. So I attacked directly and made a really good restart. That was the best chance and luckily it worked out.”
Engelhart ended up behind the No. 88 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo after taking a direct trip through the pits right after Dinamic’s third stop, before passing Timur Boguslavskiy into Turn 1 to reclaim the lead.
He said that he “had to do it to get to the end” under the rule that each driver stint can’t exceed 65 minutes in Endurance Cup.
At the time Engelhart took over the car, the combined drive time of the remaining Dinamic stints would not have filled the time left in the race, meaning that he needed to come through again to reset his personal clock and eat into some of the deficit.
Mueller added that Dinamic also lost around 10 seconds at a stop when its car got stuck in second gear, but the team was able to solve the problem quickly and without any major loss.
The Porsche factory driver then came under pressure from Dries Vanthoor in the fifth hour and reckoned that the WRT driver could have turned the tables had his Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo not been given a drive-through for an unsafe pit release.
“On my last stint I was on used tires and he was quicker,” Mueller told Sportscar365.
“I pushed like hell and tried to gain some space, and I saw he was coming closer. But in the end he got a penalty, and I was happy when they said that.
“Today our car was just amazing. From the first lap of the stint to the last, it completely nailed everything.”
Engelhart added that when the Dinamic Porsche overcame each of its close calls, it was the strongest car in the field.
“We were always in clear air and we could always drive our pace while the others were fighting,” he said.
“It was a fantastic weekend for us. The team gave us a car that was basically a rocket. It was perfect on balance and we could push for the whole stint.”