EN: Car Collection celebrates podium successes in ADAC GT Masters and Nürburgring endurance series

EN: Car Collection celebrates podium successes in ADAC GT Masters and Nürburgring endurance series

Podium at home race – Dutchman and GT3 rookie Thierry Vermeulen not only celebrated his first podium success in the German GT Championship at the eighth round of the ADAC GT Masters at Zandvoort together with his partner Mattia Drudi in second place, but also gave Team Car Collection its first podium visit in the overall classification of the “League of Super Sports Cars”. The day before, the trio Leon Köhler / Lorenzo Rocco / Jörg Viebahn had already finished second in the Pro/Am classification at the fourth NLS round at the Nürburgring.

The ADAC GT Masters race weekend at Zandvoort was the long-awaited home race for the youngster in Team Car Collection. Thierry Vermeulen not only comes from the Netherlands, but is also deeply and firmly rooted in the country’s motorsport world thanks to his close ties with the Verstappen family. Not least the large “Verstappen.com” lettering on the car meant that there was a lot of pressure ahead of the weekend. On Sunday, the entire team proved that it can successfully withstand this pressure.

Already in the morning qualifying the two Audi Sport drivers Mattia Drudi (#33) and Markus Winkelhock (#69) proved their extra class. With perfect timing, they put their two cars on the fourth and fifth grid positions and were thus the best Audi drivers. At the start, another brilliant performance by the Italian Drudi followed, who from fourth place overtook two rivals on the outside of the first corner and moved up to second place. By the time of the driver change, he was able to extend the gap to third to seven seconds and give his partner Vermeulen a small advantage along the way. Vermeulen’s driver coach – none other than ex-F1 star Jos Verstappen – must have done the same. The 19-year-old showed absolutely no signs of his inexperience in his stint and coolly drove home second place. At the same time, he had Porsche factory driver Christian Engelhart, a real GT3 star, breathing down his neck, who was unable to close the gap decisively. The jubilation at the finish line at Team Car Collection was correspondingly enthusiastic, as it was the first overall podium in the ADAC GT Masters in the team’s history.

Winkelhock in the #69 also had a good start and was in fifth place until the stop. However, Florian Spengler, who had taken over the wheel afterwards, was turned around by a competitor as the race progressed and lost many positions. More than 14th place was therefore not possible.

The Saturday at Zandvoort was even worse. Even the rainy qualifying session was not ideal, with positions 13 and 17. The race was then just to forget. Several contacts, penalties and, in the end, punctures on both cars meant that neither of the team’s two Auto R8 LMS evo II GT3s finished the race.
Podium and retirement at the Nürburgring
At the same time, the fourth round of the Nürburgring Endurance Series was held on the Nordschleife. Here, too, Team Lionspeed by Car Collection fielded two Audi R8 LMS evo II GT3 cars. In the #23, which competed in the Pro/Am classification, newcomer Leon Köhler, who contested his first GT3 race on the Nordschleife, was joined by the veterans Lorenzo Rocco and Jörg Viebahn, who shared the work at the wheel. Due to a penalty for a somewhat unclear speeding violation in qualifying, this car not only had to start from the pit lane but also serve a 120-second penalty stop in the race. Nevertheless, the three drivers were able to fight their way up to 13th place overall and third in class with strong driving performances and in the end were only 1:46 min behind the class winner. Due to a subsequent repositioning of an opponent, the trio even moved up to second place in the end.

At the front from the start was the #24 of Team Lionspeed by Car Collection, which competed in the Pro classification and was driven by Patrick Kolb and Dennis Fetzer. With eighth place in qualifying, all options remained open and the duo was able to bite into the leading group. A technical problem then forced them to retire early after 17 race laps.  

Copyright: 1VIER (NLS), ADAC, Michael Ehrensperger, Roland Hasenmüller (ADAC GT Masters)