|Review:||LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler/ALPINA takes ADAC GT Masters lead with a win|
Lunardi/Margaritis retook the lead in the ADAC GT Masters at the Belgium round of the popular sportscar series at Zolder. Alexandros Margaritis and Dino Lunardi drove to their second victory of the 2011 season and scored a second place finish in two races in their BMW ALPINA B6 GT3. The two ADAC GT Masters-newcomers Alex Plenagl and Florian Spengler also experienced their best result of the season in the fiercely contested ADAC GT Masters, when they saw the chequered flag in sixth position in Saturday’s race.
A good qualifying effort of Margaritis and Lunardi with a front and second-row starting position set the foundation for the Engstler/ALPINA success in Belgium. Margaritis started third of the grid in Saturday’s race and quickly took over second position. After the driver change, Lunardi maintained the second position and finally scored the third podium finish in the fifth race of the season for Engstler/ALPINA. Alex Plenagl qualified the second, white BMW ALPINA B6 GT3 for a brilliant fifth place in tricky wet conditions in only his third qualifying season with the V8-engine powered BMW ALPINA. During the race, the strong performance of Plenagl and teammate Spengler continued, and they scored their best result of the season with a sixth place.
In Sunday’s second race, Lunardi started from the front row and fought for second position. The French hot-shoe finally took second place and chased the leading Audi. Immediately after the driver change, Margaritis took the lead when a stop-and-go- penalty was applied to the leading Audi R8 after a pit stop infringement and started to build a gap. But in a dramatic finish, when the BMW ALPINA was held up by some backmarkers, the Reiter Engineering Lamborghini driven by Albert, Prince of Thurn and Taxis came very close to Margaritis. During the final laps, Margaritis kept his cool and secured the second victory of the season of the BMW ALPINA B6 GT3 Evo 2011 and the seventh victory of ALPINA in the ADAC GT Masters. Plenagl und Spengler finished in 12th place.
“I really had to stretch myself in the last couple of laps“, a happy Alexandros Margaritis said after the champagne shower on the podium. „When the Audi was penalised, I could drive my own race and built a gap. But then some backmarkers held me up and I lost a solid seven or eight second lead. So the Lamborghini came very close. But luckily I could keep him behind me.“
“This is a fantastic result for everybody“, Dino Lunardi was pleased. “After the last weekend, everybody in the team worked quite hard. The BMW ALPINA was perfect in both races. The car was quick and the driveability was just great. With this fantastic result, we retook the championship lead. To be in the championship lead at this point is very important for the rest of the season.“
“I’m really happy that we made the most out of the weekend“, Andreas Bovensiepen, ALPINA general manager and head of motorsport, said after the race. „The victory proved once again that the BMW ALPINA B6 GT3 is a versatile race car, which is quick on every kind of circuit. One of our strength is also a strong driver pairing. Alex Margaritis and Dino Lunardi are equally quick, that gives us a big advantage. We had a successful weekend at Zolder, but this is no reason to rest. We will keep improving and will optimize certain details for the next race.“
Alexandros Margaritis and Dino Lunardi are now in the championship lead with a 16-point advantage. In the team championship, the LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler is currently third, only three points behind the championship leading team. The next ADAC GT Masters-round will take place from 8 to 10th July in conjunction with the Truck-Grand-Prix at the Nürburgring. The famous track in the Eiffel Mountains is one of the most successful tracks for ALPINA. In three of the four last ADAC GT Masters races at the Nürburgring, ALPINA took the victory.
Watch ALPINAs progress in the 2011 ADAC GT Masters here:
2011 ADAC GT Masters ALPINA results