|Review:||ALPINA wins opening round of ADAC GT Masters|
Defending champion Dino Lunardi and ALPINA newcomer Maxime Martin secured their first victory in 2012 at the season opening round in the BMW ALPINA B6 GT3 at Oschersleben, Germany. Winning on Saturday notched the overall count to ten first place finishes in the ADAC GT Masters. A fourth place finish in the Sunday race concluded an almost perfect weekend for Lunardi/Martin. The points from the weekend means ALPINA starts the new season leading the driver’s championship.
A very good qualifying effort set the foundation for a successful weekend. Lunardi qualified sixth for Saturday, while Maxime Martin secured the pole position for Sunday. ALPINA had to fight hard against super strong competitors in what is turning out to be one of Germany’s most prolific race series, featuring a field of over 40 cars comprising 13 different manufacturers including high-profile newcomers like McLaren and Aston Martin.
On Saturday the BMW ALPINA B6 GT3 was one of the fastest cars in Oschersleben, however, in the end ALPINA’s race strategy sealed the deal. Despite damp conditions Lunardi ventured out on slick tyres, this played out perfectly since a quickly drying track meant the B6 GT3 did not have to pit in order to change tyres. Martin took the lead after the mandatory driver change halfway through the race. In an exciting battle in the closing laps of the race, Martin successful held Dominik Schwager in BMW Z4 and second-generation racer Nicki Thiim in a Porsche 911 at bay to claim a fist place finish.
Saturday’s result brought with it cheers, new silverware and good points for ALPINA, but also 30kg of so-called success ballast for Sunday’s race. Maxime Martin held the lead from a pole position start for the first third of the race, but had to pay tribute to the extra weight when he began losing tire performance, subsequently being passed by Nick Tandy in a Porsche 911. At the end, Martin and Lunardi finished fourth, adding some more points to their score.
“Winning the Championship last year, we also started the season with a win at Oschersleben“, says Dino Lunardi, “It’s nice to think this season can end in the same way. Starting on Saturday with slicks proved quirky, but quickly became business as usual once the track began to dry out. In the second race, it was not very easy with the success ballast and we lost tyre performance rapidly at the end, which made it very difficult to hold on to some points.”
Maxime Martin continued to build on his short but exemplary ADAC GT Masters achievements. The Belgian has so far competed in four races with the BMW ALPINA B6 GT3 and won three of them. “A great weekend, but we don’t have time to rest now. At the end of both races, we lost tire performance and we have to address this. The tires are new for everybody this season, so we have to find a solution for the next race in Zandvoort.“
ALPINA’s Andy Bovensiepen was satisfied with the first race weekend. “We proved once again the quality of the BMW ALPINA B6 GT3 against a growing competition that has never been stronger due to new manufacturers and super professional teams. But it’s very difficult to make any prediction for the season as a whole. The season opener is always affected by too many unpredictable factors.”
A second BMW ALPINA B6 GT3 was entered in the ADAC GT Masters by ALPINA customer team LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler for Johannes Leidinger and Florian Spengler. In the first race, the two former touring drivers finished 28th, in the second race the BMW ALPINA B6 GT3 retired after a contact with a Lamborghini.
The next round of the ADAC GT Masters will take place from 4th to 6th at Zandvoort, Netherlands. It will be the first time, that the BMW ALPINA B6 GT3 will race at the former Formula 1 circuit.
Result race 1:
|1. Dino Lunardi/Maxime Martin||BMW ALPINA B6 GT3|
|2. Claudia Hürtgen/Dominik Schwager||BMW Z4|
|3. Nicki Thiim/Robert Renauer||Porsche 911 GT3|
|4. Jesse Krohn/Nico Verdonck||Ford GT|
|5. Christian Engelhart/Nick Tandy||Porsche 911|
Result race 2:
|1. Christian Engelhart/Nick Tandy||Porsche 911|
|2. Sebastian Asch/Maximilian Götz||Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG|
|3. Daniel Keilwitz/Diego Alessi||Corvette Z06|
|4. Dino Lunardi/Maxime Martin||BMW ALPINA B6 GT3|
|5. Andreas Simonsen/Maximilian Buhk||Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG|
|1. Dino Lunardi/Maxime Martin||BMW ALPINA||37 points|
|2. Christian Engelhart/Nick Tandy||Porsche 911||35|
|3. Sebastian Asch/Maximilian Götz||Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG||20|
|1. ALPINA||BMW ALPINA||37 Points|
|2. Schütz Motorsport||Porsche 911||35|
|3. MS RACING||Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG||24|