Two seventh places in the general classification for Rolf Ineichen and Christian Engelhart were the result for the Grasser Racing Team at the fifth ADAC-GT-Masters event of the 2016 season at Nürburgring.
Ineichen so again won both races in the Trophy category and now took the lead there with 190 points, just one point ahead of his Swiss fellow countryman Remo Lips.
On Saturday after a messy qualifying the two drivers of the Lamborghini Hurracán number 63 had to make their way through the field from P24 on the grid. In a slightly chaotic race with a lot of incidents and different safety-car periods “we managed to stay out of any trouble and take advantage of some accidents of our competition”, said Ineichen.
On Sunday Engelhart was able to start the race from P10 and immediately climb up to P8 just after the start. A late pitstop strategy brought another place and towards the end Rolf Ineichen could withstand the pressure from behind and safely secure seventh position until the chequered flag.
The support of his family gave some special motivation to the fast guy from Switzerland who regularly proves to be able to compete with the full time professionals. His pregnant wife and his one and a half year old son had come to the track for the first time this season.
“We have reached the maximum possible here”, Ineichen was adamant, “of course due to the fact that the team again provided us with a perfect car, for which I want to say thank you to them. In the other hand we can’t ignore the general situation. Of course it does not really help to complain about the BoP, but you just have to look for example to the second qualifying, realise where the other Lamborghini were. I just hope that the ADAC also will take notice and that in the next races we will have the chance again to fight for the podium with a perfect performance like we showed today. It just would be right.”
Christian Engelhart emphasised the same point: “The team gave us a perfect car and we got the maximum out of the weekend, made it to the points two times. Unfortunately it was difficult against the other brands. To make it to P10 in qualifying with a perfect lap was already a highlight for me.” In his opinion just having a look at the grid positions of the other Lambos says it all … “Rolf and Christian had a really good weekend”, confirmed team principal Gottfried Grasser, “especially their Saturday performance with gaining so many positions was impressive. More is just not possible at the moment.”
Luca Stolz and Gerald Tweraser in car number 16 were truly followed by bad luck over the weekend, which had actually started quite well in Saturday with P10 in qualifying for Stolz. During his start stint he also could keep his position within the Top Ten.
A late pitstop on lap 20 meant that he had already reached P4 when handing the car over to his teammate. Tweraser also kept his position within the points, even making it to P6 shortly when the end came suddenly on lap 24: “Markus Winkelhock hit me and touched me in a way that the car was too seriously damaged to continue,” said the Austrian.
On Sunday the duo had already made it up to P21 from P28 on the grid until the pitstop. Luca Stolz found himself in 20th position after taking over from Tweraser and even managed to gain a few more positions in the dense midfield. A Top 15 finish seemed to be in reach when suddenly things turned ugly again with only two laps to go with fighting getting just a bit too close. Stolz got squeezed in by some of his rivals and the Lamborghini suffered sever damage and had to be brought into the pits. “Missing the points on Saturday which would have been ever so important and now being out again is really annoying”, Stolz was visibly frustrated.
“We tried everything to make up some ground, but here in the GT-Masters the driving style quote often is very hard, very aggressive – and quite damaging. You really tend to lose the fun in it sometimes”, he complained. “It was really harsh to be out of the race twice due to some collisions,” Gottfried Grasser stated. “There was also a lot of damage to many parts, so we can´t be content with the outcome. For sure we expected more.”
“It was a difficult weekend”, resumed the team principal, “but I kind of expected that, as the BoP currently really does not favour us at all. We tried everything, really gave our best and proved again to be by far the fastest of the Lamborghini brand. But compared to the others we dropped back a bit since the last races. We have to work on this now, but probably we will also need a little bit of help.”
But he especially wanted to express a big thank you to the team: “We have really great guys working for us. We are on the road now for eight weekends in a row, including two 24 hour races, one with one, one with three cars. So we are looking back to really hard weeks. Now we will have the first weekend off for a long time and are looking forward to some well deserved rest. But in two weeks time we will already be at Zandvoort for the second to last GT-Masters weekend, which we are looking forward to. For sure there we will be in full attack mode again.”