Hohenstein-Ernstthal: No less than three Merceders AMGs led the field home to end the first practice session as the penultimate ADAC GT Masters race weekend of the season got under way at the Sachsenring. Luca Ludwig (28, DEU, Mercedes-AMG team ZAKSPEED) was quickest, followed by team-mate Yelmer Buurman (30, NL) and Maximilian Götz (31, DEU, Mercedes-AMG Team HTP Motorsport). The two DTM stars, Jamie Green (35, GB) and Edoardo Mortara (30, I, both BWT Mücke Motorsport), posted their first laps in the Super Sports Car League at the Sachsenring. SPORT1 will broadcast the two Super Sports Car League races live and in full on Saturday and Sunday at 1.00 pm. Races can also be watched online as live streams at sport1.de, adac.de/motorsport and youtube.com/adac.
Ludwig took best time during the 60-minute session with a 1.18.654. "It went really well. I'm very satisfied," said the 2015 ADAC GT Masters champion. "The track suits our Mercedes. We'll have a look now at improving set-up. There's still a bit more fine-tuning to do, and then we'll see how the car runs over the distance."
Driving the #20 Mercedes-AMG for the first time this weekend, Ludwig's team-mate, Yelmer Buurman, was 0.124 seconds slower. Maximilian Götz, another 'Merc' driver, was third with a time of 1.18.857 minutes. Fourth place went to the Lamborghini Huracán of Marco Mapelli (30, I) and Norbert Siedler (34, A, both Team HB Racing), who came home in front of the Mercedes AMG driven by local favourite Marvin Kirchhöfer (23, DEU) and Indy Dontje (24, NL, both Mercedes-AMG Team HTP Motorsport).
Championship leader Jules Gounon (22, F) and partner Renger van der Zande (31, NL, both Callaway Competition) finished 17th in their Corvette.
Sheldon van der Linde standing in for Markus Pommer, who is unwell
Change of drivers at short notice for Aust Motorsport, as Markus Pommer (26, DEU) is unable to compete at the Sachsenring due to ill-health. Sheldon van der Linde (18, ZA), who also contests the ADAC TCR Germany, is standing in for him. The South African will be at the wheel of the #3 Audi R8 this weekend, aiding older brother Kelvin (21, ZA) in his fight for the Super Sports Car League title. They finished sixth in first practice. Kelvin van der Linde: "It's a pity that Markus is unable to take part. I hope he gets well soon. It makes sense to have Sheldon drive, since he's been testing with the Audi just this week in the US. This is the first time ever that we've shared a car. We've never been in the same race series before up until now."
ADAC GT Masters debut for Jamie Green and Edoardo Mortara
Two DTM stars are making their ADAC GT Masters debut this weekend. Jamie Green and Edoardo Mortara will line up for BWT Mücke Motorsport but in different makes of vehicle. Green is sharing the #24 Audi R8 with Alessio Picariello (24, B), who has just won the Audi R8 LMS Cup championship and is also making his first appearance in the ADAC GT Masters. Mortara, though, will line up with Sebastian Asch (31, DEU) in the team's Mercedes-AMG. Mortara: "The Sachsenring is different to the other circuits where I've raced. It's a real roller-coaster with plenty of medium-fast and fast turns. The track affords plenty of grip." Green was also impressed with the circuit: "It's really challenging. Many of the corners are taken blind. You cannot see into them. I've posted quite a few laps already, which was very helpful, as I was able to find a good rhythm. I feel quite at home around the track."