ADAC GT: Nurburgring rd7 Report
With just two races to go in the 2012 ADAC GT Masters season, the title race is heating up. As the championship battle moves into its final phase, two familiar faces managed to move themselves back to the top of the standings. The Callaway Competition Corvette duo of Diego Alessi and Daniel Keilwitz captured a solid points scoring run with a second and first place result, while their main championship rivals struggled to capture points.
The weekend began well for the Italian/German duo, when Diego Alessi claimed pole position for Race 1 ahead of defending champion Dino Lunardi. "Having booked ourselves two slots on the first row, we have made our intention clear that we are going all out on the attack in the title race," said Alessi after taking his third pole position of the 2012 season. At the start of race 1, Alessi and BMW ALPINA driver Lunardi misbraked on the approach to the first turn while battling for the lead.
This dropped Alessi down the field. Despite the setback at the start, Alessi and Keilwitz managed to blitz through the field to come home in 2nd place. "The pace was blistering at the start, I was a little quicker on the accelerator than the Corvette, but Alessi was able to catch up with me," said Alpina driver Dino Lunardi recounting what happened on the first turn. "We were both late on the brakes and then had to take a wide sweep."
However, Alessi had a different view on the start. "Dino Lunardi was very aggressive at the start and drove into me. That was unnecessary and lost us some places." explains Diego Alessi. "I'm not at all satisfied with second position; without the incident at the first corner, we stood a good chance of winning. As it was, I had to fight my way back up the field. We've not only missed out on a possible win because of this, but also possibly crucial points in the title race."
"My race was fairly uneventful. says Daniel Keilwitz. "After a very quick pit stop, I was up into second place, but I had no chance against the Alpina. Diego had pushed very hard to catch up during his stint, so the tyres were extremely degraded."
For Race two, Daniel Keilwitz qualified his Corvette to within 0.186 seconds, but was unable to crack the BMW ALPINA time. Starting from second, The Callaway driver accelerated to the first corner ahead of pole-sitter Maxime Martin and took the lead. The BMW ALPINA with Martin at the wheel was hot on the heels of the Corvette for the whole of the first stint but was unable to close in for an attack. After the compulsory pit stop, the order at the front of the field remained unchanged. Alessi in the Corvette continued to control the race ahead of the BMW ALPINA which was now being driven by Dino Lunardi. Alessi finally crossed the line 2.1 seconds ahead of Lunardi. A further 0.9 seconds behind the pistachio green BMW ALPINA, was the black Mercedes-Benz of Asch and Götz. The victory for Alessi and Keilwitz took them back to the top of the standings.
Daniel Keilwitz explained: "We came out in front during the mêlée at the start of today's race." I got off the line really well, which enabled me to control the race. I tried to build up a small lead, so we would have a comfortable amount of time to pit. Diego then did a magnificent job of securing our win at the finish line. It's going to be very tough for us, though, at the finale in Hockenheim." Alessi was equally as delighted after Sundays result: "Thanks to the fantastic groundwork done by Daniel and to the fact that we have an absolutely perfect car, I had an easy job today," said the delighted Alessi. "After my very good start, I still wasn't able to shake off the challenge from the BMW ALPINA, but as the race went on, I managed to pull out a small safety margin," said Keilwitz. "We are now at the top, but the finale at Hockenheim in two weeks' time is certainly going to be hard for us."
Going into the two last races, Alessi and Keilwitz are seven points clear of Christian Engelhart who in turn is under threat from Asch and Götz lurking two points behind. Lunardi and Martin may be 18 points adrift of the leaders, but with 50 more up for grabs, their title hopes are still very much alive.
Warning: Mild profanity at 2:06