|Review:||Good performance of Margaritis/Lunardi and ALPINA remained unrewarded|
ALPINA and the LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler showed once again a great performance with the BMW ALPINA B6 GT3 in the second round of the ADAC GT Masters at the Sachsenring. In front of 45.000 spectators, Alexandros Margaritis and Dino Lunardi fought for the victory in the second race on Sunday. With a great race strategy, the BMW ALPINA B6 GT3 dominated the first half of Sunday’s race. The great perfor- mance of the BMW ALPINA and Margaritis/Lunardi eventually remained unrewarded, after technical problems with the rear axle in the second part of the race. But there was still something to cheer about for ALPINA and the Engstler-Team, when Alex Plenagl and Florian Spengler not only took the class lead of the amateur championship within the ADAC GT Masters, but also took the point lead in the amateur standings.
Dino Lunardi had a front row starting position in Saturday’s first race and started second. The Frenchman lost one spot in the first corner, but was hot on the heels of the two leading Audi. After the mandatory driver change halfway through the race, Alex Margaritis continued to put pressure on the two leading Audi. The good per- formance of ALPINA and Margaritis/Lunardi came to a halt 20 minutes before the chequered flag felt, when Margaritis had to retire from the race after a technical fault at the drive train. Also Alex Plenagl and Florian Spengler showed a great performance in the second BMW ALPINA B6 GT3. The two talented hot-shoes scored a brilliant eight place finish in only their third race in the highly competitive ADAC GT Masters series and won not only the amateur class, but also took the points lead in the ama- teur championship.
In Sunday’s second race, the Engstler/ALPINA-Team impressed with a quick car and great strategy. A brief rain shower just before the start of the race caused tricky and slippery track conditions. When a major part of the frontrunners gambled and decided to start on slick tires into the race on the wet track, ALPINA team principal Andreas Bovensiepen made the call to start the race on rain tires. The strategy paid off, already in the first lap after the lights went to green, Margaritis took the race lead after starting from sixth position. Margaritis subsequently built a big gap on his pursuers and had an impressive 35-second lead half way through the race. Also a drive-trough- penalty couldn’t change the lead of the BMW ALPINA B6 GT3. The penalty was given to Margaritis, who was a little bit to early on the throttle, and overtook one competitor before the starting line, when the race was declared green after a safety-car start due to the wet track. A not trouble free pit stop then cost the lead, before Dino Lunardi had to retire from the race following an issue with the drive train. Also Alex Plenagl and Florian Spengler had bad luck and didn’t see the chequered flag in Sunday’s race.
„Our strategy was great today and we could have claimed a good victory today“, Alex Margaritis was convinced after the race. „Even with the drive-through-penalty, our strategy would have taken us to the win. Unfortunately the engine wouldn’t restart immediately after the pit stop and we lost a reasonable amount of time.“
„The strategy for this race was perfect,” Dino Lunardi said after the race. „After our win and a third-place finished in the first round at Oschersleben, this would have also been possible at this second meeting. We were quick at the Sachsenring, but lacked a bit of luck in both races.“
„Due to the very low ambient temperatures after the rain before the start, we decided to go for rain tires, as we didn’t expected the track to dry up soon“, ALPINA general Manager and head of motorsport department Andreas Bovensiepen said. „With the same strategy as our competitors, it would have been difficult for us today to run in the front, as the organisers increased the weight of the BMW ALPINA B6 GT3 with 30kg for Sunday’s race. During the pit stop, we lost some time. The change for slick tires wasn’t that perfect. For the next race, now our target is to optimize certain pit stop details and to solve the problems, that occurred at the rear axle, which normally worked without any difficulty.
The next round of the ADAC GT Master takes place from 10. – 12. June in Zolder/Belgium. ALPINA has some good memories on the former Formula 1 track. At the last ap- pearance of ALPINA with the BMW ALPINA B6 GT3 at Zolder in the 2009 FIA GT3 European Championship, ALPINA could claim a front row starting position and fini- shed second.
Check out our racing pages for the full ALPINA results:
ADAC GT Masters Round 2 Race Results
ADAC GT Masters 2011 Results Page