ADAC GT Masters·8.6.2024

Kalender and Seppänen are unstoppable

Kalender/Seppänen extend their championship lead on the North Sea coast. First podium in the ADAC GT Masters for Walkenhorst Motorsport. Impressive comeback from Köhler and local favourite Oosten.

Landgraf Motorsport enjoyed a perfect race day in the ADAC GT Masters: Tom Kalender (Hamm/Sieg) and last year’s champion Elias Seppänen (FIN) converted pole position into their second win of the season in the third race of the year at the 4.259-kilometre Circuit Zandvoort. This was also the third podium for the duo in the Mercedes-AMG GT3. “A fantastic day for Tom and me. After a successful start, I was able to build a comfortable cushion ahead of the second-placed car and handed the car over from the lead,” said Seppänen, describing the first part of the race. Kalender took over behind the wheel for the second half: “The big gap back to the car behind me meant that all I actually had to do was manage that lead. Taking the chequered flag in first place again is a fantastic feeling, and one that we want to experience again on Sunday.” Second place went to Tim Zimmermann (Langenargen) and Chilean Benjamin Hites from Grasser Racing Team in a Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo2. Completing the podium in third place was the Aston Martin Vantage GT3 of Mike David Ortmann (Ahrensfelde) and Denis Bulatov (Cologne/both Walkenhorst Motorsport).

The podium after Saturday’s race at Circuit Zandvoort © Photo: ADAC

Seppänen took an early lead after making a good start from pole position. Behind him, David Schumacher (Salzburg/Haupt Racing Team) in second place became embroiled in an intense battle with the charging Hites. After several laps, the South American finally came out on top and hung onto second place through to the finish. “It was very important to get back on the podium. However, we were not competitive against the Mercedes-AMG. We all start from scratch again on Sunday,” said Hites after the race. Bulatov and Ortmann guided the new Aston Martin Vantage GT3 from fifth place on the grid to the first podium for Walkenhorst Motorsport. Bulatov was delighted with third place: “It is an incredible feeling. To finish in the top three has been our goal from the outset. To achieve that at our second event is fantastic.”

Leon Köhler and Maxime Oosten passed nine cars during their fightback © Photo: ADAC

The Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Finn Wiebelhaus (Obertshausen) and Jannes Fittje (Langenhain/both Haupt Racing Team) crossed the finish line in fourth place. Leon Köhler (Erlenbach am Main) and Dutch favourite Maxime Oosten produced a particularly impressive performance in the BMW M4 GT3 of FK Performance Motorsport. The duo stormed through from 14th on the grid to finish fifth. Schumacher and Salman Owega (Cologne) ended the race in sixth place. Michael and Johannes Kapfinger (both Team Joos by TwinBusch) were seventh in their Porsche 911 GT3 R. The Haupt Racing Team Mercedes-AMG GT3, with Max Reis (Ramstein) and Kwanda Mokoena (ZA) at the wheel, came home eighth. Ninth place went to the Fach Auto Tech pairing of Alexander Fach (CHE) and Alexander Schwarzer (D) in a Porsche 911 GT3 R. Swiss drivers Alain Valente and Jean-Luc D´Auria completed the top ten in a Ferrari 296 GT3 run by Emil Frey Racing.

The second qualifying on Sunday morning can be viewed live from 09:00 on the free YouTube channel @adacmotorsports. Television partner Sport1 is broadcasting race four of the season live on German free-to-air TV from 13:25.