First points of the season for Simona de Silvestro in ADAC GT Masters opener
The first weekend on the ADAC GT Masters brought the first points for Swiss driver Simona de Silvestro - in very tricky conditions and with a brave strategy, Simona and teammate Klaus Bachler scored a sixth place in the second race in Oschersleben.
ADAC GT Masters - one of Germany's top GT3 series - started its 15th season last weekend and for the 13th time the new season was kicked off at Oschersleben. On the grid we could find drivers from 12 different countries - the youngest one being 17 year old Hugo Sasse and the oldest Pierre Kaffer, 44. Among the extremely competitive crews, Porsche factory driver Simona de Silvestro will be the only female racer this season. De Silvestro started her second season with Klaus Bachler as a teammate, but both had switched to Precote Herberth Motorsport for 2021.
In the first qualifying on Saturday, it was Raffaele Marciello (MANN-FILTER Team LANDGRAF - HTP/WWR) to score the first pole position of the 2021 season, ahead of Jahn (Team Joos Sportwagentechnik) and Feller (Montaplast by Land Motorsport). Klaus Bachler qualified the #7 Porsche 911 GT3 R in 15th position, as he struggled to complete a clean lap.
Raffaele Marciello was able to defend his pole at the start of Race 1 and pulled away with a small gap. But soon enough, rain drops started to fall during the first laps - with the track not being wet enough to change tyre strategy. Marciello remained in the lead and handed over to teammate Maximilian Buhk. His leading gap would be neutralized by a Safety Car when Elia Erhert beached his car into the gravel trap and had to abandon.
At the restart, Buhk remained in front and completed the race to take victory ahead of Bortolotti/Costa Balboa and Mies/Feller.
It wasn't an easy race for Simona de Silvestro and Klaus Bachler; after the challenging qualifying, the Herberth Motorsport duo fought their way from P15 to P9 - but as Simona took over for the second half of the race, she was spun by another car and was classified in P21 at the end of the race. "Always nice to start the season by getting taken out...", she commented afterwards.
Qualifying 2 saw some different drivers on top of the timing sheets: Mathieu Jaminet (SSR Performance) scored the second pole of the weekend, ahead of Engel (Mercedes-AMG Team Toksport WRT) and Vanthoor (TEAM WRT). Simona ended her qualifying run in P22. It was then a very wet Race 2: all teams lined up on wet-weather tyres and Jaminet secured his first position until the Safety Car came out, triggered by Perera, Kirchhöfer and Winkelhock - who had slipped off the track and required the marshall's intervention to be recovered. At the restart, Engel passed Jaminet for the lead and pulled away. When the mandatory driver change approached, Jaminet/Ammermüller were the only pairing among the front runners to opt for slicks. They dropped back to 5th, but were able to recover as soon as the track dried. Ammermüller passed Stolz on lap 25 for the lead and won the race with a gap of 22,640 seconds ahead of Yelloly/Krohn (Schubert Motorsport) and Hackländer/Wishofer (MRS GT-Racing). Klaus Bachler, who had taken over the #7 Porsche from the hands of Simona de Silvestro, also changed to slicks and passed opponent after opponent until he crossed the chequered flag in 6th. "Crazy conditions out there today, we took home P6. Great driving from Klausi in the drying conditions" - said Simona. "We learned a lot over this first weekend together. It will make us strong for the upcoming races", concluded a happy De Silvestro after the second race. With this good result to build on, Simona and Klaus will head to the next ADAC GT Masters race at the Red Bull Ring, Austria, from 11th to 13th June. Before that, though, the Swiss lady will have to take on another challenge: the 2021 Indianapolis 500.