Wirth Rallies After a Rough Start at TT Circuit Assen

Andreas Wirth completed the penultimate round of ADAC GT Masters Competition this weekend at TT Circuit Assen in the Netherlands accumulating good points in both races. Together with his team mate, Christiaan Frankenhout, Wirth drove the #33 HEICO Motorsport Mercedes Benz AMG SLS GT3 to sixth place in race one, and narrowly missed the podium in race two, coming in fourth.

The weekend in the Netherlands had an unlucky start, as Wirth watched his co-driver leave the track and collide hard with the barrier after just five laps in first practice. Extensive repairs were required, meaning the duo missed the second practice session. Wirth was finally able to turn his first laps of the weekend during qualifying late in the day Friday, where he secured a ninth place spot for the start of Saturday's race - a great result considering the circumstances and apparent lingering effects of the morning incident.  From their ninth place starting position, pilots Frankenhout and Wirth fought hard in the 60-minute race and managed to cross the finish line in sixth place.

Results from Sunday's race were even better, despite the fact that Frankenhout had only been able to achieve a mid-field grid position of 23rd for the start.  In front of his home-town fans, under difficult track conditions with the onset of rain, Frankenhout fought to get to the front, managing to make it to third place during his stint.  After the driver change, Wirth was faced with the challenge of duelling their sister car for the final step of the podium.  Unable to push as hard as he'd have liked, due to persistent issues with the car, Wirth was forced to let it go and accept a fourth place finish.

In spite of two good results, Wirth was not quite satisfied. "In both races our Mercedes was not handling optimally, and that kept us from a better result. We continued to feel the effects of Friday's accident, and the car was especially hard to handle in the fast corners - and there are a lot of them in Assen. I just didn't have the confidence in the rear end of the car - it was very restless.  We've checked the car several times, but could find nothing.  It's too bad, because we could have made the podium this weekend for sure.  On a positive note though, we had a great strategy today and our team managed the pit stop perfectly - this for sure has been the reason we gained some good points.  Overall, we have to be happy with sixth and fourth place finishes this weekend."

Going into the final round of ADAC GT Masters series competition at his home-track of Hockenheim (September 29 - October 2), Wirth is ranked eighth in the overall drivers' standings and is currently in second place in the battle for the title of "Best Mercedes Driver.  "I'm looking forward to my home race, I have a lot friends and sponsors that will be there to support me and cheer me on.  I want to close out the season by securing the title of "Best Mercedes Driver" ... and if we make up some places in the overall standings as well, I'd have nothing against that!"

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