Markus Pommer and Kelvin Van Der Linde Photo: ADAC GT Masters
Markus Pommer and Kelvin Van Der Linde Photo: ADAC GT Masters

Audi man Markus Pommer: 'Always up in front'

Maiden ADAC GT Masters victory for Aust driver in the 2017 campaign

Markus Pommer and Aust Motorsport were the surprise package of the 2017 ADAC GT Masters. Sadly, they were out of luck in this weekend's FIA GT World Cup.

In the recent Super Sports Car League, Pommer shared the cockpit of the number 3 Audi R8 LMS with ex-champion Kelvin van der Linde. As early as the season opener at Oschersleben, the duo attracted plaudits for a fourth-place finish. Their first podium came at Zandvoort where they took the runner-up spot. But better was to come when Pommer and Aust Motorsport notched up a maiden ADAC GT Masters victory at the Nürburgring. The 26-year-old from Neckarsulm is therefore more than satisfied with the campaign overall: "We performed strongly right from the start and consistently scored good results when we actually made it to the finish line. At Oschersleben, we almost made it onto the podium, and at other circuits too, we were up there with the front-runners. That includes the Red Bull Ring, which is not known for favouring the Audi, where we finished in the Top Ten. At Zandvoort, we were actually the fastest on Saturday, but unfortunately I got blocked in qualifying and had to start from quite far back. Even so, we still managed to finish second in the race. On Sunday in the rain, we had an accident, otherwise we might well have got another podium."

On the following race weekend at the Nürburgring, Pommer and van der Linde were unbeatable on Sunday: "Absolutely everything went right there. It was a bit tight with the Schnitzer BMW after the pit stop, but after I got in front, I was able to cruise to victory. The car was a dream." After the weekend in the Eifel, Pommer and van de Linde even found themselves in contention for the title. But then Pommer had to miss out on the next round of the competition at the Sachsenring due to health reasons: "That was a really bitter pill to swallow. I think we might otherwise have ended the season in the Top Three."

How does Pommer explain the sudden rise in the fortunes of Aust? "We worked hard over the winter. Team boss Frank Aust, Head of Engineering Dirk Weller and my dad as well as a good friend of the team had some ideas on what to improve and that paid off. But the two driver combinations were also an important factor. With Patric Niederhauser and Dennis Marschall in the sister car, the team had no fewer than four fast drivers. In Kelvin, I have a co-driver who knows the Audi very well and is also very quick."

Pommer looks forward to continuing the upward trend in 2018. "It's too early to say who I'll be driving for. I would like to stay with Aust. It's looking quite good in that regard, but nothing has definitely been decided yet."

On the calendar for this weekend was the FIA GT World Cup. Pommer had been relishing the prospect: "The street circuit in Macau is incredible and the calibre of driver line-up is extremely high. I have never raced in such a strong GT3 field." Pommer posted some impressive lap times in the Aust Audi before being caught up in the mass crash in Saturday's qualifying race through no fault of his own. His vehicle cannot be repaired on site, and he is therefore unable to compete in Sunday's main race.

Other well-known names from the ADAC GT Masters in Macau are BMW Team Schnitzer who are deploying the latest Art Car from the Munich-based manufacturer, Mirko Bortolotti in a Lamborghini and team principal Christian Schütz, who is providing support to an Asian Porsche team as race engineer.

2020 Season