GTC: Schreiner in the Top-5, Jilkova misses out on GT4 wins but shows pace
Gabriela Jílková and Robert Haub showed great speed again in GT4, just missing out on class wins despite being the fastest crew at the opening round of ADAC GTC. Carrie Schreiner was in the overall top-five with a very solid performance, and young rookie Vivien Schöllhorn completed her first weekend in the series.
Last year, GTC Race - an integral part of the ADAC Racing Weekends - featured a few female entries, including Carrie Schreiner, who contested the German series mostly as a preparation for her very busy GT3 programs. The Gran Turismo Cup kicked off its 2022 season at Oschersleben this weekend, with again a very competitive female participation: alongside GT3 ace Schreiner - who is back for a full campaign - we found Gabriela Jílková and Vivien Schöllhorn in the GT4 class. Jílková - fresh from a very positive GT4 European Championship round in Imola - joined the GTC grid at Oschersleben as she gets ready for the upcoming ADAC GT4 season, where the Czech racer will return together with teammate Robert Haub for her second season. While it will be a busy year for the Drago Racing ZVO duo, they are now maximising their track time opportunities and showing potential in all competitions. Young German driver Vivien Schöllhorn is just starting out in GT racing but has already impressed in 2021, when she won the Junior title in the Audi R8 LMS Seyffarth Cup. Schöllhorn has also announced a full-season commitment in GTC and shares the Eastside Motorsport's #4 Mercedes AMG GT4 with Dominique Schaak. The weekend started off with the right foot for Jílková, who took pole position on Friday for the following day's GT60 by Pirelli - the one hour endurance race that features a driver change. Schöllhorn was ninth in GT4, while it was a bit more of a bumpy start for Schreiner - who shares the #31 Schaeffler-sponsored Mercedes AMG GT3 with DTM racer David Schumacher, this weekend at his all-time GT racing debut: they were forced to sit out qualifying due to a technical issue.
There was drama even before the green flag, with a big rain shower just a few hours before the endurance race that moved the schedule and resulted in colder track temperatures and diversified tyre strategies. The start was aborted when Schöllhorn spun on her way to the grid due to the extremely tricky conditions and, once it finally got underway, some drivers gambled for slicks and some on wets. Steiner initially took the overall lead, but Jusuf Owega (Montaplast by Land Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT3) was quickly back on top in the early stages. The track got faster for the drivers on slicks and Gabriela Jílková started to navigate through the field at a pace of over 3 seconds per lap faster in class and claimed back second place, having also overtaken a GT3 car. Schreiner also struggled a bit in the first laps but then started to move up at an impressive pace and reached fifth place in GT3 - sixth overall - in a matter of a few laps. Just when Jílková seemed able to get into the class lead, she had to return to the pitlane with a problem and, just short of a few minutes for the pit window opening, their race was compromised.
Schreiner pitted from fifth and handed over to David Schumacher for his first ever stint in the car; Schöllhorn handed over to Schaak from ninth in GT4 while most of the drivers completed their driver change. Jusuf Owega led ahead of his brother Salman, with Markus Winkelhock in third place. Jílková stopped a second time and Robert Haub started his stint from seventh in class. The second half of the race saw David Schumacher battling closely with Rumpfkeil for fourth place, but the duel allowed Max Hofer to get closer and sneak ahead of both. Despite being faster, the driver of the #31 Spacedrive-equipped Mercedes AMG GT3 couldn't find a way past Rumpfkeil and the two collided on the last lap; Schumacher was handed a 35-second penalty that demoted him to sixth. Jusuf Owega won the endurance GT60 by Pirelli race, ahead of Salman Owega and Zulauf-Winkelhock. Despite a short trip to the gravel, Robert Haub was able to recover to sixth in GT4 and was then promoted to fifth after Koslowski-Hanses received a penalty for a pit stop infringement. Schöllhorn and Schaak were seventh in their first race together in GTC.
Sunday saw teams and drivers tackling the two sprint races at Oschersleben, again in cold conditions. Jílková and Haub had qualified in second place for their respective sprint races, showing again potential to win the GT4 class. At the race start, the Owega brothers fired into the lead, as Zulauf lost second to Salman Owega on the first lap. Schreiner, from fifth on the grid, held her position comfortably throughout her run. Jílková was fastest in class and went on the hunt for first place. While trying to find a way around Lucas Mauron (#40 Eastside Motorsport Mercedes), Gabriela was passed by Julian Hanses, who then went on to take the lead in GT4, leaving Mauron and Jílková engaged in a tight battle with several door-to-door contacts. Around half a second faster, Jílková forced her way past and Mauron spun; the incident resulted in a drive through penalty for the Czech driver, who dropped to eighth. Mauron was also handed a penalty for causing a collision, having sent the KTM of Uwe Schmidt into the gravel. Jusuf and Salman Owega were again first and second, with Zulauf rounding out the podium. Carrie Schreiner had a very solid race in fifth place and scored her team's best result of the weekend. Schöllhorn's teammate Schaak was sixth in GT4 across the finish line.
The second sprint race rounded out the opening round of the ADAC GTC series, in an overcast and chilly afternoon at Oschersleben. The #3 Audi R8 LMS GT3 of Max Hofer quickly got in the overall lead ahead of Jusuf Owega, in an Audi 1-2-3-4 that also saw Markus Winkelhock and Salman Owega following closely. But the most exciting battle was in GT4, as Koslowski led Robert Haub and Max Kronberg by a few tenths of a second. Haub went into the lead on lap 6, just before the #85 Mercedes AMG GT4 of Leon Kosloswki had to stop on track with an engine issue - bringing out the Safety Car. Vivien Schöllhorn had also spun, but rejoined with no damage in 8th position. After the restart, Kronberg dived on the inside and temporarily passed Haub, who was able to switch back at the following corner. The two traded places until the end - when Kronberg ultimately claimed the GT4 win by a few tenths over Robert Haub, the latter struggling for tyres in the closing stages. Max Hofer took victory in GT3 and preceded Jsuf Owega and Markus Winkelhock. After a late spin, David Schumacher was seventh in GT3 and Vivien Schöllhorn completed her first GTC weekend in eighth place in GT4. The next GTC-Race round will be on 15-17 July at the Lausitzring, while Jílková-Haub will be back at Oschersleben in two weeks' time, for the opening round of the 2022 ADAC GT4 Germany season.