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ADAC GT Masters 2020
ROLLER COASTER START FOR CALLAWAY COMPETITION
At the season opener of the ADAC GT Masters last weekend at the DEKRA Lausitzring, Callaway Competition started the season with a track record during Free Practice. However, a crash in Race One and a subsequent penalty gave the team from Leingarten a poor score despite a strong comeback on Sunday.
The first race of the Corona pandemic era has been completed. The ADAC GT Masters finally started its 14th season last weekend, July 31 to August 2, with strict hygienic practices and with the exclusion of spectators.
Callaway Competition returned to the “League of Super Sports Cars” after a ten-month break. With a new driver team and a completely new Corvette C7 GT3-R, the highly motivated team from Leingarten traveled to the DEKRA Lausitzring.
On Friday, in the first Free Practice session, the Team presented its two drivers, Markus Pommer and Swiss newcomer Jeffrey Schmidt. Markus Pommer set the first best time of the season with a perfect lap of 1:21.553 minutes. Unfortunately, this trend would not continue into the weekend.
Pommer started from a strong eighth position in the Saturday race and was able to gain three positions thanks to his quick reaction at the start. During the first quarter-hour, he was able to advance to fourth place and caught up to the third-place car. In a tough but fair duel, Pommer was pushed to the left-hand side of the track when going for third place. Out of the racing line, he wasn’t able to decelerate the Corvette sufficiently to prevent contact with the second-placed Porsche turning into Turn 1. As a result of the collision, both vehicles were badly damaged and were taken out of the race - instead of a possible podium finish. Particularly unfortunate was that the completely-uninvolved Precote Herberth Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 R fell victim to the duel.
Newcomer Jeffrey Schmidt had no driving time on Saturday and had to postpone his debut with the Callaway Corvette.
As was the case last year for Callaway’s Hockenheim ordeal, a night shift was on the program. Again, the team was tasked to get the only Corvette C7 GT3-R in the top-class ready for the next day. However, the damage after the accident was not the only penalty that Jeffrey Schmidt faced during Sunday qualifying. The #77 Corvette was fined ten positions for the accident.
Schmidt qualified the Corvette with a gap of 0.425s to 14th place but had to start Race Two from 24th place. The Swiss racer fought his way through the field with a strong performance and handed the cockpit to Markus Pommer at the pit stop in 17th place, who brought the Corvette to the finish in 12th place. Despite the strong effort, the remarkable comeback netted only four championship points.
A start that the team imagined differently.
The next ADAC GT Masters race is scheduled at the Nürburgring in just under two weeks. A new opportunity to pursue good results.
“I certainly imagined the start to be a little different. Giving away the podium away on Saturday and only four points for the weekend are very bitter. However, considering the very strong starting field with numerous works drivers, we were able to show that we can have a say in the front places. The Team did a fantastic job. The boys repaired the car overnight, which was really badly damaged. Now we’re looking forward to the next race at the Nürburgring and hope for better results there.” Jeffrey Schmidt (26 / Liestal)
“We started the weekend well. Everything that we tried on the car worked. I had no traffic in the first Free Practice session and I was able to get in a good lap. I felt good; I was very happy with the car. In the race, I only had a fraction of a second to make the decision to stop passing. Unfortunately, it was too late and I could no longer brake the car; I was on the dirty part of the track. I'm sorry for Jeffrey and the team. For Robert Renauer too, who wasn’t at fault at all and whose team also had to work through the night. I thank our Team for their hard work. Again, the boys put us in a great car for Sunday.” Markus Pommer (28 / Heilbronn)
“We have to put the weekend behind us and focus on the next race at the Nürburgring. It certainly did not go as hoped, but at the same time I’m very satisfied with the performance on display. The crash on Saturday naturally woke up memories of Hockenheim. The team gave everything through the early hours of the morning and worked tirelessly. A big thank you goes to André Schubert from Schubert Motors for helping us weld some critical chassis components. A podium in the first race and points were possible in both races but, unfortunately, it just wasn’t to be.” Mike Gramke (Team Principal)
Text: A.Dannenberg / Motorsport-Karriere.de
Photography: Axel Weichert