ADAC GT Masters goes dune bashing by the North Sea
- Premiere for ADAC GT Masters at Zandvoort
- Record starting field with more than 40 super sports cars from 13 manufacturers
- Former Formula 1 track promises to deliver spectacular racing
ALPINA duo Lunardi/Martin face strong competition
Races 3 and 4 of the 2012 ADAC GT Masters promise to be high-octane affairs. The early championship leaders Dino Lunardi (33, F) / Maxime Martin (26, B) in their BMW ALPINA B6 are just two points ahead of Porsche duo Nick Tandy (27, GB) and Christian Engelhart (25, Kösching / Team Geyer & Weinig / Schütz Motorsport). "Zandvoort is a very narrow track with some sharp turns, so it's not ideal for our BMW ALPINA," says reigning champion Lunardi. "But I hope that we can play to our advantages on the many fast corners."
After a strong start to the season, Claudia Hürtgen (40, Aachen), the only woman driver to have won an ADAC GT Masters race, and Dominik Schwager (35, Eisenhofen / Schubert Motorsport) in their BMW Z4 will be among the favourites for the Zandvoort weekend. The pairing of Sebastian Asch (25, Ammerbuch), son of touring car legend Roland Asch, with Maximilian Götz (26 Uffenheim / kfzteile24 MS Racing Club) in their black Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG will also be a combination to be reckoned with.
Frentzen and von Thurn und Taxis aiming to score first points
There will be several other prominent contestants aiming to get off the mark in the Netherlands after a shaky start to the campaign, including Albert von Thurn und Taxis (29, Regensburg / Reiter Engineering-Lamborghini Gallardo), winner of the 2010 title: "The track should suit us, so I'm very much hoping that things work out better for us at Zandvoort and that we can finish among the points." The young aristocrat went home empty-handed from the season opener, a disappointment also experienced by ex-Formula 1 and DTM driver Heinz Harald Frentzen (44, Neuss) and team-mate Andreas Wirth (28, Heidelberg / Callaway Competition) in their Corvette Z06, and by the dynamic duo of Christopher Mies (22, Heiligenhaus) / Christer Jöns (24, Ingelheim) in their Prosperia uhc speed Audi R8. Defending champion Alexandros Margarits (28, Cologne), together with Lance David Arnold (26, Duisburg / SCHÖNER WOHNEN Polarweiss Team HEICO) in the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG will also be keen to open their account in the Netherlands.
Ex-Formula 1 driver Tomas Enge to line up alongside Saudi prince
Making their debut in the Super Sports Car League are former F1 driver Tomas Enge (35, CZ / GRT Grasser Racing) in a Lamborghini Gallardo and Abdulaziz Al Faisal (28, KSA / Schubert Motorsport), a member the Saudi Arabian royal family, in his BMW Z4. The starting line-up also includes David Sigacev (23, RUS) / David Jahn (21, Speyer / Lambda Performance) in a Ford GT.
Local heroes hoping to please home crowd
There are also six Dutch contestants in the field, all intent on cracking open the champagne in front of their home fans. Local hero Christiaan Frankenhout (30, NL) from nearby Amsterdam partnered with Kenneth Heyer (32 Wegberg / HEICO Motorsport) in the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG has promised his supporters to post a respectable result. Equally intent on not letting their fans down are the only 100% Dutch outfit on the grid, DB Motorsport with a BMW Z4 driven by Jeroen den Boer (24, NL) and Simon Knap (23, NL). Making a guest appearance is sports car ace Jeroen Bleekemolen (30, Monaco) who grew up just a couple of miles away from the circuit. Bleekemolen will be sharing the Frogreen CO2 neutral 911 with Robert Renauer (27, Jedenhofen). Driving the new McLaren MP4-12C for MRS GT Racing, Patrick Huisman (46, NL) will be hoping for a good result in his home race. Meanwhile, Lamborghini driver Peter Kox (48, NL) has really knuckled down to some intensive work with his team-mate; the 2010 champion is sharing the cockpit of a Gallardo with current amateur champion Marc A Hayek (41, CH / Reiter Engineering) and is aiming to help the Swiss driver defend his title.
Aston Martin driver Poulsen leads amateur standings
The man they all have to catch in the amateur classification is Kristian Poulsen (36, DK / Young Driver AMR) in his Aston Martin. Hot on the heels of the Dane are Swen Dolenc (44, Maulbronn / FACH AUTO TECH) in the Porsche 911, supported by Martin Ragginger (24, A), and Carsten Tilke (28, Munich / Prosperia uhc speed) who shares an Audi R8 with former champion Christian Abt (44, Kempten).
As in previous seasons, all 16 races in the FIA GT Championship are broadcast live on the free-to-air channel kabel eins. Viewers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland can tune in at 12.15pm on Saturday and Sunday. For continuous updates on completed laps and times during free practice and races, check out the Live Timing page at www.adac.de/motorsport.
Further information available at www.adac.de/motorsport and www.adac-gt-masters.de
ADAC GT Masters