Pole position and three points scoring finishes for Schubert Motorsport in the ADAC GT Masters races at the Lausitzring
The return to the Lausitzring was an unexpected rollercoaster for Schubert Motorsport last weekend. From 19 to 21 August, the fifth stop in the 2022 ADAC GT Masters was on the agenda for the racing team from Oschersleben. An unfavourable balance of performance of the BMW M4 GT3 in the regulations of the racing series and moody weather made life difficult for the BMW M Motorsport team. Three points scoring results were a small reward for the crew's great efforts. BMW works driver Nicky Catsburg defied all the odds with a strategic masterstroke to claim the team’s second pole position of the season. However, he and BMW colleague Jesse Krohn were denied victory. Niklas Krütten and Ben Green defended their lead in the Junior classification with two flawless races in the sister car.
During preparations on Friday, it quickly became apparent to Schubert Motorsport that races nine and ten in this year's German GT Championship would be a tough slog. After the team had celebrated a double victory in the DTM at the Lausitzring, the competitiveness of the BMW M4 GT3 wasn’t quite the same this time due to the different balance of performance. The practice sessions took place on the 3.478 km long layout of the Lausitzring in dry conditions. In the second session, Krohn provided a small ray of hope with fourth place in the field of 22 GT3 cars.
However, a wet first qualifying session did not give Schubert Motorsport the opportunity to build on the valuable findings on Saturday. Grid positions 18 and 21 for Krütten and Krohn were a challenging starting position for the first 60-minute race. In persistent rain, the 31-year-old Finn and the 19-year-old from Trier made their way through the field. After a long first stint, Green and Catsburg took over the cars at the driver change in positions 12 and 13. In the second half of the race, they held their own in the difficult conditions and made up another place each by the time the chequered flag came out.
This feat of strength was followed by a tactical masterstroke in the second 20-minute qualifying session on Sunday. With the track drying, Catsburg put on slicks at just the right moment and drove to pole position with a superb lap. It was the first for the 34-year-old Dutchman in the ADAC GT Masters as well as the second for the BMW M4 GT3 in its debut season in the fiercely contested GT3 championship. Catsburg distanced the runner-up by more than a second. Green, meanwhile, secured a grid position on row eight.
The 24-year-old Briton and Krütten were successful in the second race with another fightback. Krütten took over the BMW M4 GT3 in 13th position at the pit stop and fought his way up to ninth in the second stint. His team-mates, on the other hand, once again were out of luck from pole position. After Catsburg had led the race comfortably, he missed the pit stop window stipulated in the regulations due to an issue with the radio. The resulting penalty robbed him and Krohn of any chance of a points result, so the team decided to retire the car.
In the overall standings, Schubert Motorsport occupies sixth place with two events still to go. Green and Krütten remain in fifth place in the driver classification. The duo continues to lead the Junior classification for drivers under 25 years of age with a commanding lead of 49.5 points. Krohn and Catsburg are twelfth overall. The next round of the ADAC GT Masters is scheduled for 23-25 September at the Sachsenring.
ADAC GT Masters
Jesse Krohn/Nicky Catsburg - BMW M4 GT3 #20
Qualifying 1: P21 - Race 1: P12
Qualifying 2: P1 - Race 2: DNF
Jesse Krohn: "Luck was once more not on our side. We lacked quite a lot of pace in the wet because we couldn't get the tyres into the working window. We were too far away on Saturday to fight for the top positions. But we stayed out of trouble and took all the points we could get. Sunday started very well with Nicky on pole and he did a mega job in the race as well. We had a nice lead before the driver change. Unfortunately, we lost the radio just in the one lap where we needed it. The penalty for missing the pit stop window was so severe that we decided not to continue."
Nicky Catsburg: "The weekend was up and down. The conditions in qualifying on Saturday were very tricky for our car. The race was not easy either, but we managed to move forward and had a decent run. On Sunday, things were working in our favour. We made the right decision to start on slicks right away in qualifying. Pole position felt very good. I felt we needed that morale boost a little bit. The race went great, but unfortunately we had no radio on the last lap of my stint. It was very unfortunate to lose the win or a podium in that way."
ADAC GT Masters
Niklas Krütten/Ben Green - BMW M4 GT3 #10
Qualifying 1: P18 - Race 1: P11
Qualifying 2: P16 - Race 2: P9
Niklas Krütten: "We had quite a bit of trouble in the rain on Saturday. Both in qualifying and in the race, we didn't find the right set-up to get the tyres working. In the second qualifying we changed to slicks a bit too late. Ben had a good start and I was able to gain four more positions in my stint. We can be happy with ninth place considering the circumstances. We got the maximum out of it, but for Sachsenring we really have to hope for a better balance of performance. Otherwise, we can only run in the race, but not fight at the front."
Ben Green: "The weekend at the Lausitzing was really tricky for us. We had a solid pace in the dry, but not so much in the rain. We worked well together in the team to improve the car, but it was a difficult two days for us. I really hope that we will be more competitive again in the last two race weekends."
Team Manager Marcel Schmidt: "It was certainly the most challenging weekend for us in the ADAC GT Masters so far this season. After the practice sessions, it was clear that we had a noticeable deficit in pace due to the balance of performance. As always, the crew did a very good job with the setup to compensate for the disadvantages in the best possible way. Unfortunately, the rain set us back on Saturday. Under these conditions, we were quite satisfied with the result in the first race. Sunday was a big setback. The pole position was a nice success for all of us to boost the motivation. In the race, things looked very good until the radio failed. We have to investigate what caused the problem. Everything was working perfectly both before and after the pit stop. It's very disappointing to lose the chance to win like that."