The Porsche duo of David Jahn (25, DEU) and Kévin Estre (27, F, both KÜS TEAM75 Bernhard) gave yet another bravura performance in the ADAC GT Masters, claiming their fourth win of the season in Race 1 of the Hockenheim grand finale. “Amazing!” said local favourite Jahn, who was born in nearby Speyer. “I’m especially pleased for all the people who have come here to support me today.” Second place for the Audi R8 pairing of Connor De Phillippi (23, USA) and Christopher Mies (27, DEU, both Montaplast by Land-Motorsport) was enough to consolidate their championship lead and boost their chances of clinching the title in Race 2 on Sunday. The result also sufficed for De Phillippi to become Junior champion – a new classification in the 2016 season – ahead of time.
Key facts: Hockenheimring, Hockenheim, Round 13 of 14
Connor De Phillippi (Montaplast by Land-Motorsport, Audi R8), 1:52.369 mins
David Jahn and Kévin Estre (KÜS TEAM75 Bernhard, Porsche 911)
Martin Ragginger (Precote Herberth Motorsport, Porsche 911), 1:51.724 mins
Porsche storm up the field – title contenders initially neck-and-neck
The heavens opened just as Race 1 of the 2016 ADAC GT Masters season finale was about to get underway, turning the penultimate contest of the season into a battle in the rain. Shortly after the start, pole-setter Connor De Phillippi in the Audi R8 lost the lead to Porsche man David Jahn. A few metres down the track, the championship leader saw another Porsche overtake him, this time driven by Marvin Dienst (19, DEU, bigFM Racing Team Schütz Motorsport). Championship rival Jules Gounon (21, F, Callaway Competition), who had started from twelfth place, gained a lot of ground during the initial stages and was in fourth place behind De Phillippi before the round of mandatory pit stops.
As the leading quartet of drivers returned to the track after the changeover, De Phillippi’s team-mate Christopher Mies (27, DEU) got past Christopher Zanella (26, CH), who had taken over the Porsche from Dienst, and moved up to P2. At the front, Kévin Estre was unstoppable in the second stint of the race, securing his team’s fourth Saturday victory in a row on a drying track. Jahn made good his third place overall and kept alive his mathematical chances of lifting the title in the drivers’ standings, albeit with a 23-point deficit to overcome.
De Phillippi and Mies still hold all the aces as regards the championship. The Audi duo drove to second place as they secured their seventh podium finish of the season and are now twelve points ahead of Gounon and Keilwitz (27, DEU), who crossed the finish line in sixth position, leaving them second in the championship standings. This means that the championship leaders only need to place third in the second race to win the drivers’ title regardless of anyone else’s result. De Philippi’s second place also gave him victory in the Junior standings for drivers under 25. With a 35-point lead, the American can no longer be caught and therefore wins the first championship trophy of the 2016 ADAC GT Masters season.
Dienst and Zanella were well pleased to take third place and make their first podium appearance of the season. Christopher Haase (29, DEU) and Stéphane Ortelli (46, MC), team-mates of De Phillippi and Mies, played a crucial role in boosting the title chances for Montaplast by Land Motorsport by finishing fourth after starting from third place on the grid. The Audi outfit continue to lead from Corvette specialists Callaway Competition. Fabian Hamprecht (21, DEU) and Christer Jöns (29, DEU, both Bentley Team ABT) made a strong charge up the field in the best-placed Bentley Continental, moving up from P18 on the grid to finish fifth.
Defending champions Sebastian Asch (30, DEU) and Luca Ludwig (27, DEU, both AMG-Team Zakspeed) dropped out of contention, as they finished seventh. Their team-mates, Nicolai Sylvest (19, DK) and Nikolaj Rogivue (20, CH, both AMG-Team Zakspeed) booked eighth place. Rolf Ineichen (38, CH) and Christian Engelhart (29, DEU, both GRT Grasser Racing Team) came home in ninth position in the best-placed Lamborghini Huracán, which means that the fight between Ineichen and fellow Swiss driver Remo Lips (33, CH, RWT Racing) for the title in the Trophy class is still on. Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky (23, S) and Pierre Kaffer (39, DEU) were delighted to secure their first point in the ADAC GT Masters by placing tenth in the Audi R8 prepared by Aust Motorsport.
Comments from the winners
David Jahn (KÜS TEAM75 Bernhard, Porsche 911):
“That was our fourth consecutive victory in a Saturday race – I think we can safely claim the title of Saturday champions. A really great result in such a difficult wet race. I wasn’t quite sure how good I would be in the rain, but it all worked out perfectly. I took the lead as early as the third corner, which is precisely what I had hoped. From that point on, I controlled the race from the front. Regarding the championship, we’ll continue to give the maximum, and we just have to wait and see what the others do.”
Kévin Estre (KÜS TEAM75 Bernhard, Porsche 911):
“All I had to do was defend the lead that I inherited from David through to the finish. It may have looked elementary enough to a bystander, but it certainly wasn’t. In a wet race, there are so many things that can happen. At the entry to the Mercedes Arena, there was some oil or maybe coolant on the track. Luckily, David told me about that. It was really slippery there. Our car worked very well. I think we could have gone faster at any time if we had sensed the Audi closing the gap behind us.”
Source. ADAC GT Masters/Photo. ADAC Motorsport