The Sachsenring roller-coaster really lived up to its reputation once again at the weekend, but during the fourth race meeting of the ADAC GT Masters season, Schubert Motorsport finally secured their first, much-anticipated finish in the Top Ten since rejoining the series – and they did it in style. Henric Skoog and BMW works driver Jesse Krohn made an extraordinary charge up through the field of 32 GT3 cars on the famous 3.67-km race track in the east of Germany on Sunday. The two drivers gained no less than 24 places on their way to a P7-finish after starting last.
Schubert Motorsport travelled to the Sachsenring with a clear goal in mind after showing at Hockenheim that they’re making good progress. Achieving another points-scoring finish was top of the agenda for the two driver pairings in the BMW M6 GT3s. Nick Yelloly was busy racing for BMW Motorsport in the USA, so fellow BMW driver, Jesse Krohn, was standing in for him in car number 10. The Finnish driver quickly found his feet alongside Skoog, as he has raced for the team previously. During Friday practice, the two of them, joined by team-mates Aidan Read and Joel Eriksson, kept in touch with the Top Ten by coming 13th and 14th respectively.
On Saturday morning, however, it proved impossible to repeat their strong performance from qualifying at Hockenheim. Setup changes to improve race pace had an adverse effect on performance over a single lap, which translated into P19 on the grid for Skoog and P25 for Read. Way down the field stuck in the depths of the midpack, the first race was a very turbulent affair. After finding themselves in P16 at times, Skoog and Krohn dropped back down to P20 after incurring penalties for being out of position at the start and for a pit stop violation. Their team-mates fared even worse – Eriksson had to retire car number 9 in the pits, suffering from a problem, with just five laps to go.
Sunday did not go as planned either with another penalty for Krohn in the BMW. He did not notice a red light in the pit lane during qualifying and was handed a penalty. He had to start Race 2 from 31st and last place as a result. Team-mate Eriksson was in P24 on the rolling grid. The early stages of the race were chaotic, but both Schubert Motorsport drivers kept on top of things. Eriksson was 16th as the first lap ended and Krohn 21st. Both of them gradually moved forward as the race progressed.
After the driver swap and a brief safety car period, their respective team-mates continued the battle to catch up in the two BMW M6 GT3s, setting out in P11 and P13 respectively. The second stint of the race was extremely hard-fought, but still, Swedish driver Skoog moved up four more positions and crossed the finish line in seventh place. This gave Schubert Motorsport their best result since returning to the ADAC GT Masters and also meant that Skoog finished runner-up in the Junior classification for drivers under 25. Read took the chequered flag in P11, rounding off a strong team result. However, he was classified 15th after being given a retrospective penalty for a minor contact with another competitor in a scrap. Despite that, though, it was enough to secure one point.
Team Principal André Schubert: “The Sachsenring was both our most successful and most difficult weekend of the season to date. We achieved our goal in several respects with the improvement in race setup that we’d been aiming for, plus, we finally made it into the Top Ten. I am very proud of our team. Our engineers and mechanics have worked very hard for this success and the drivers seized the initiative at the crucial moment. It’s a well-earned reward for their tireless efforts since the beginning of the season. On the other hand, though, we could see once again that there’s still room for improvement. Our qualifying sessions weren’t as strong as at Hockenheim and we simply made life more difficult for ourselves with penalties this weekend. We can’t afford to make mistakes like that if we want to achieve the best possible results.”
Joel Eriksson: “Saturday didn’t go as we would have wished with our DNF. The mechanics did a great job of sorting out the problem and got the car back in good shape in time for Sunday morning. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the pace in qualifying this time. We’ll have to work on that for the weekend at the Red Bull Ring. The second race therefore showed that we’ve made satisfactory progress with setup in terms of long run pace. We managed to establish the connection with the Top Ten and were quite pleased with our performance and P11. The stewards’ decision surprised us a little, though, but still, we had a great race.”
Aidan Read: “We had a really good race on Sunday. To finish eleventh on the track was just terrific. The penalty was disappointing, because as far as I’m concerned, the move was on. It was a normal wheel-to-wheel scrap and was, above all, fair racing. Still, I accept the stewards’ decision and we move on from it. The main thing is that we made good progress with setup and Sunday was an improvement on Saturday. The team did a fantastic job and swapped the engine out overnight after we had an issue. We improved our race pace in the second round and the car ran perfectly. It was nice to end the weekend on a positive note.”
Jesse Krohn: “We had a really good weekend, achieving the team’s best result so far this season. I was happy to be able to do my part for this success. We had a few difficulties in the first race but managed to put that behind us on Sunday. Although we had to start last, the team and Henric did an excellent job and we made it into the Top Ten. It’s really great that Schubert Motorsport and BMW are back in the ADAC GT Masters. These guys are so passionate about motor racing and that’s reflected in the atmosphere within the team. I’ve loved driving for them and hope to go chasing points again for them very soon.”
Henric Skoog: “In terms of pace, the whole weekend went quite well. Unfortunately, though, I made a few mistakes on Saturday that bumped us down the field. I was trying to avoid a contact at the start and found myself out of position as a result. Having to start from the rear of the field on Sunday was tough. Fortunately, we were able to improve our race pace considerably this weekend thanks to Jesse’s input. I’m very pleased with our progress. It felt incredible to make a comeback from the back of the field and finish in the Top Ten. Obviously, we benefited from the misfortunes of others, but still, we drove well and took a well-deserved result.”
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