Huge potential goes unrewarded at Hockenheimring: Top result in ADAC GT Masters eludes Schubert Motorsport
The Hockenheimring weekend turned out to be relentlessly tough on Schubert Motorsport. The Oschersleben-based outfit had travelled to the penultimate race meetings of the ADAC GT Masters and ADAC GT4 Germany, not having the highest of expectations, but despite their initial thoughts, Nick Yelloly and Jesse Krohn were top contenders for positions once again in the International German GT Championship at the wheel of their BMW M6 GT3. But, after experiencing bad luck in the two races, top-class results ultimately eluded the two BMW works drivers while Marcel Lenerz and Michael von Zabiensky were forced to wage a hopeless battle right from the start in the ADAC GT4 Germany, as they were hampered by the BMW M4 GT4’s Balance of Performance.
ADAC GT Masters weekend under an unlucky star for Schubert Motorsport
Schubert Motorsport had originally set themselves the target of securing two points-scoring finishes for their BMW M6 GT3 in the races at the Hockenheimring. Yelloly and Krohn’s P8 early on in FP1 gave the team hope that more might be possible at the famous circuit in south-west Germany. Drivers and crew confirmed their strong form from practice in fine style later on Saturday. In Q1, Krohn secured eleventh position on the grid in a field of 28 GT3 cars after delivering a strong performance.
The first race around the Hockenheimring 4.57km GP circuit was going really well and things looked extremely promising for quite a spell after Krohn had worked his way up into ninth position during the first stint. Yelloly pushed hard following the driver handover and went on the offensive, taking advantage of the fact that the field had been neutralised twice and cars bunched close together. He took fifth place in the closing stages of the race but suffered a puncture in a scrap just a few minutes before the end. The incident forced him into the pits, which cost the #10 BMW M6 GT3 a top-class result once more.
Following the disappointment, Yelloly hit back with all his might in qualifying on Sunday. He set the second-fastest lap time, missing out on pole position by a mere 99 thousandths of a second. The crew had every intention of making up for things in the second round but their efforts came to nought despite having been in an amazing position as the cars got away off the line. British driver Yelloly collided with a fellow competitor on the approach to the hairpin in the scrum for position at the start and then had to serve a drive-through penalty. Damage suffered in the collision ultimately led to him being forced to retire before the end.
Nick Yelloly: “Unfortunately, this weekend was none too brilliant. The first race was going well until we punctured in a contact with another car. Having to retire so close to the finish was a bitter pill to swallow but qualifying on Sunday was terrific. Tyres weren’t quite up to temperature at the start and I struggled a little. The restart went better, but unfortunately, I misjudged the difference in speed between my car and the one in front and we collided. That was absolutely not the race outcome we had been looking for, but it’s just how it goes sometimes. Still, we definitely hope to finish the season on a high at the Nürburgring.”
BoP presents BMW M4 GT4 with mountain to climb at Hockenheim
Schubert Motorsport had plenty of momentum behind them in the ADAC GT4 Germany after the Sachsenring round, but it was impossible for Marcel Lenerz and Michael von Zabiensky to achieve a repeat of their podium success at the weekend. The BMW M4 GT4 had had its wings clipped at Hockenheim due to the Balance of Performance and as a result, Schubert Motorsport’s engineers faced a hopeless battle despite a great deal of really excellent work on setup.
24-year-old Lenerz qualified 23rd on the grid in Q2, making him the second-fastest BMW driver in the field of 32 GT4 cars after the best-placed driver of any of the other BMWs in the field had qualified just one place ahead of him. Schubert’s two-man crew booked 21st and 24th in the races with Saturday’s result being good enough to earn them three championship points. This may be only Schubert Motorsport’s first season in the competition, but still, they have managed to take points without fail from the first nine races. However, they came away with nothing to show for their hard work for the first time after Race 2 at the Hockenheimring.
Marcel Lenerz: “The way our car was classified at Hockenheim was really disappointing. Top speed down the straights is the ace in the pack as far as our BMW is concerned and that’s where we have to make up time, but that was totally out of the question given the current Balance of Performance as was also made evident in the case of the five other BMWs which were also uncompetitive. The team did a fantastic job once again with set-up, but unfortunately, it was all for nothing. What’s more, the behaviour of some drivers left a lot to be desired in the races. Track limits were practically never respected and the race stewards never intervened. Hopefully, we’ll be back in contention at the Nürburgring and drivers will rediscover their manners out on track.”
Michael von Zabiensky: “This weekend was very problematic as far as we’re concerned. The team did a brilliant job and we tried lots of things, but nothing turned out the way we had wanted because of the Balance of Performance. We were really down on top speed which you need in spades at the Hockenheimring. We had no chance, as the engine’s power had been throttled back tremendously. It was tough, but we mustn’t be down-hearted now. There are still two races to go and we hope to be in a position to perform properly again in the finale.”
Team Manager Marcel Schmidt: “We were expecting a tough weekend at Hockenheim but never deserved what was on the menu. The way our BMW M6 GT3 performed in the ADAC GT Masters was a nice surprise, for sure. The crew did a fantastic job again and both Nick and Jesse showed excellent pace. We put in a strong performance and missed pole by the narrowest of margins. Unfortunately, everything went against us in the races. We had bad luck to begin with, which was subsequently made worse by mistakes. It’s really tough, because we should have achieved much more here. However, we’ve got nothing to reproach ourselves with as far as the ADAC GT4 Germany is concerned. The whole team did their absolute best but had no chance because of the Balance of Performance. We really hope that the organiser will improve things in that respect before the Nürburgring.”