The four ladies of GT4 Germany kick off their season at Nurburgring
The ADAC GT4 Germany season started with great performances from the teams lining-up ladies drivers, as Patricija Stalidzane, Alesia & Jacqueline Kreutzpointner and Claudia Hürtgen scored points in the opening race. But lady luck wasn't on their side in a rain-affected and red-flagged Race 2.
"All eyes on tomorrow! first race day after nearly a year is coming up. LETS GOOO!"
With these words, Patricija Stalidzane entered the first weekend of the ADAC GT4 Germany 2020 season at the Nürburgring, in a busy schedule alongside other ADAC series.
It will be the championship's second season and the grid now features 23 cars by 17 teams, six of them new. With 7 manufacturers - Audi, BMW, Ginetta, KTM, McLaren, Mercedes-AMG and Porsche - ADAC GT4 Germany shows a healthy status and plenty of diversity on the grid.
Many drivers from the 2019 season retained their seats for 2020, like vice-champion Gabriele Piana, who changed team and will now represent Hofor Racing by Bonk Motorsport, sharing his BMW with Michael Schrey.
The 2020 season will also bring four ladies on the starting grid. Claudia Hürtgen stays with Hofor Racing by Bonk Motorsport and will share her car with Sebastian von Gartzen. A very welcome addition is the twin-drivers pairing of Alesia and Jacqueline Kreutzpointner, who will drive for MRS GT-Racing at the wheel of a BMW M4 GT4. With already some starts under her belt in 2019 is Patricija Stalidzane. The young German, even though not completely new to the series, switched to Dörr Motorsport and will share a McLaren 570S GT4 with Aleksey Sizov.
At start of race 1, it was a great first step towards success for pole-driver Schrey; behind him, Jan Kasperlik started from P6, but managed to pass his rivals and advance into P3 in the first lap. An early Safety Car phase was triggerd by a collision by Stephan Grotstollen (BMW from Team Lillestoff), Jan Krabec (KTM; RTR Projects) and Christoph Dupré (Mercedes-AMG; Dupré Motorsport).
The restart was a clean one for Schrey again, while Patricija Stalidzane lost her excellent 4th place to Kasperlik. The leaderboard remained unchanged until the pit window opened: after Schrey's driver change to Piana the duo held on to the lead, but Kasperlik, who swapped seat with Nicolai Møller Madsen, passed the Döll Motorsport's McLaren driven by Phil Dörr and Fred Martin-Dye.
The Mercedes-AMG of Marcus Suabo (DLV-Team Schütz Motorsport) then stopped on track with an electric issue and the Safety Car was again deployed. That was the starting point for a tight fight between Piana and Møller Madsen: the Danish driver took the lead as he passed Piana with 7 minutes to the chequered flag. The race ended behind the Safety Car and red-flagged with one lap remaining following a crash between Hendrik Still (Team AVIA Sorg Rennsport) and Florian Janits (True Racing).
The ladies had a positive start of the ADAC GT4 Germany season. At first, it seemed that Stalidzane would have the best start of the weekend: she went into the race from a very encouraging P5, passed two rivals and drove solidly in third place, but due to some technical problems she dropped down the order in 12th place. As she tried to make up places, she handed the car over to Sizov in P10. Her teammate finished the race in eighth position.
Hürtgen and von Gartzen were thus the best duo featuring a female driver, as they crossed the finish line in 6th place.
The Kreutzpointner twins ended their first ever GT4 Germany race in a considerable 10th place.
Race 2 was interrupted just 3 minutes after the start. Cedric Piro (Team Piro Sports Caffé d´Italia) collided with two other cars and stopped on track. Pole-sitter Marvin Dienst (DLV-Team Schütz Motorsport) had pulled away, but was now again under pressure and in danger of getting passed for second position. He managed to hold on to the lead after the restart and could break away again, but after the driver change, his co-driver Marcus Suabo spun and dropped back.
Julien Apothéloz was now the new leader after had taken over the Mercedes-AMG from Lucas Trefz (HTP-Winward Motorsport). He passed Piana and Møller Madsen - both teams performing longer pit stops due to their results in yesterday's race.
With 12 minutes to the end of the race, the weather brought a dramatic finish and it started to rain: Patricija Stalidzane, who took over the McLaren from Sizov in P8, lost the car coming down towards the hairpin and went off at high speed. Stalidzane's accident looked heavy, as she crashed into the tyre-wall and bent the armco behind it. Some other drivers went off in the same spot, but were luckier and could rejoin the race. The Safety Car came out and, shortly after, the race was red flagged.
Apothéloz/Trefz were declared winners, ahead of Schrey/Piana and Kasperlik/Møller Madsen.
The best of the "ladies' teams" were the Kreutzpointer twins Alesia and Jacqueline in P13, followed by Claudia Hürtgen and von Gartzen in 16th place. Patricija Stalidzane and Aleksey Sizov were still classified in P19.
"P10 and P13 in our first race weekend in the ADAC GT4 Germany." - wrote Jacqueline on her instagram. "Not Bad for the beginning! But we know what to work on."
Stalidzane was luckily not injured in the crash and, despite a sore neck, will be ready for the Hockenheim round in a few weeks time.
The next race will in fact take place at the Hockenheimring from 18th to 20th September.