Friday, May 20, 2022

Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing claims victory and podium finish in ADAC GT Masters season opener

At the demanding circuit of the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben, the three Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing Teams had a successful start of their 2022 ADAC GT Masters season. In the Sunday race, Jules Gounon (FRA) and Fabian Schiller (GER) of the newly formed Drago Racing Team ZvO rewarded themselves for their impressive performance with the well-deserved overall win. On the previous day, the duo with the #4 Mercedes-AMG GT3 had finished 14th. Following fourth place on Saturday, MANN-FILTER Team LANDGRAF with the #48 GT3 driven by Jonathan Aberdein (RSA) und Raffaele Marciello (SUI) also improved one position and therefore secured an outstanding double podium success for Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing in the second race of the year already.

  • Successful ADAC GT Masters season opener at Oschersleben for Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing
  • Race 1: MANN-FILTER Team LANDGRAF #48 fourth in the Saturday race
  • Race 2: Drago Racing Team ZvO #4 seals overall win in second race

In qualifying on Sunday morning, Drago Racing Team ZvO’s Jules Gounon (#4) and MANN-FILTER Team LANDGRAF’s Raffaele Marciello (#48) laid the foundation for a successful season-opening weekend. The two experienced Mercedes-AMG Performance drivers ended up in second and third place in the 20-minute qualifying session in the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben where the official ADAC GT Masters test days were already held a fortnight earlier. From these promising starting grid positions, they took on the second race of the season.

Gounon stays in front at the start and takes the lead in the Sunday race

In the one-hour sprint race in the afternoon,  Drago Racing Team ZvO got off to an optimal start: in the second corner, Jules Gounon moved up alongside the pole sitter and subsequently went on to take the lead on the straight that followed. Raffaele Marciello, a race winner at this track in the previous year, held on to third place with the #48 Mercedes-AMG GT3. In the following laps, the leading trio remained closely together and continued to set the pace until the mandatory pit stop around the halfway point of the race.

Marciello was the first from this group to make use of the ten-minute time window to hand the car to his teammate Jonathan Aberdein. One lap later, Gounon also headed into the pit lane simultaneously with his rival. Initially, that didn’t change anything in the order: Fabian Schiller remained in front with the #4 Mercedes-AMG GT3, the  #48 MANN-FILTER Team LANDGRAF car rejoined the race in third place.

In what was only his second GT Masters race, Schiller remained in control and even was able to pull a slight gap as the race went on. Eventually, he crossed the finish line with a margin of just under three seconds, securing his maiden race win in the International German GT Championship. Jonathan Aberdein and MANN-FILTER Team LANDGRAF, meanwhile, defended their third place and will therefore be heading to the next race weekend at Spielberg in second place of the points’ standings.

An additional top 10 result by Mercedes-AMG Team ZvO rounded out a successful opening weekend at Oschersleben. Having started from ninth on the grid, Daniel Juncadella (ESP) and Jan Marschalkowski (GER) worked their way up to finish eighth with their #8 Mercedes-AMG GT3, scoring their first eight championship points of the current season.

Race 1: MANN-FILTER Team LANDGRAF only just misses out on podium finish in opening race

In the first qualifying session of the season on Saturday morning, a red flag with three minutes remaining upset the plans of many teams. As the remaining time was insufficient to bring the tyres into the ideal temperature window, the result remained nearly unchanged, something from which, among others, two GT Masters newcomers benefited: Jonathan Aberdein ended up fourth in qualifying with his #48 Mercedes-AMG GT3 of the MANN-FILTER Team LANDGRAF while Mercedes-AMG Team ZvO’s Jan Marschalkowski put his #8 Performance GT3 in sixth place and therefore on the third row of the grid.

Initially, the two rookie drivers also got the race in the early afternoon off to a good start. South African Aberdein withstood the increasing pressure of experienced opponents and held on to his fourth position until handing over the car to his teammate Raffaele Marciello. Initially, Marschalkowski also defended successfully with his GT3 in pink BWT livery, but then encountered massive bad luck as he dropped out of the point-scoring positions after innocently being tapped into a spin.

As a result, it was down to Marciello and MANN-FILTER Team LANDGRAF to score the first championship points of the new season. The Mercedes-AMG driver initially lost his position during the pit stop window, but then convinced with the fastest lap times of the entire field. An impressive overtaking manoeuvre through multiple corners, in which the #48 GT3 was on the outside line throughout, brought Marciello fourth place. In the final laps, he quickly closed the gap towards the podium positions, but eventually ran out of time for a decisive attack.

Spielberg is the venue for round two in four weeks’ time

The second of this season’s seven ADAC GT Masters rounds will be held in Austria in a little less than a month. From 20th till 22nd May, the German GT series, also referred to as “super sports car league”, will be racing at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, where five Mercedes-AMG GT3s will again be competing in the two one-hour races on Saturday and Sunday.

Stefan Wendl, head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing: “First qualifying was particularly unfortunate for the #4 ZvO car with the timing of the red flag. Thankfully, we were still able to slightly limit the damage with the MANN-FILTER Team LANDGRAF car in the race. Today, it went much better, with qualifying already demonstrating the enormous potential of the Mercedes-AMG GT3. Eventually, we can return home happy with the victory by ZvO in the opening event and second place in the championship for LANDGRAF and continue the journey to Red Bull Ring in a positive mood.”

Jules Gounon, driver, Drago Racing Team ZvO #4: “This result is fantastic. I am very proud of what we have achieved here. I love to race in ADAC GT Masters. Here, the world’s best GT drivers and teams are up against each other. Our car was consistent throughout the weekend. Exactly that is our strength. Therefore, winning the championship now clearly is our goal.”

Fabian Schiller, driver, Drago Racing Team ZvO #4: “Today, we had a very, very strong car. Jules laid a good basis and in fact, I only had to manage and bring it home, coming first across the finish line. The car had the right balance throughout the distance. On Saturday, it was a bit unfortunate, but that makes today’s win even more beautiful. It was a top debut for me as a rookie and so it was for our team. There is no doubt it can continue like this!”

Raffaele Marciello, driver, MANN-FILTER Team LANDGRAF #48: “At Oschersleben, overtaking is traditionally difficult. We had a good pace and I tried to keep up with the leaders. Admittedly, we were never the fastest this weekend, but we were always up there at the front. At the end of the day we twice scored valuable championship points and that is all that matters.”

Ezequiel Perez Companc, team principal and driver, Madpanda Motorsport #90: “This weekend, we have been learning a lot in particular. Certainly, we had expected a little but more, but that is now just part of our learning curve. We were able to collect a lot of data that we will be comprehensively analysing in the upcoming weeks to come back stronger at Red Bull Ring.”

Result race 1, ADAC GT Masters, Motorsport Arena Oschersleben*:

POS

Nr.

Car

Team

Drivers

1.

29

Audi R8 LMS GT3

Montaplast by Land Motorsport

Ricardo Feller (SUI), Jusuf Owega (GER)

2.

19

Lamborghini Huracan GT3

Emil Frey Racing

Franck Perera (FRA), Arthur Rougier (FRA)

3.

22

Porsche 911 GT3 R

Allied-Racing

Sven Müller (GER), Joel Sturm (GER)

4.

48

Mercedes-AMG GT3

MANN-FILTER Team LANDGRAF

Jonathan Aberdein (RSA), Raffaele Marciello (SUI)

14.

4

Mercedes-AMG GT3

Drago Racing Team ZvO

Jules Gounon (FRA), Fabian Schiller (GER)

20.

90

Mercedes-AMG GT3

Madpanda Motorsport

Ezequiel Perez Companc (ARG), Jannes Fittje (GER)

21.

8

Mercedes-AMG GT3

Mercedes-AMG Team ZvO

Daniel Juncadella (ESP), Jan Marschalkowski (GER)

DNS

84

Mercedes-AMG GT3

MANN-FILTER Team LANDGRAF

Frank Bird (GBR), Elias Seppänen (FIN)

* excerpt subject to confirmation by the organiser

Result race 2, ADAC GT Masters, Motorsport Arena Oschersleben*:

POS

Nr.

Car

Team

Drivers

1.

4

Mercedes-AMG GT3

Drago Racing Team ZvO

Jules Gounon (FRA), Fabian Schiller (GER)

2.

15

Audi R8 LMS GT3

Rutronik Racing

Luca Engstler (GER), Patric Niederhauser (SUI)

3.

48

Mercedes-AMG GT3

MANN-FILTER Team LANDGRAF

Jonathan Aberdein (RSA), Raffaele Marciello (SUI)

8.

8

Mercedes-AMG GT3

Mercedes-AMG Team ZvO

Daniel Juncadella (ESP), Jan Marschalkowski (GER)

19.

84

Mercedes-AMG GT3

MANN-FILTER Team LANDGRAF

Frank Bird (GBR), Elias Seppänen (FIN)

20.

90

Mercedes-AMG GT3

Madpanda Motorsport

Ezequiel Perez Companc (ARG), Jannes Fittje (GER)

* excerpt subject to confirmation by the organiser

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