|Review:||Claudia Hürtgen tests the air at the front in the BMW ALPINA B6 GT3 - the Buchloe race team spend nearly 40 minutes in P1!|
After 20 years of abstinence from motor racing, ALPINA have managed to lead the top-flight FIA GT3 European Championship field in only their third GT3 race. On Sunday, Claudia Hürtgen started the weekend's 2nd race from third, and under tricky, drying conditions, moved the #24 BMW ALPINA B6 GT3 up to first in only two laps. Hürtgen was able to keep a comfortable gap to the Team Hexis Aston Martin DBRS and the two Audi R8s from the Phoenix and Rosberg Teams, respectively, and led all the way to the mandatory driver change. Csaba Walter took over in 2nd after the stop, lying two seconds adrift of the leading Aston Martin. He held this position until shortly before the end of the race, but lost control of his B6 due to a heavy attack from Christopher Mies in the Audi R8. As they exited the last turn onto the front straight, Mies pushed the BMW ALPINA hard in the right rear, forcing Walter’s B6 GT3 into a spin which ended with a solid shunt into the wall across from the pits.
Hürtgen and Walter had already achieved an excellent result in Saturday’s 1st race of the weekend, finishing 5th after starting the race from 6th position. The two rookies, Jens Klingmann and Chris Mamerow, proved to be a perfect pairing in the #25 BMW ALPINA B6 GT3. Mamerow qualified the B6 on the front row in position two, and held 3rd place all the way to the mandatory driver change. Shortly after the driver change the power steering failed in car #25. 18-year-old Klingmann forced the bright-green racer around the challenging Motorsportarena Oschersleben course with all his might, despite the failure and the B6 GT3’s 300mm (12in) wide front tyres. The power steering failure cost the ALPINA team about two seconds per lap, though, landing the BMW ALPINA in 10th place at the end from 2nd at the start. In Sunday’s 2nd race, Klingmann planned to pilot the #25 B6 from his solid 5th starting position, but technical gremlins struck again, forcing a late start one lap down on the field. Due to this, Klingmann/Mamerow only managed 22nd out of thirty starters in the field, this despite consistently excellent lap times.
The next FIA GT3 race will be in mid-September in Portugal. The Buchloe team’s next race will be the ADAC Masters race on 23rd August at the Nürburgring. ”This gives us some time to deal with and sort out our technical teething problems, though we’ve already shown that the BMW ALPINA B6 GT3 has got the stuff to run at the front. We can look forward to our next races with great optimism, ” said team boss Andy Bovensiepen.