Great start: Nicolai Sylvest in the MRS-BMW M6 GT3 Photo: LAT Images
Great start: Nicolai Sylvest in the MRS-BMW M6 GT3 Photo: LAT Images

Snippets from Oschersleben

Notes from first round of ADAC GT Masters

The ADAC GT Masters season opener at Oschersleben threw up many interesting stories. Here's our take on events.

Maiden win: Series newcomer Thomas Preining, who won last year's Porsche Carrera Cup championship and is now the new team-mate of defending champion Robert Renauer at Precote Herberth Motorsport, tasted victory on his debut in the Super Sports Car League. His win also gave him the championship lead. Preining is now the sixth newbie after Mathieu Jaminet and Ricky Collard (both in 2017) and Max Hofer, Philip Ellis and Andrea Caldarelli (both in 2018) to have gone out and triumphed at their first attempt in the season opener of the ADAC GT Masters in the past three years.

Maiden podium 1: Newcomers HCB Rutronik Racing celebrated a double podium first. The outfit finished on the podium in the first race of the season on Saturday when ex-champion Kelvin van der Linde and Patric Niederhauser secured second place. This was also the first time that Niederhauser had come home in the Top Three in the ADAC GT Masters. "I'm mega happy," said the Swiss driver. "We did way better than we expected with this podium, and it's just amazing that we finished in the Top Three in the first race in view of the fact that the line-up is so strong. The atmosphere at HCB-Rutronik Racing was really excellent even before the season opener. The chemistry between us all is just right. Of course, there are always doubters when a new team joins a series, but I felt really great right from the start and feel very much at home in this great team."

Maiden podium 2: 18-year-old ADAC GT Masters driver, Ricardo Feller, also finished in the Top Three for the first time on Sunday at Oschersleben. The Audi driver, who is racing for Montaplast by Land-Motorsport for the first time in 2019, also took his maiden victory in the Pirelli Junior classification for young drivers, in which he now leads after the first two of 14 races. Feller and partner Dries Vanthoor are in second place in the overall standings. "Ricardo can be proud of his performance," said Team Principal, Wolfgang Land.

Successful change of partners: On Sunday, Lamborghini driver Rolf Ineichen clinched third place overall along with Franck Perera and secured his 26th victory in the Pirelli Trophy classification for amateur drivers. However, this was his first success in the Trophy stakes at the side of someone other than Christian Engelhart. This season at Orange1 by GRT Grasser, Swiss driver Ineichen has teamed up for the first time with Lamborghini works driver Perera, who took his maiden podium in the series with third place. Engelhart is sharing a Huracán GT3 Evo with Mirko Bortolotti this year, who started out on pole in Sunday's race. "We're extremely well placed," said Team Principal Gottfried Grasser.

Maiden Pole: Former ADAC Formula 4 champion Marvin Dienst secured his first pole position in the ADAC GT Masters on Saturday in the Mercedes-AMG GT3. For his team Schütz Motorsport, this was their eighth pole overall. The last time that the team led by Christian Schütz had occupied the top spot for the start of a race was in 2015 at Zandvoort. All of the outfit's previous pole positions up until now have been achieved with Porsches.

Special start number: Start number 31 which Kelvin van der Linde is using in this year's ADAC GT Masters, has a special significance for the South African: "Our dad contested 31 races, and my brother Sheldon and I also used that number in karting. Unfortunately, we never really had the chance to choose number 31 when we switched to motor racing but we managed to get it this year. Sheldon drives car #31 in the DTM, and I have the same number on my car in the ADAC GT Masters."

Support from fellow South African: At Oschersleben, 2014 champion Kelvin van der Linde got some support from fellow South African, current Bentley works driver and former ADAC GT Masters race winner, Jordan Pepper, who was at the season opener.

Strong start: 21-year-old Nicolai Sylvest from Denmark was the last driver to secure a cockpit for this season just two days before Oschersleben. He will race for MRS GT-Racing in 2019 and made a strong start with sixth place on Sunday in the blue and black BMW M6 GT3. He feels pretty confident about the races to come: "I'd not driven the BMW at all before the weekend and have not yet got the maximum out of the car, so there's plenty of potential."

2019 Season