ADAC GT Masters at Zandvoort, The Neherlands
BLOWN AWAY: JUST MISSING THE LEAP TO THE TOP OF THE STANDINGS
Enough mid-season break: After the two-month summer hiatus, wheels turned again in the "League of Super Sports Cars" at Circuit Zandvoort. Unfortunately, the fourth round of the 2019 ADAC GT Masters season brought Callaway Competition a double dose of bad luck.
The Callaway Competition team traveled to Zandvoort on the Dutch North Sea coast for the August 9-12 weekend. It turned out to be both an eventful and stormy weekend for the Corvette team at the same time, packed with excitement, hope and drama. In the end, the team was very disappointed as they did not gain any championship points.
The two Callaway drivers, Markus Pommer (28/Neckarsulm) and Marvin Kirchhöfer (25/Lucerne), knew that it would be difficult to do well on the 4.307 km former Grand Prix circuit in the sand dunes.
On Saturday, Markus Pommer was first in qualifying for the first of the weekend’s two races. Under difficult conditions, with rain and wind gusts of 45 mph, Markus only managed to qualify for the 21st starting position.
Starting from P21, Markus was able to fight his way up to 18th position in the first half of the race. With some luck and cleverness, the team completed the driver change during a safety car phase. Several cars in the top ten were already in the pits, so Marvin Kirchhöfer brought the Corvette back to the course in P10.
The race leaders were now outside of the points chase and Kirchhöfer began gaining on the slower cars. The number #77 Corvette C7 GT3-R was on track to jump to the top of the points standings and to get the half-time record. But suddenly, the Corvette lost speed and Kirchhöfer steered into the pits. A misfiring engine resulted in a dramatic and disappointing end to the first race.
Since the race leader and pursuing teams also remained without points or did not make big leaps, the disappointment was exceptionally bitter.
In qualifying on Sunday morning for the second race, Marvin Kirchhöfer improved the Corvette’s starting position by 3 spots. In the race, the 25-year-old fought his way to the P13 in just 2 laps and handed it over to Markus Pommer at mid-race. However, the car crossed the pit exit by 0.2 seconds too early, which resulted in a drive-through penalty. As a result, Markus lost several positions and reached the finish line in P20, without gaining any points.
A bitter weekend but, in just a few days, the Callaway Competition team will have another chance to attack the points standings.
In the overall classification, Kirchhöfer and Pommer lost a margin of only seven points and thus remain in second place in the series championship standings.
“There’s not much to say about such a weekend. The disappointment is great. We played hard and had a lot to show for it. But in the end, we are without a single point and that is just bitter. Joy and Sorrow in Motorsport are simply very close to one another.” – Marvin Kirchhöfer
“We just didn’t have luck on our side in Zandvoort. We were aware that it was going to be a tough weekend. I think we kept up well on a track that our Corvette doesn’t like. Thank God, others didn’t make big jumps in the points.” – Markus Pommer
“It was a very different weekend. Our objective was to get into the top ten and take as many points as possible. We were well on our way to achieving our goal but, as is sometimes the case in motorsport, without warning the ground can be pulled out from under you. However, I’m also aware that without the Safety Car in Race 1, we wouldn’t have been able to drive into the points on our own. In the remaining races, this mustn’t happen again.” – Team Boss Mike Gramke
Text: A.Dannenberg / Motorsport-Karriere.de
Photos: Burkhard Kasan