ADAC: Alessi/Keilwitz win race 1 at the Sachsenring
Corvette Motorsport drivers Diego Alessi and Daniel Keilwitz continue their successful run at the Sachsenring. The current championship leaders in their Corvette Z06.R yesterday secured pole position for both ADAC GT Masters races in Saxony, and in Race 1 today, they notched up their second victory of the season. Jesse Krohn and Nico Verdonck took second place in that icon of American sports cars, the Ford GT. Maximilian Götz and Sebastian Asch in the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG claimed the remaining podium spot. "We didn't really expect to win on this track," said a surprised and delighted Keilwitz.
Diego Alessi laid the foundation for his second win of the season with a great start from pole position. The Italian went straight into the lead from pole but immediately came under pressure from reigning ADAC GT Masters champion Dino Lunardi in the BMW ALPINA B6. Lunardi closed on Alessi to within attacking distance just before the changeover of drivers but was unable to manoeuvre into a position to pass the leading Corvette. The order of the first two cars remained the same at the start of the second stint, but now it was Maxime Martin's turn at the wheel of the BMW ALPINA to chase the leading Corvette up hill and down dale at the Sachsenring. The scrap for first place came to an early end, however, when Martin had to pit with a puncture three laps from the end.
Even so, front-runner Keilwitz wasn't allowed to sit back and relax for the last few minutes of the race. Having now moved up to second place, Nico Verdonck sensed an opportunity. Ultimately, however, the Ford GT driver had to be content with crossing the line 1.9 seconds behind the leader. The best Mercedes pair were Maximilian Götz and Sebastian Asch who made it onto the podium for the third time in five races in their black gullwing car.
"Maxime Martin put me under an enormous amount of pressure in the second half of the race, but I soon realised that he just wasn't quick enough to overtake me," said Keilwitz. "He suddenly disappeared from my rear-view mirror, and from then on I managed to keep a good distance ahead and control the race to the finish." The race was several laps too short for Nico Verdonck: "I was pretty close to the Corvette during the final laps, but I ran out of time to mount a serious attack on Keilwitz."
Fourth-placed Kristian Poulsen and Christoffer Nygaard in the Aston Martin V12 Vantage only just missed out on a podium but must have been very pleased indeed with the best result so far for the British coupé in the ADAC GT Masters. Poulsen also had extra cause for celebration: by finishing fourth, the Dane recorded his second win of the season in the amateur rankings ahead of Corvette driver Toni Seiler and Swen Dolenc in the Porsche 911.
P6 finish best result of season so far for Frentzen
Heinz-Harald Frentzen is inching his way closer to the top of the table. In the Corvette he shares with Andreas Wirth, the ex-Formula 1 and DTM driver achieved his best result of the season. Frentzen/Wirth came in sixth behind the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG driven by the Austrian partnership of Hari Proczyk and Dominik Baumann. Positions seven and eight went to the two other gullwing cars of the HEICO-Team driven by Andreas Simonsen / Maxmilian Buhk and Kenneth Heyer / Christiaan Frankenhout.
Diego Alessi: "I got off to a good start, and after that, the distance to Dino Lunardi was so great that he didn't really pose a threat. The car was perfect, so I had it relatively easy during my stint. I concentrated on conserving the tyres, because I knew that this would be crucial in the second half of the race. Daniel was then just so incredibly strong and kept the Alpina at bay. Another perfect day for us."
Daniel Keilwitz: "In the second half of the race, I had the Alpina close behind, but not so close as to be dangerous. When he disappeared from my rear mirror, the Ford popped up. But I managed to maintain a sizeable gap, and I only had to drive as fast as was necessary. We certainly hadn't expected to win here."