Bitter weekend for the GT Masters Girls at Lausitzring
Germany's popular GT Masters championship kicked off at Lausitzring with three girls on the field - and it was a bitter first weekend with plenty of misfortune.
This weekend marked the start of the 14th season of the ADAC GT Masters and it was the first time that their racing season started at the Lausitzring. But it wasn't the first time that the popular German GT championship raced at the venue, as the series made its 12th start on the track in Brandenburg.
66 drivers, seven ADAC GT Masters champions, three women, 19 teams with 7 different brands and no less than 15 nations represented on the grid are the numbers of the new ADAC season. Some of the best GT drivers in the world and with wide age range: from the oldest, DTM-and Endurance legend Frank Stippler at 45, to the youngest - Charles Weerts with 19 years of age. To add on top of that, 18 drivers will compete in the Pirelli Junior Championship.
Among such a diverse yet qualitative starting grid, Carrie Schreiner made her return tor the championship for her second year with Rutronik Racing, competing alongside 2019 teammate Dennis Marschall in the #8 Audi R8 LMS that gave the 21-year old her first podium last year.
Making a surprise appearance in the series, is Swiss GT ace Rahel Frey, who drove the #4 Audi R8 LMS with Nikolaj Rogivue for Aust Motorsport. Rahel, an AUDI works driver, already started three seasons in the GT Masters, as she competed from 2013 to 2015 with a best result of a third place at the Nurburgring in an Audi R8 LMS Ultra.
Making her debut in the ADAC-sanctioned championship was former F1 development driver Simona De Silvestro. The Swiss lady - one of the most experienced female racing driver in the world and with notable results spanning from IndyCar to Formula E and Australian Supercars, was named Porsche works driver at the start of 2020, as she also joined the manufacturer's Formula E team in a reserve driver role. De Silvestro enters the GT Masters championship in a full-time deal with Küs Team75 Bernhard, sharing the #17 Porsche 911 GT3 R car with Klaus Bachler.
Alfred Renauer, who started from 4th on the grid, had the best start and took over the lead from pole sitter Luca Stolz. Renauer defended his lead, but on lap 8, the driver of the #99 Porsche had a contact with Stolz. Renauer spun and dropped back.
His brother, Robert Renauer, was torpedoed by Markus Pommer in turn one, which tiggered a Safety Car which bunched up the field again.
Klaus Bachler was the protagonist of the restart as he moved into the lead: at the driver change, Simona de Silvestro took over the wheel of the #17 machine and rejoined.
During the pit stops, Maro Engel - Stolz's teammate - passed de Silvestro and assumed the lead. Engel pulled away, but towards the end he suffered engine troubles and was caught up by the following Porsche with Christian Engelhart behind the wheel. Nonetheless, Engel held on to take victory with 0.7 second margin at the chequered flag.
Behind them, de Silvestro was in third place when she also hit trouble: it was a bitter end of the race for the Swiss driver. Christopher Mies, eager to pass De Silvestro, pulled a desperate attempt on the final slow turn and collided with her Küs Porsche. The third place was gone, now inherited by Max Hofer and Christopher Haase.
Carrie Schreiner and her teammate Dennis Marschall were out of the race after a contact on the first lap during the starting phase, while Rahel Frey had an unseen race and finished in P24.
Pole driver Dries Vanthoor lost his lead in the opening stages to Sven Müller, but was quickly back ahead already in the first corner. He pulled away and delivered his Audi safely in the hands of his teammate Charles Weerts with a 14 seconds gap.
But a Safety Car added some drama, as the car driven by Constantine Schöll and Jordan Pepper was spun around - spicing the race up a little bit. Weerts defended his lead and took the victory of the day.
Second were Lucas Stolz and Maro Engel, while third position went to Robert Renauer and Sven Müller with their repaired Porsche from Saturday's clash.
Again, it wasn't the day for the female drivers' teams. The best placed among them was Simona de Silvestro, with together with Klaus Bachler finished P16.
Rahel Frey finished 26th position after a very tough weekend.
Carrie Schreiner and Dennis Marschall completed 29 laps before their race ended due to a gearbox failure, following a small collision at the start.
Carrie Schreiner on Instagram:
"I love motorsport but these weekends are the hardest... When the performance was good all weekend but the results didn’t show it at all. First traffic in qualifying in my 3 quickest laps then a terrible 2nd race. Little crash at the beginning which caused some gear box problems so that we had to stop the car. Potential is huge we just have to finish it! Sorry for our mechanics and our engineer. They worked their ass off until 3am in the night. 2 DNF again."