BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz drivers on level pegging at top of championship tableMaiden victory for Corvette driver Lips in Gentlemen class
Pole position, victory and fastest race lap: Diego Alessi (41) and Daniel Keilwitz (24) excelled themselves in Saturday's ADAC GT Masters race at the Red Bull Ring in Austria. In an exciting and closely fought race from start to finish, the Callaway Competition duo in their Corvette Z06 Corvette prevailed over Dominik Schwager (26) and Frank Kechele (24) in the Lambda Performance Ford GT by a narrow margin of 0.8 seconds. Mario Farnbacher (21) and his Swiss partner Philip Frommenwiler (23) in a Farnbacher Racing Porsche 911 were also in with a chance of the win until the halfway point but ultimately had to settle for third. Daniel Keilwitz was visibly relieved to have got back into winning ways after a lean spell since his opening day win at Oschersleben: "At last! This second win has been a long time coming."
Daniel Keilwitz (Callaway Competition, Corvette Z06.R), 01:31.289 mins
Corvette challenged by Porsche, BMW and Mercedes-Benz in opening phase Alessi and Keilwitz were made to battle all the way to their second win of the season. Diego Alessi successfully converted pole position into a lead but had Mario Farnbacher in the Porsche breathing down his neck all the way to the midway point of the race. In fact, neither of the two Corvette drivers was given any respite from start to finish. Until the end of the first stint, the Corvette and the pursuing Porsche, BMW and Mercedes-Benz were separated by only six seconds. The driver changeover resulted in a temporary switch of leader, with Mario Farnbacher and his Swiss co-driver effecting a 1.2-second faster pit stop than Alessi and Keilwitz. But just one lap later, Keilwitz retook the lead from Frommenwiler and then benefited from the subsequent scrap as the Porsche man vainly attempted to fend off an attack from Dominik Schwager in the Ford GT. Once Schwager had got past the Porsche, he set about chasing down the race leader, but Keilwitz responded with the two fastest laps of the day and kept the pursuing Ford at bay until the finish line. "I managed to nurse my tyres at one stage, which gave me a bit of a cushion when I noticed that the Ford was getting too close for comfort," said Keilwitz after the race. "Without these tactics, it would have been tough on the final laps, but anyway, that's how I managed to stay in control." Diego Alessi: "On the first few laps, it was a bit more hairy than I would have liked, because we started off with a fairly conservative tyre strategy and it took several laps until the tyres were working just right. During the pit stop, we were also very conservative, which briefly cost us the lead, but Daniel drove a strong race in the second stint." Behind Farnbacher and Frommenwiler in third place, there was plenty of action right through to the final minutes of the race. Christian Hohenadel (36) in another Callaway Competition Corvette collided with Dutchman Jeroen den Boer (25, DB Motorsport) on the last lap in a tussle for fourth place. The beneficiaries were Martin Ragginger (25) and Robert Renauer (28) in their Tonino by Herberth Motorsport Porsche, who moved up from sixth to fourth. Hohenadel recovered sufficiently to take the chequered flag in fifth place but was subsequently hit with a 30-second penalty for the collision, which demoted him to 13th. So fifth place was instead awarded to the Polarweiss Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG of Maximilian Buhk (20) and Maximilian Gtz (27). In sixth and seventh were two Audi R8s entered by Prosperia C Abt Racing and driven by Ren Rast (26) / Christopher Mies (24) and Christer Jns (26) / Markus Winkelhock (32). Despite the contact with Hohenadel, den Boer and fellow Dutchman Simon Knap (24) were still able to finish eighth. The big losers today were championship leaders Dominik Baumann (20) and Claudia Hrtgen (41) in the Pixum Team Schubert BMW Z4. Hrtgen was spun round by a Lamborghini at the start of the race, which dropped her back to the end of the field. The BMW duo finished outside the points in 19th place, a result which produces an unusual-looking top of table after nine races: Hrtgen/Baumann (BMW), Rast/Mies (Audi) and Gtz/Buhk(Mercedes-Benz ) all have an identical number of points. Remo Lips scores maiden victory in Gentlemen class It was a double celebration for Corvette at the Red Bull Ring, with a win also in the Gentlemen category. Remo Lips (31) from Switzerland supported by ADAC Sport Foundation protg Lennart Marioneck (24) claimed his first winner's trophy in the amateurs class after an exciting last few laps as Marioneck held off the Porsches of Ren Bourdeaux (38, Tonino by Herberth Motorsport) and Christina Nielsen (21, Farnbacher Racing) in second and third place by a mere 1.2 seconds.Corvette versus Ford: Sunday to be a rematch? The Ford/Corvette battle goes into overtime on Sunday, but with one difference: the second race of the ADAC GT Masters weekend at the Red Bull Ring has Schwager in pole position with Keilwitz starting alongside. The second row is shared by Jeroen den Boer (BMW) and Maximilian Buhk (Mercedes-Benz).
Results from Race 1
1.Diego Alessi / Daniel Keilwitz (Callaway Competition, Corvette Z06.R), 38 laps
2.Frank Kechele / Dominik Schwager (Lambda Performance, Ford GT), +0.855 sec
3.Mario Farnbacher / Philip Frommenwiler (Farnbacher Racing, Porsche 911 GT3 R), +10.987 sec
4.Robert Renauer / Martin Ragginger (Tonino by Herberth Motorsport, Porsche 911 GT3 R), +12.844 sec
5.Maximilian Gotz / Maximilian Buhk (Polarweiss Racing, Mercedes, Benz SLS AMG GT3), +13.755 sec
6.Rene Rast / Christopher Mies (Prosperia C Abt Racing, Audi R8 LMS ultra), +17.755 sec
7.Christer Jons / Markus Winkelhock (Prosperia C Abt Racing, Audi R8 LMS ultra), +23.524 sec
8.Simon Knap / Jeroen den Boer (DB Motorsport, BMW Z4 GT3), +24.870 sec