ADAC GT Masters, race 11, Sachsenring/Germany
The two Porsche works drivers Timo Bernhard and Kévin Estre crossed the finish line at the Sachsenring on Saturday in first place. After the international driver pair planted the ca. 500 hp Porsche 911 GT3 R fielded by the KÜS Team75 Bernhard customer team on pole position in qualifying, they went on to score a lights-to-flag victory. However, the stewards of the meeting decided to defer this win after a technical deviation to the regulations was found at a scrutineering check after the qualifying. The KÜS Team75 Bernhard has appealed this decision. The number 18 sister car fought its way through the field by 16 places to finish on 17th. In the Trophy class, IronForce by Ring Police scored victory for the third time in the amateur category.
In the morning qualifying, Bernhard from Germany laid the groundwork for P1. In a gripping session, the two-time sports car world champion turned the fastest time in the 911 GT3 R and secured the team’s first pole position in the “super sports car league”. In the race, Bernhard got away well off the line and pulled clear of the field. After 16 laps, he handed the car off to Estre with a comfortable advantage. The Frenchman crossed the finish line after 41 laps with a 4.8-second lead over his rival in second place. “I’m proud of the whole crew. The team worked incredibly hard. We saw a significant improvement in performance at the previous race. We’ve often experienced bad luck in the decisive moments, but today everything came together perfectly. The Sachsenring is known to be tough on tyres, so tyre management was particularly important. As far as the appeal is concerned, I don’t want to say too much. Let’s see what the decision is,” said Bernhard.
As the second-best customer sport racer, the sister car of the team from Rhineland-Palatinate took the flag in 17th place. The qualifying result of start driver Adrien de Leener (Belgium) was annulled due to a violation of the technical regulations and thus the car was relegated to the 33rd grid spot. Putting in a determined drive, de Leener worked his way through the field and after 19 laps handed the 911 GT3 R over to his teammate Klaus Bachler (Austria), who continued the charge. The number 18 Porsche 911 GT3 R gained a total of 16 places. “Our goal was to get through the race as cleanly as possible so that we can go all out again at Sunday’s qualifying. This worked. There are perhaps only two places on the racetrack where you can overtake, which made it even more difficult to move up the field,” said de Leener.
The IronForce by Ring Police squad continues its winning streak in the trophy category: Scoring 18th overall, the newcomer team earned its third victory in the class for amateur drivers. Jan-Erik Slooten and Lucas Luhr from Germany made up nine places during the race on the Sachsenring, after Slooten was unable to achieve a quick time in qualifying and had to start from 27th on the grid. “We again saw that the 911 GT3 R is competitive. However, when you start from the back third of such a large field, it’s difficult to get ahead. There were a few close calls on the racetrack and we had to avoid several accidents. I’m pleased for the team that we’re amongst the leaders of the trophy category,” declared Luhr.
Robert Renauer from Germany retired with the 911 GT3 R after an accident in lap seven. The Precote Herberth Motorsport driver had put in a spirited charge through the field in the No. 99 customer sport racer from Weissach. However, a collision with another vehicle while running in position 21 threw the car out of contention. On Sunday, the Porsche Young Professional Mathieu Jaminet will contest the qualifying session and be the start driver. “After scoring third and sixth in the test on Friday, this was definitely not our day. In qualifying I couldn’t get a good lap in. We managed to make up some ground in the race but then a collision put a stop to that,” explained Renauer.