Schubert Motorsport deliver at home race in Oschersleben: Strong performance by the BMW M4 GT3 on its ADAC GT Masters debut
The long wait was worth it. Last weekend at the season opener of the ADAC GT Masters 2022, Schubert Motorsport entered the BMW M4 GT3 for the first time in the top-class GT3 series. The home races at the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben proved a successful first assessment for the new car. On the circuit just a few hundred metres from the team's headquarters, BMW works drivers Jesse Krohn and Nicky Catsburg narrowly missed out on the podium in Sunday's race, finishing fourth. This strong result was preceded by eighth place in the field of 22 competitors the day before.
In the sister car, Niklas Krütten and Ben Green showed a solid learning curve. On Saturday, the rookies scored their first points in the super sports car league right away with eleventh place. In the second race, the youngsters showed a lot of fighting spirit on the 3.667-kilometre circuit in the Magdeburger Börde and only just missed out on a points-scoring result. In the ADAC GT4 Germany, debutant Patrick Steinmetz and teammate Michael von Zabiensky each put in a spirited fight in the BMW M4 GT4 and came away with a championship point.
ADAC GT Masters
BMW M4 GT3 #20 (Jesse Krohn/Nicky Catsburg)
Qualifying 1: P10 - Race 1: P8
Qualifying 2: P7 - Race 2: P4
The BMW factory driver duo made a solid debut for the BMW M4 GT3 with fifth place in Friday's second practice session. Krohn was strong in the first qualifying session, but a red flag prevented him from making the first row of the grid. His personal best time was cancelled as a result of the stoppage, whereupon he started Saturday's race from tenth place. The 31-year-old worked his way up to seventh position in a determined first stint before handing the car over to Catsburg. The Dutchman held his own in the top-10 after the driver change and crossed the finish line in eighth place after one hour race distance.
In the second qualifying session, Catsburg once more secured a good grid spot in seventh place. At the start of Sunday's race, the 34-year-old made no prisoners and immediately moved up to fourth position with a spectacular first lap. In the first stint, he kept up with the leading group before handing over to Krohn halfway through the race. After the driver change, the Finn turned up the pressure and fought an impressive battle for the last place on the podium. At the finish line, he was beaten by a mere half a second and secured fourth place.
Jesse Krohn: "Overall, we can be very satisfied with the weekend. We had two consistent races and scored good points. Saturday was a bit unfortunate. We definitely could have done better. After the bad luck in qualifying, we had a small problem during the pit stop, which cost us time. But we made the best of the situation nonetheless. Sunday went smoothly and fourth place was a very good result. All in all, the first races with the BMW M4 GT3 in the ADAC GT Masters were extremely positive. I'm already looking forward to the next event at the Red Bull Ring."
Nicky Catsburg: "My first race weekend with Schubert Motorsport was really nice. For sure there was more in it on Saturday. Jesse drove a great lap in qualifying, but the red flag decided the outcome of our race. Otherwise, we would have had a different starting position. Things went better on Sunday. We didn't quite have the pace for the podium, but I overtook some competitors in the first stint and we are very happy with fourth place. The team did an excellent job. We have steadily improved the car and executed the races flawlessly. It was a promising start to the season and I felt very comfortable in the team. I can hardly wait for the next race."
ADAC GT Masters
BMW M4 GT3 #10 (Niklas Krütten/Ben Green)
Qualifying 1: P15 - Race 1: P11
Qualifying 2: P22 - Race 2: P16
The rookies in the colours of Schubert Motorsport showed a positive trend from the outset on their first weekend in the ADAC GT Masters. After Krütten and Green had stayed close to the top-20 in the practice sessions, the Brit managed to improve in qualifying on Saturday. Green qualified the number 10 car in 15th grid position and put in a brilliant first stint in the race. He made up five places on the opening lap. During the pit stop window he handed over to Krütten. The 19-year-old defended himself well against the chasing group in the second half of the race and secured valuable points in eleventh place.
With 22nd place on the grid, the newcomers had a lot of work ahead of them in the second race. Krütten made up ground in the early stages and moved up to 17th position. In heavy traffic, however, the young driver's forward momentum stalled. After the pit stop, Green rejoined the action in 19th position. The 24-year-old worked his way up to 16th position by the chequered flag, but was unable to catch up with the top 15. After the points result of the previous day, Green and Krütten missed out on the points by a whisker.
Niklas Krütten: "The weekend was not easy. We were looking for the right balance for the car and it was quite a challenge. I couldn't get a good lap together in my qualifying session, which made the second race a difficult task for us. Oschersleben is not an easy place to overtake, but we made the best of it and gained some positions. The pace was much better in the race and we are looking forward to the weekend in Spielberg."
Ben Green: "I really enjoyed my debut in the ADAC GT Masters. The atmosphere in the team is fantastic and I feel very comfortable. The races were great fun and it was great to be fighting in the midfield in both races. It definitely made me hungry for more. I'm confident that we can be racing further up the pack at the Red Bull Ring. We learned a lot as a team this weekend and now have a solid baseline to build upon."
ADAC GT4 Germany
BMW M4 GT4 #10 (Patrick Steinmetz/Michael von Zabiensky)
Qualifying 1: P23 - Race 1: P18
Qualifying 2: P28 - Race 2: P15
For Patrick Steinmetz and Michael von Zabiensky, the opening round of the ADAC GT4 Germany was an instructive first assessment. The GT4 newcomer finished 23rd in qualifying on Saturday. In the first race, he showed a spirited fight, so that von Zabiensky took over in 14th place after the driver change. In the hard-fought second stint, the 21-year-old dropped back to 18th position. Sunday held another busy afternoon in store. As a result of a difficult qualifying session, von Zabiensky started from 28th position on the grid in the second race. Already in the first half of the race, the momentum was on their side. After one hour, Steinmetz saw the chequered flag in 15th place, thus securing a point for the duo.
Patrick Steinmetz: "The weekend was a big challenge. We struggled with the setup and felt it in qualifying. The race pace was there in both races and we made progress. That encourages us, but we have to improve in qualifying to have a better starting position from the outset. If we manage to acheive that, consistent points are a realistic goal."
Michael von Zabiensky: "At the test a two weeks before we had found a great set-up, but on the race weekend we suddenly found it very difficult to find the right balance. We had a lot of understeer and the guys really went all out to sort out the set-up. Unfortunately, we didn't make the most of the qualifying sessions. There was certainly more in it in that second race. I had a good start but was hit by a rival on the rear. The balance was affected by that, but we still made good progress. In the future we just have to start further up front. Many thanks to the whole team for their tireless efforts."
Team Manager Marcel Schmidt: "The start of the ADAC GT Masters season went absolutely according to plan for us. First of all, it is of course nice to have performed so well on our doorstep. But it was also an important test for us. We had an ideal preparation for the first race with the BMW M4 GT3 and the results provided proof of our good work.. Having Nicky and Jesse on the grid this weekend was extremely important to have a benchmark with the new car. The whole crew did an excellent job from setup to strategy. Ben and Niklas can be really proud of their result in Saturday's race. The second race was a bit of a setback, but that's part of the learning process. Overall, we are very happy with our performance. We can build on this basis."