ADAC GT Masters Press Release
Championship leaders René Rast and Kelvin van der Linde take maximum points haul from penultimate race weekend. Title rivals out of luck on Sunday
The Prosperia C Abt duo of Kelvin van der Linde (18, ZA) and René Rast (27) took a massive step at the Sachsenring towards getting their hands on the ADAC GT Masters champions' trophy. In difficult conditions with rain setting in, the current championship leaders made it two wins out of two in their Audi R8. Ahead of the grand finale at Hockenheim, van der Linde and Rast have opened up a 35-point gap on their closest pursuer, Jaap van Lagen (37, NL) in the GW IT Racing Team Schütz Motorsport Porsche 911, who finished outside the Top Ten in today's race. On a thrilling final few laps, Robert Renauer (29, Germany), who shares the cockpit of his TONINO Team Herberth Porsche 911 GT3 R with Dominik Schwager (37, Germany), cruised past the Prosperia C Abt Audi R8 driven by Fabian Hamprecht (18, Germany) and Nicki Thiim (25, DK) to take the runner-up spot. "A perfect race and a perfect weekend," said a delighted Rast. "Our closest pursuer failed to score, which surely gives us match point for the final at Hockenheim."
Rast takes lead going into Turn 1
This third win of the season was never in any danger for Rast and van der Linde. Rast immediately went into the lead from third on the grid and was given cover to the rear by team-mate Thiim until the driver changeover. Conditions were much more difficult for van der Linde in the second stint of the race as rain began to fall. The South African had a scary moment while travelling at top speed in P1 when the Audi lost a large piece of floor panel. But not even the missing body part or the tricky conditions for the Audi, which was on slick tyres on a wet track, could stop the precocious youngster. Van der Linde made it a double victory, achieving a maximum points haul for himself and partner Rast in the two races at the Sachsenring.
Meanwhile, main title rival van Lagen was not having the best of luck. The Dutchman had to come into the pits to change the rear wing on his Porsche 911 which had sustained damaged in a bump at the start. The premature stop dropped him down the field and out of the points. Placed third in the standings, Claudia Hürtgen (43, Germany) and Austrian Dominik Baumann (21) in a PIXUM Team Schubert BMW Z4 finished the race in P6 after spinning round in a battle for position. With a 46-point deficit, they now have only a mathematical chance of coming out on top in the finale.
"I was able to snatch the lead from my team-mate Nicki Thiim right at the start and then sail away under no pressure," said Rast. "It won't be easy at the Hockenheim finale in a fortnight's time, but our points cushion is very reassuring."
"That was a very exciting race for us," said van der Linde. "The mixed weather conditions pushed up our pulse rate quite considerably. In the second half of the race, it was difficult to keep the car on the track. Then I lost a part of the floor, which made things even more difficult. However, I didn't take any big risks, because there wasn't much pressure from behind."
Robert Renauer fought his way up into second place behind the Audi. The Porsche man had one of the fastest cars on the track in the second stint, working his way up through the field from seventh position to take second place from the Audi pairing of Hamprecht and Thiim with three laps to go.
Local favourite Philip Geipel (27, Germany), who shares the cockpit of a YACO Racing Audi R8 with Markus Winkelhock (34, Germany), finished fourth, thereby improving on a P5 in the first of the two races on his home circuit. The two PIXUM Team Schubert BMW Z4s driven by Max Sandritter (25, Germany) & Jens Klingmann (24, Germany) and by Claudia Hürtgen & Dominik Baumann crossed the line in positions five and six respectively, followed by the two ROWE Racing Mercedes SLS AMGs driven by Nico Bastian (24, Germay) & Jaime Alguersuari (24, Spain) and by Maro Engel (29, Germany) & Jan Seyffarth (28, Germany). Sharing a Farnbacher Racing Porsche 911 for the first time, Poland's Robert Lukas (26) and Australia's Nathan Morcom (22) took ninth place. Leading Gentlemen driver Herbert Handlos (31, Austria) paired with Alfred Renauer (29, Germany) in a TONINO Herberth Porsche not only claimed a ninth victory of the season in his class but for the second time this weekend also scored a point in the overall classification for a tenth place finish.
Handlos edging closer to Gentlemen title after yet another victory
The outcome of the Gentlemen competition will now not be decided until the final weekend of the season at Hockenheim. The result of Sunday's race was a re-run of Saturday. Although Handlos won, he was unable to extend his lead on championship pursuer Dominic Jöst (36, Germany) driving a TONINO Team Herberth Porsche. Jöst and co-driver Florian Scholze (41, Germany) took second place ahead of Switzerland's Remo Lips (32) and Lennart Marioneck (25, Germany) in their Callaway Competition Corvette.
Photo credit:ADAC GT Masters