ADAC GT: Red Bull Ring Report
Under clear blue skies and against the magnificent backdrop of the Alps, the 2012 ADAC GT mid-season began at the Red Bull Ring in Austria. Once known as the "A1-Ring", the track hosted the Austrian F1 Grand Prix from 1970 to 1987 and again from 1997 to 2003. The track later re-opened in 2011 under the ownership of Austrian energy drink company Red Bull.
For race 1, Ex-Formula 1 and DTM driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Andreas Wirth, achieved their second best result of 2012. Some way behind the leading Porsche quartet, Frentzen overtook the Corvette driven by Diego Alessi and Daniel Keilwitz on the final lap to take the chequered flag in fifth position. Sixth place was still good enough to take Alessi/Keilwitz back to the top of the standings, as previous championship leaders Dino Lunardi and Maxime Martin in their BMW ALPINA B6 GT3 finished 13th outside the points. "I had an easy race without any scraps." says Daniel Keilwitz. "I overtook Frentzen directly after the pit stop but he then went by me on the last lap. The final result is OK, though, we're championship leaders once again and we intend securing even more points in Race 2."
For Race 2, Callaway Competition had an excellent chance to win. Starting from third place on the grid, Keilwitz took charge going into the very first turn and had built up a ten-second lead on the rest of the pack ahead of the driver changeover. That lead was reduced to three seconds when Diego Alessi took over from Keilwitz for the second half of the race. However, the second half of the race did not go in the duo's favor. In the final moments of the race, Alessi dropped four laps down due to a technical issue. "Suddenly I lost propulsion, we do not yet know exactly what it was," said a disappointed Diego Alessi. Despite the heartbreak result for the championship leaders, Frentzen / Wirth narrowly missed out by 2.4 seconds on their first podium. However, the duo drove to their best result of the season.
"The failure of Diego Alessi and Daniel Keilwitz in the second race was very sad. The fact that we retain the lead in the drivers standings and were able to move back up in the team standings, adds only a small bit of comfort to the weekend," concluded Callaway Competition team leader Ernst Wöhr. "A photographer during Andrea's pitstop stood in the way and he was then unfortunately unable to score a podium by 2 seconds. In addition there was now some very strange decisions by the stewards. Diego Alessi after the problem with the car, left the Corvette at the least safest position, on the start-finish straight and parked directly in front of the marshal stand. For this, he was on the racing line and fined €1,000, with what I feel as disproportionate." In the end, Porsche drivers Farnbacher/Kentenich's took their first victory of the season. "Unfortunately there was a photographer in the way during my pitstop, that cost me when I exited the pits, three, four seconds and a potential podium," said Andreas Wirth after the race. "Due to this incident, I was then stuck behind a Ford GT, which I unfortunately could not overtake."
Callaway Competition leave Austria with mixed feelings. Toni Seiler ended a long lean spell, winning the amateur classification (for Callaway Competition) in Race 2 at the Red Bull Ring. This was the first time the two-time former champion from Switzerland, now driving a Corvette Z06.R GT3, has taken the top podium spot since the grand finale of the 2010 season at the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben. "We didn't exactly have the easiest of weekends, with problems in practice and qualifying, and unfortunately, we were unable to complete the first race," said Toni Seiler after his first win of the season. "The whole Callaway team and especially our Czech pit crew did a fantastic job this weekend. This success is due primarily to all their hard work."
Alessi and Keilwitz currently lead the drivers Championship by 2 points, with Callaway Competition leading the Team Championship standings by 13 points.