Schubert Motorsport in the Top Ten in appalling Lausitzring weather
- Points for BMW M6 GT3 #10 at penultimate meeting of 2020 ADAC GT Masters
- Sheldon van der Linde from the DTM makes a terrific substitute for BMW works driver Nick Yelloly
- Team Principal André Schubert: “All things considered, we can be very pleased with our performance. The crew did an excellent job.”
Schubert Motorsport had a testing time in many ways during this penultimate weekend of the 2020 ADAC GT Masters. The Oschersleben-based outfit were without the services of Red Bull Ring race winner Nick Yelloly as they competed for a second time this season at the Lausitzring. The BMW works driver was unable to take part due to illness and was replaced by fellow BMW driver Sheldon van der Linde. This five-star replacement from the DTM proved his worth as a substitute for Yelloly. He did extremely well behind the wheel of the BMW M6 GT3 in the toughest of conditions and along with Henric Skoog, achieved another top-ten finish in the field of 30 GT3 cars.
Zandvoort was originally meant to be the venue for this sixth ADAC GT Masters race meeting, but a trip to the Netherlands was out of the question because of the current situation with the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, racing took place on the 4.53-km configuration of the Lausitzring, which presented team and drivers with a particularly tricky challenge in the rain. Joel Eriksson and Aidan Read demonstrated to good effect the team’s strong form in the wet with P4 and P11 in practice while van der Linde used the time to get accustomed to the BMW M6 GT3.
In Q1, it was down to Read and Skoog to show their potential in the rain. While the Swede qualified car number 10 in 16th position, making theirs the best-placed BMW in the field, Read had problems with the balance in the sister car and was only 27th. In the race, Skoog was heading for a points-scoring result in the first stint when another competitor made him spin off and drop back down the field to P26. He and van der Linde subsequently fought their way up into P16. After the race, though, 14 of the 25 cars that had been classified were handed penalties by the stewards. As a result, Skoog and van der Linde were bumped down into 19th. The same thing happened to Read and Eriksson, who were ultimately 20th in the classification and not 18th.
Sunday got off to a promising start with a strong qualifying session for Sweden’s Eriksson and van der Linde, his South African partner in the BMW, who qualified seventh and tenth respectively for the second race. In a rain-hit first stint, they comfortably managed to stay in the Top Ten. The weather improved half-way through the race in time for the driver handover. Skoog mastered the changing conditions well as the track dried and crossed the finish line in tenth place after an hour of racing time. Read was also on his way to a points-scoring finish when there was a contact in a scrap, causing him to drop back to the rear of the field. In the end, he had to settle for P24 in car number 9.
Team Principal André Schubert: “I’m not sure at the end of the day whether we preferred the wet conditions or the sunshine. At the Lausitzring, we would like to have found out exactly how much progress we have made with setup since the season opener at the track. Unfortunately, it was not possible to make a direct comparison in view of the lottery in the rain. All things considered, we can be very pleased with our performance. The crew did an excellent job. We made a good call with setup on the BMWs in making changes overnight to suit the changing conditions. Achieving a result in the Top Ten means we were very successful given the circumstances. Sheldon made a terrific job of standing in for Nick. Unfortunately, racing luck was not on our side. We might have been able to achieve even more but for the no-fault collisions.”
Henric Skoog: “Ultimately, I’m very pleased with tenth place. Conditions were extremely tough and I’ve not had all that much experience with the BMW in the rain. But still, I felt good right from the start and gradually gained confidence in the car as the weekend progressed. Our pace was competitive and Sheldon did a great job. It was just a shame that I got taken out in the first race. Had that not happened, we might perhaps have taken points on both days.”
Joel Eriksson: “Our pace was much better than the results suggest. We showed our potential in practice, but unfortunately, were unable to show it in the races. And yes, we were made to struggle more, but then on the other hand, we were simply unlucky with the way the races went. Nevertheless, this is no time to show any signs of frustration – we prefer to look ahead. It would be really great if we could end the season on a high in the team’s home fixture at Oschersleben.”
Aidan Read: “All in all, it was a tough weekend for us. Our pit stops were not optimal in either race and we also had bad luck on the track. It’s imperative that we quickly draw a line under events, as we’ve got an important meeting ahead of us. Oschersleben is Schubert Motorsport’s home round, and I’m really looking forward to it. I will do my very best to end the season with a strong weekend.”