The KÜS Team75 Berhard from Landstuhl experienced a mixutre of joy and frustration at the season start of the ADAC GT Masters on the Lausitzring. The team around the two-times endurance world champion Timo Bernhard conquered a fourth place on Saturday at sun and 31 degrees: David Jahn (28) from Leipzig and Jannes Fittje (21) from Langenhain were successful in the Porsche 911 GT3 R with starting number 18. Things went worse for the sister car with the starting number 17 with Simona De Silvestro from Switzerland and Klaus Bachler (29) from Austria: Simona was turned over in third place and fell far behind. On Sunday it became clear again, how extremely close the cars are together: 31 cars were within a second. There you can see the good work of all teams.
Saturday on the Lausitzring
Let's directly look back on Saturday: In qualifying, Klaus Bachler achieved tenth, Jannes Fittje the 20th place. Both made up several positions right from the start. At the beginning of a safety car phase after an accident, Klaus was second, Janne’s eleventh. At the restart, Klaus took the lead with a strong maneuver. After the pit stop with driver change, Simona De Silvestro was in third place and was able to hold this position, but was rammed and turned around 15 minutes before the end by a competitor; thus she fell back to 20th place. David Jahn was able to work his way forward, place by place, and crossed the finish line in fourth position. Jannes has also taken first place in the junior classification. After 43 rounds, Luca Stolz (25) from Brachbach and Maro Engel (34) from Monte Carlo won for Toksport WRT.
The race was characterized by numerous management changes. As in previous years, the density with which the vehicles are racing is significant. The winners of the Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo were followed by the Porsche drivers Michael Ammermüller (34) and Christian Engelhart (33) for SSR Performance just 0.7 seconds (!) behind them the Porsche-pilots Michael Ammermüller (34) and Christian Engelhart (33) for SSR Performance. Against this background, a fourth place is something of a victory. The Austrians Martin Ragginger (32) and Norbert Siedler (37) came in 16th place. As a guest starter, they drove a Porsche 911 GT3 R from Space Drive Racing, which is supervised by KÜS Team75 Bernhard. The car with the starting number 117 is equipped with steer-by-wire technology from Schaeffler Paravan, which manages a non-mechanical connection between the steering wheel and the front axle. We reported about this in the article accessible via this link.
One car in the points, one just outside, a podium in the junior rating, that is the summary of the Sunday race. Porsche works-driver Simona De Silvestro and Ex-Porsche-Junior Klaus Bachler took 16th place. The sister car with starting number 18 of Jahn and at the same time Fittje achieved eleventh pace, Jannes achieved third position in the junior rating, which he's continuesly leading. In the extremely tight qualifying of the "League of the super sports cars" - 31 cars were within a second - Simona drove to place 21 in her first GT-Masters-time training with just seven tenths of a second delay to pole position. In the car with the 18, David achieved place nine in the top ten, he was less than two tenth short of hte best time. Both could keep their position in the race until the pit stop with driver change in the race.
In the second stint, Klaus Bachler fought his way up to 16th place. Jannes only had to let two competitors pass in his second GT-Masters race. The Porsche from Space Drive Racing, supervised by KÜS Team75 Bernhard, went from 30th on the grid to 24th. As on the previous day, the system also proved itself in the second race. The Audi Team WRT from Belgium is one of the most renowned teams in international GT racing. His two drivers - Belgians Dries Vanthoor (22) and Charles Weerts (19) - won the team's first victory in the ADAC GT Masters on the first race weekend, ahead of the second-placed winners from the Saturday race. It will continue at the Nürburgring from August 14th to 18th, 2020.
The weekend from the perspective of the team boss
Let us hear the assessment of the weekend from team boss Timo Bernhard: "Overall, we had a good start on this weekend. The Saturday with the shot on the podium course still hurts a little bit. However, we are still looking forward. Because we have shown, that we were fully competitive on the whole weekend. Also the Space Drive vehicle of Schaeffler Paravan had a really good weekend. There it is mainly about the further development of the Steer-by-Wire-Technology. Very good progress has been made there. Norbert and Martin gave a very good feedback and the engineers have worked very well in the hard in the tough competition. It is really encouraging for the future that this system has a lot of potential. We continue working on that to improve the system. We are very proud about the partnership with Schaeffler Paravan."