Maximilian Buhk (20, Dassendorf) and Maximilian Götz (27, Uffenheim) of the Polarweiss Racing team are having one of the most successful weeks of their respective careers. Last Sunday, the Mercedes-Benz duo together with Bernd Schneider won the 24 Hours of Spa. Now, six days later and 100 kilometres away, defending ADAC GT Masters champion Götz and FIA GT3 European champion Buhk have driven their Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG gullwing to a first win of the 2013 ADAC GT Masters campaign at the Nürburgring. Götz and Buhk crossed the finish line 2.6 seconds ahead of ex-Formula 1 driver Markus Winkelhock (32, Berglen-Steinach), who will still have been pleased to secure his best result to date in the ADAC GT Masters, and Christer Jöns (26, Ingelheim) in their Prosperia C Abt Audi R8. Completing a successful day for Mercedes was the second Polarweiss pairing of Sergey Afanasiev (25) from Russia and Andreas Simonsen (23) from Sweden who joined the podium party in third place. "I hope that we can carry on riding this wave of success," said a jubilant Buhk after notching up a maiden ADAC GT Masters win.
Corvette spin helps Mercedes-Benz to their first win of the season
A mistake by Corvette set Buhk and Götz on the road to victory. In the first half of the race, pole-setter Diego Alessi (41, Italy) led Callaway Competition team-mate Andreas Wirth (28) in the Corvette Z06. After Daniel Keilwitz (24) and Christian Hohenadel (28) replaced Alessi and Wirth respectively in the driver changeover, Hohenadel made a game-changing error, as contact with Keilwitz on the first corner caused both Corvettes to spin off the track. Profiting from their misfortune, Götz in the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG moved up from P3 to P1 and cruised away to a first victory of the season in the ADAC GT Masters. The race as a whole did include a couple of scares for Götz and Buhk. As Götz passed Dominik Schwager in the Ford GT, which had a damaged front wheel, there was contact between the two cars. It was only after the stewards judged the collision to be a racing incident that the Mercedes-Benz drivers could celebrate their victory.
"I was able to control the lead and tried to maintain my advantage over Markus Winkelhock. However, he put a lot of pressure on me in the last few laps," said Götz, after securing his second victory in the ADAC GT Masters. "I'm sorry about the contact with Dominik Schwager, but otherwise the race went perfectly. Our pit stop was great and Max's strong start laid the foundation for victory." This was Buhk's first win in the ADAC GT Masters: "I had a good start; I was sitting right behind the two Corvettes and couldn't find a way past despite being quicker than them. I didn't want to make any rash moves. In the end, the Corvettes did us a favour and we went on to take victory."
Excellent tactics enabled Markus Winkelhock and Christer Jöns to finish second. By making a late compulsory pit stop, the Audi drivers were able to improve on their position, Winkelhock emerging in second place after the driver changeover. "I drove every lap as if it were a qualifying session, but there was no chance of catching the Mercedes," said Winkelhock. In a thrilling second half of the race, Sergey Afanasiev and Andreas Simonsen also demonstrated excellent tactical awareness to record their best result of the season - a third-place finish made it a perfect day for Polarweiss Racing.
After spinning off half way through the race, Alessi and Keilwitz still managed to finish fourth ahead of Mario Farnbacher (21) and Philipp Frommenwiler (23, Switzerland / Farnbacher Racing) and Michael Christensen (22, Denmark) and Robert Renauer (28, Tonino powered by Herberth Motorsport) in the Porsche 911s. Max Sandritter (24) and Jörg Müller (43, PIXUM Team Schubert) brought the quickest BMW Z4 home in seventh place. Championship leaders and winners of the last ADAC GT Masters race weekend at the Sachsenring Christopher Mies (24) and René Rast (26, Prosperia C Abt Racing) took one point with a tenth place finish.
Seiler & Bleekemolen win as Corvette take a one-two in the amateur classification
There was no stopping the Corvette Z06.R in the Gentlemen classification at the Nürburgring. Swiss Corvette driver Remo Lips (31) led compatriot Toni Seiler (55), both entered by Callaway Competition, in the first half of the race. After the compulsory pit stop, though, the roles were reversed as Seiler's co-driver Jeroen Bleekemolen (31, Netherlands) took the lead to secure a superb victory for the Swiss driver in the Gentlemen classification. Second place went to Remo Lips, ably assisted by ADAC Sports Foundation protégé Lennart Marioneck (24). Christina Nielsen (21, Denmark) and Sean Edwards (26, GB) driving a Farnbacher Racing Porsche 911 took the third podium place.
Second chance for Corvette in Sunday's race
After Saturday's bad luck, the Corvette drivers have another chance to record a decent finish in the second race on Sunday. Jeroen Bleekemolen starts on pole ahead of Dominik Baumann (20, Austria) of PIXUM Team Schubert in the BMW Z4. Sean Edwards in a Porsche and Christian Hohenadel in a Corvette make up the second row. Saturday's race winners Buhk and Götz start the ADAC GT Masters' eighth race of the season from eleventh on the grid.