Happy ending for Schubert Motorsport at Red Bull Ring as BMW M6 GT3 duo make podium appearance number two in the 2021 ADAC GT Masters
Last weekend’s visit to the Red Bull Ring turned out to be an emotional rollercoaster for Schubert Motorsport. BMW factory drivers Nick Yelloly and Jesse Krohn in their BMW M6 GT3 chalked up a second podium of the 2021 ADAC GT Masters at the Austrian Formula 1 circuit, but success in the second event on the calendar once again had to be hard earned. On Saturday, the team were forced to retire from the race while leading the field, but the following day, a bold strategy and a last-minute overtaking manoeuvre secured a podium finish. Sunday’s highly creditable result lifts Schubert Motorsport to third in the drivers’ and the team standings.
But the Super Sports Car League was not the only source of satisfaction for the Oschersleben-based outfit. On the second competitive outing for their BMW M4 GT4 in the ADAC GT4 Germany, Schubert scored points in both races. On Saturday, Marcel Lenerz and Michael von Zabiensky finished fifth in the field of 23 GT4 cars to secure the team’s best result to date in this fiercely competitive racing series. And despite turbulences on Sunday, the duo produced another strong points-paying result with eighth position.
Schubert Motorsport rescue their ADAC GT Masters weekend
Schubert Motorsport had good reason to feel confident going into the race weekend on the historic 4.31km circuit at Spielberg, and not just because of their victory in the corresponding fixture last year – two top results in the season opener had got their season off to a cracking start. Even the reclassification of the BMW M6 GT3 in the ADAC GT Masters regulations was no reason to moderate the ambitions. After the fifth-best time of 27 GT3 cars in FP2, Yelloly gave another superbly professional display with a place on the front row in qualifying.
In the first of the two qualis, the 30-year-old was beaten by just one tenth of a second in the contest to set the fastest time. A penalty imposed on the first-placed driver then moved the number 10 BMW M6 GT3 up to pole position on Saturday’s grid. With plenty of chaos prevailing at the start, Yelloly was able to pull away in commanding fashion. Although an early safety car deployment halted his forward momentum, he once again pulled away from the pursuing pack at the restart. Shortly afterwards, however, a technical problem caused damage to his right rear tyre. Unable to effect a repair in time to send him back into the fray, the team had to retire the car from the race.
In Sunday’s quali, Krohn booked a solid seventh on the grid. The 30-year-old Finn did not get off to the best of starts, losing two places on the first lap. In a methodical first stint, he then worked his way back up from ninth to sixth. With the field then getting bunched up behind the safety car towards the middle of the race, Schubert Motorsport pulled off a bold strategy call. Krohn handed over to Yelloly immediately after the restart. The Englishman then proceeded to make up ground with fast lap times and gained two positions during the remainder of the pit stop window. On the penultimate lap, he overtook one more opponent with a resolute passing manoeuvre to secure the third spot on the podium.
Nick Yelloly: “We fought back on Sunday after the retirement in the first race. Jesse worked his way back up after the opening lap, and I was able to make up more positions in the pit stop window. The pace of our car was great. The team did a really great job on the setup over the weekend, which enabled us to get up among the front-runners. After the final safety car, I saw the chance for a podium. Our team definitely deserved one after Saturday, so I went flat out for it. The scrap with the Lamborghini went on for three corners, and I managed to get past at turn five. I’m very happy for the team that everything worked out after the disappointment on Saturday, even though we would obviously have preferred the win.”
Jesse Krohn: “What happened in Saturday’s race was a real pity, so I was feeling extra motivated after that to get the team a strong result in the second race. We weren’t as far forward in qualifying as we had hoped, and that made our job a bit harder, but it all turned out OK in the end. After I handed over to Nick, he put in one qualifying lap after another. The team’s strategy and his performance were mega. That’s what got us the podium in the end. We can be well satisfied with two Top Three results from four races, especially with us having also been in with a great chance of a podium at the point where we had to retire. The team is doing a great job, and we are improving all the time. I’m looking forward to Zandvoort. The circuit should also be one of the better ones for our BMW this season.”
Marcel Lenerz and Michael von Zabiensky celebrate best result so far in ADAC GT4 Germany
Schubert Motorsport’s debut campaign in the ADAC GT4 Germany continues to pick up pace with each passing weekend. After the number 10 car finished in the points on its first outing in the series, the crew went one better in Austria. The qualifying session did not quite go according to plan for the BMW M4 GT4 duo, producing only an anonymous P17 on the grid, but they weren’t going to let that setback get them down. In a heroic charge through the field, von Zabiensky and Lenerz worked their way up to fifth position, their strongest result in the GT4 series to date.
Sunday’s quali likewise left the two drivers facing an uphill struggle, as they once again fell short of their own expectations with a P15 on the grid. Lenerz was unfazed, however, launching himself into Sunday’s race with unstoppable forward momentum. Despite the first stint being neutralised more than once by safety car deployments, the 23-year-old steadily worked his way into the Top Ten. In the pit stop window, von Zabiensky took over the car in seventh place. In a blistering final sprint, he fought off the challenge of several opponents to cross the finish line in eighth place at the end of the 60-minute contest.
Marcel Lenerz: “Those two races were pretty cool. Finishing fifth on Saturday came as a bit of a surprise to us. It was a great performance from the whole team. The car ran perfectly, and Michi was really strong. We had a lot of fun in the first race. Eighth position on Sunday is still a satisfactory outcome after things didn’t go optimally for us in qualifying, where we couldn’t quite hit on the perfect tyre pressure. The balance wasn’t right and the grid position definitely didn’t reflect our true capabilities. I think we proved that with our fightback in the race. I have full confidence in the team that we will have the tyres sorted out at the next event in Zandvoort. I can’t wait to go on the attack again.”
Michael von Zabiensky: “It was a simply awesome weekend. We experimented with the setup at the beginning, so it wasn’t easy, especially in qualifying. I wasn’t happy with 17th on the grid, but in the race itself, we definitely improved and showed that we have competitive pace. To finish fifth in the first race was a great performance from the team, and Marcel was very strong again. The whole team and we as drivers are getting better and better in GT4. On Sunday, we had some technical issues, but we were still good enough for the Top Ten. All things considered, I think it was a decent performance that we can build on for the future.”
Team principal André Schubert: “We would have been delighted if we could have repeated last year’s victory in the ADAC GT Masters in Spielberg, but our luck ran out at the decisive moment. The whole team worked outstandingly to maximise the potential of the BMW M6 GT3 on this circuit. Victory on Saturday would have been the deserved reward for all the effort we put in. We compensated for the disappointment to some extent with the podium in the second race. Nick really went all out in the closing minutes to make sure we were up there this weekend after all. At the end of the day, we can take away a lot of positives. We were competitive again and scored some vital championship points. We can also be satisfied with our results in the ADAC GT4 Germany. There is still room for improvement, of course, but we are heading in the right direction. I’m sure we’ll enjoy further success with the BMW M4 GT4 in the near future.”