Christian Engelhart and Michael Ammermüller won the Saturday race in the ADAC GT Masters on the Nürburgring in commanding style to notch up the first victory for the SSR Performance team in the “league of super sports cars.” The two Porsche pilots not only captured the first win of the season for the Porsche 911 GT3 R, but also the first for their new team from Munich.
The Saturday race on the Nürburgring was dominated by the eventual winners from start to finish. Ammermüller began the opening stint from pole position and held on to a narrow lead ahead of Maro Engel. The leading duo opened up a slight gap over the chasing pack in the early stage of the race. The SSR Performance team’s Porsche also stayed in front after a short safety car phase. Nor did that change after the mandatory pit stops and change of pilot midway through the race: Christian Engelhart took over from Ammermüller and came back onto the track ahead of Engel’s partner Luca Stolz. When the safety car came out a second time in the final quarter of an hour of the race, the third-placed team was already almost 15 seconds behind the two front-runners. Christian Engelhart crossed the line first with a narrow 0.7 second advantage to chalk up the first victory for his SSR Performance team in the ADAC GT Masters.
Christian Engelhart commented after the race: “It wasn’t as easy as it looked. The Mercedes kept on pressing hard from behind and we were able to pull away from the rest of the field. But I could never take a breather and always had to push myself to the limit. There was no margin for error. I picked up rubber during the safety car phase, but I turned in a very good lap after the restart. The car was perfect and the first win for SSR was hard-fought and well-deserved. We’re all very happy.”
After what was again a very close qualifying session, the new team captured seventh spot on the grid, but finally started from 12th after being awarded a pretty controversial penalty for “driving too slowly in a safety car phase.” It also had to contend with the further disadvantage of the 30 kg Success Ballast as a result of its win the previous day.
“We actually got off to a good start and were in pretty good shape until a rival rammed me in the side four times in turn 5 or 6, pushing me off the track and throwing us back into 22nd. The car was incredibly difficult to drive with the 30 kilograms on board, so our aim was to get among the points. From then on, we drove a constant and good race and ultimately managed to finish 15th and so capture a point in spite of everything. All in all, it was therefore a superb weekend, especially with the win on Saturday,” said Christian after the second race on Sunday.
The ADAC GT Masters now takes a summer break, after which the next race will be at the Hockenheimring on September 18, 2020. Christian, his teammate Michael and SSR are currently in second in the team rankings and drivers’ championship – within striking distance of the leaders – and intend to keep on the attack.