ADAC GT: Oschersleben Rd1 Report
The 2013 season has kicked off on a high for GT3 team Callaway Competition. Pre-season testing earlier this month, demonstrated that Callaway’s work over the off-season had paid off, as the Z06R GT3 Corvettes turned out to be among the strongest in the field. New changes for this year's Z06R is the addition of a new paddle shift style transmission, offering even quicker shifting over last years spec. Also new for this season, was the addition of a new driver in the form of Callaway returnee (and former 2010 FIA Champion) Christian Hohenadel.
During the weekend, rain played its part in serving up a less than satisfying result for Saturday’s race. While the rain-drenched track served up exciting racing for the fans, several teams saw more off-roading than is intended for GT cars. Overall a tricky start for both cars, with the nr3 of Wirth and Hohenadel scoring in the points. "It was a tough start, as we did what we could but had to play a bit safe in the rain. In the end we had nothing else for the Porsche's and Audi's in the wet – 10th place was our best", explains Wirth. "I pushed as hard as possible today, and at one point a little too hard and spun. Unfortunately, it looks like the wet tyre testing that we did last year didn’t work out with the tyres that we have this year – the compounds are different - so we’ll have a bit of work to do. Overall though, I guess we can be happy - we’re in a better place than we were last year, and it’s always good to start off with some points.”
Fortunately Race 2 was greeted with warm and sunny skies. The start saw a brilliant opening stint by the German Keilwitz. After accelerating quickly past the start pole sitter and defending Champions from a Mercedes SLS AMG, Daniel managed to storm through the first corner on top. Once the dust settled, the duo led into the opening pitstops. "Fortunately, I got off to a great start. Then I was involved in a real battle with Maximilian Götz - all perfectly fair racing - but I had to work hard. He was consistently strong on the brakes and I was having to concentrate on exploiting the strengths of the Corvette. The drive-through penalty incurred by Götz and Buhk in their Mercedes was not particularly good from a racing perspective, but it certainly helped our cause. It made things easier for us, and Diego was able to bring the car safely home." Daniel's teammate Diego Alessi was equally as thrilled by Sundays race result: "Daniel clearly had the more difficult job of us two today. The team supplied us with a perfect car; it was so easy to drive. When I took over in the Corvette from Daniel, we were seven seconds ahead of the BMW, which gave me a very comfortable cushion and meant that I could control the race right through to the end. This victory is a belated birthday gift for our team principal Ernst Wöhr who turned 60 just recently."
Despite the sunny skies for Sunday’s race, Hohenadel and Wirth weren’t able to make any great gains. During the first stint, Christian managed only to hold position mid-pack in 16th place. At the driver change Wirth was served a drive-thru penalty for leaving pit lane 4/10ths too soon. Upset by the mistake and time penalty Andreas pushed aggressively to try to make up for it. Despite running some fast laps, the best Wirth could do was 13th place. Obviously disappointed, Wirth commented, “What can I say – I’m definitely not happy – we finish 13th and our teammates take the victory. I’m happy for Daniel and Diego but it would feel better if we were in their shoes. We’ll take as much data from the weekend as possible and learn all we can. I really hope we can come back strong for Spa – we need to keep strong and consistent if we want to have a good result this season. I know the team will be working hard over the next couple of weeks to make things right, so I just look forward to getting back out there and getting in the fight for a win.”
The weekend yielded positive results as well for Toni Seiler Racing. The team captured two podium finishes in the gentlemen's category. Remo Lips was joined by recent new signing Lennart Marioneck and are currently second in the Gentlemans championship. Toni Seiler and Niclas Kentenich were third in the second race ahead of drivers Lips/Marioneck. "We had a few problems in the race with our electrical system." explains Toni Seiler. "Niclas did a great job on the first lap, but unfortunately, I was unable to attack the two Porsches ahead of me in the closing stage of the race."
The next outing for Callaway Competition will be Round 2 of the ADAC GT Masters at the legendary Spa Francorchamps in Belgium on the 10th of May.