GT Masters: Slovakia Ring Preview
After a long summer holiday break, the German ADAC GT Masters resumes this weekend for Round 5. The Slovakia Ring in Bratislava plays host to the longest and most challenging circuits on the 2014 calendar for the drivers.
Callaway Competition comes fresh off of a well prepared summer break and is poised to continue their excellent momentum. Last time out saw a stunning repeat of their 2013 victories at the Red Bull Ring with yet another batch of double victories (though this time in the hands of Daniel Keilwitz and Oliver Gavin). The teams arsenal of Z06.R GT3 machines will again be led by their 2013 ADAC GT Masters reigning champion Daniel Keilwitz together with Andreas Wirth in the #1 ROLLER Corvette.
The weekend will see the start of a more consistent pairing, with both Germans set to partner until the end of the season. Wirth shared the Corvette with Keilwitz already in the race at Zandvoort in May, but bad luck (in the form of tricky weather) hampered their chances of a win. In the #2 AutoArena.de Corvette, Patrick Assenheimer again joins 2013 GT Masters Champion Diego Alessi and is hopeful for a positive surge of momentum for the second half of the season.
12 months ago, Callaway wrote Series history at the Slovakia Ring. During the 100th race of the series, the Callaway team became the longest serving team since the series inception. That race also saw a stunning first lap from Keilwitz, surging from 10th to 1st in the first lap! Their win later propelled both Keilwitz and Alessi to fight for the title win at the last moment in Hockenheim. This weekend will be a crucial moment as well if the team hopes to retain their title.
At the moment, A place on the podium is again the target of Keilwitz, who celebrated his 25th birthday last weekend. "After the recent win in Austria, its important that we score the best amount of points as possible. However we will be starting this weekend with 30 kilograms of success ballast. This will have a significant impact in practice and qualifying. During qualifying it will certainly be hard to get a decent starting place in the race. However, I expect that we will have the speed in order to bring the fight to our opponents."
"We have used the summer break to improve our Corvette," says Callaway Competition team boss Giovanni Ciccone. "Those who know us, know that we leave nothing to chance. We want to be competitive in the Slovakia Ring and I'm hoping for a very balanced field. It will not be easy with 30 kilos of success ballast, but fortunately the tyre barrier chicane on the back straight has been removed for this year, which will be good for our car. Our goal at this stage must be to score the maximum amount of points from here until the end of the season."
Diego Alessi arrives at the Slovakia Ring with good memories: Last year, the Italian celebrated his last race win (for the moment). "The first half of the season did not go as I had imagined it might have. Personally, I hope this will change in the second half," said Alessi. "On the positive, the progress of my teammate Patrick Assenheimer has been very good. He learns faster than I expected and I think we are now in the position to score some interesting results. For the race at the Slovakia Ring I am confident we can achieve a podium, as it is not impossible. In our fantastic season last year, we won and I hope the two runs in Slovakia are a great opportunity to have a completely "new" start in the second half of the season."
Once again in addition to the two car Callaway Competition squad, are three other Z06.R machines. Toni Seiler Racing Corvettes return with Toni Seiler driving (but with Andreas Simonsen joining for this weekend due to a calendar clash with Jeroen Bleekemolen) As well as Remo Lips and Lennart Marioneck partnering in the teams nr17. Rounding out the entries for Callaway is the customer team of RWT Racing with drivers Sven Barth and David Jahn.