Sebastian Asch and Luca Ludwig win Race 1 at the SachsenringConnor De Phillippi and Christopher Mies defend championship leadTrophy victory for Rolf Ineichen
Sebastian Asch (29, DEU) and Luca Ludwig (27, DEU, both AMG team Zakspeed) opened the second race weekend of the 2016 ADAC GT Masters with their second win of the season. In the first of two races at Sachsenring, the defending champions brought their Mercedes-AMG home ahead of the two Audi R8s driven by Connor De Phillippi (23, USA) and Christopher Mies (26, DEU, both Montaplast by Land-Motorsport) and by the pairing of Daniel Dobitsch (31, A) and Edward Sandström (37, S, both kfzteile24 - APR Motorsport). "It doesn't get much better than this," said Asch. "I've often tried my luck here at Sachsenring, and today it finally came together for us with this race win." Key facts: Sachsenring, Hohenstein-Ernstthal, Round 3/14 Circuit length:3,671 metresWeather:18°C, partly cloudyPole Position:Luca Stolz (GRT Grasser-Racing-Team, Lamborghini Huracán), 1.19.570 minsWinner:Sebastian Asch and Luca Ludwig (AMG team Zakspeed, Mercedes-AMG)Fastest lap:Luca Stolz (GRT Grasser-Racing-Team, Lamborghini Huracán), 1.20.783 minsPole-setter Luca Stolz defends lead in first half of the race From the off, Luca Stolz (20, DEU, GRT Grasser Racing Team) in the Lamborghini Huracán successfully converted his pole position into the race lead. Sebastian Asch, starting from second place, lost three positions and dropped back to fifth. Christer Jöns (28, DEU, Bentley Team ABT) was unable to enjoy his temporary second place for even a full lap, as a technical problem with his Bentley Continental demoted him to the rear of the field. Shortly before the 25-minute mark and the commencement of the ten-minute pit stop window, Asch regained two positions on the track. But a spin by the Porsche of Robert Renauer (31, DEU) and Martin Ragginger (28, A, both Precote Herberth Motorsport) towards the halfway mark brought out the safety car. As some of the teams had already completed their mandatory stops, the field was thrown into disarray. When all the driver changes were complete and a clearer picture emerged, Luca Ludwig, team-mate of Sebastian Asch, was in the lead, while Gerhard Tweraser (27, A), team-mate of Luca Stolz at GRT, was way back in tenth. Ludwig defended his leadership with aplomb through to the finish, thereby securing the first ever ADAC GT Masters win for a Mercedes at the Sachsenring. The remaining podium positions went to two Audi R8s driven by Connor De Phillippi and Christopher Mies and by Daniel Dobitsch and Edward Sandström who were likewise beneficiaries of the pit stop reshuffle. De Phillippi and Mies were winners in the Junior class and also defended their lead in the drivers' standings. For Dobitsch and Sandström, these were their first points of the season. Behind the best-placed Corvette of Jules Gounon (21, F) and Daniel Keilwitz (26, DEU, both Callaway Competition) in fourth came Fabian Hamprecht (20, DEU) and Guy Smith (41, GB) who brought their Bentley Continental home in P5 despite a five-second pit-stop penalty and were pleased to secure their first points of this season. Stolz and Tweraser, who had been in P1 at the mid-way point in another Audi R8, managed to salvage P7 at the finish line just behind Markus Winkelhock (35, DEU) and Markus Pommer (25, DEU, both Phoenix Racing) in sixth. David Jahn (25, DEU) and Klaus Bachler (24, A, both KÜS TEAM75 Bernhard) in the best-placed Porsche 911, local driver Philip Geipel (29, DEU) and Rahel Frey (30, CH, both YACO Racing) in the Audi R8 and the Lamborghini pairing of Florian Spengler (28, DEU) and Emanuele Zonzini (22, RSM, both Bonaldi Motorsport) booked the remaining points-scoring positions eight to ten. Comments from the winners Sebastian Asch (AMG - Team Zakspeed, Mercedes-AMG): "Finally things have gone right for me at the Sachsenring. After scoring some decent results here, today I've got the victory. We may not have started from P1 on the grid, but at the finish we were out ahead, and that's what really matters. The start didn't go all that well. I shut the door on the inside but then got overtaken on the outside. After that, I was in a group of cars jostling for position and had to pull back. The safety car deployment during the pit stop window obviously played into our hands." Luca Ludwig (AMG - Team Zakspeed, Mercedes-AMG): "Those last few laps put in by Sebastian (Asch) were very strong - they enabled us to make up a lot of time on our opponents. After the safety car period, we were in the lead. I gave it everything I'd got to hang on to the position, and it all worked out fine. The season is going pretty well for us so far. Two race wins are all well and good, but we want to push for the top of the table. The second race presents a new opportunity." Fans wishing to experience the ADAC GT Masters live at the racetrack can purchase tickets for all fixtures for the price of 20 euros, which includes access to the paddock, from www.adac.de/motorsport.