Deliverance for Schubert Motorsport during fifth race weekend of the 2020 ADAC GT Masters at the Red Bull Ring – with a win and fastest race lap on Saturday, Henric Skoog and Nick Yelloly produced the first big highlight of the year for the Oschersleben-based outfit now in its first season back in the ADAC GT Masters. The duo seized their chances and really excelled at a circuit well-suited to the driving characteristics of the BMW M6 GT3, giving the Bavarian car its first major triumph of the year in the ADAC GT Masters.
Schubert Motorsport started the races in Austria with high ambitions after posting their first top-ten result of the season at the Sachsenring. Early on Friday, the engineers and drivers showed great skill in bringing the strengths of the BMW Motorsport GT3 racing car to the fore around the 4.31-km Formula 1 racetrack in Styria. Joel Eriksson kicked off the race weekend with tenth place for car number 9 in FP1 while Yelloly brought the sister car home in P2 in second practice.
Their team-mates faced tricky conditions on Saturday morning. Q1 took place on a drying track. GT3 newcomer, 24-year-old Skoog, mastered the final frantic phase really well and drove to an excellent second place on the grid, just two tenths of a second adrift of pole position. Team-mate Aidan Read was 14th, safely within striking distance of the Top Ten, but did not live up to his own expectations.
Skoog from Sweden took the lead at the start of the race with a determined manoeuvre around the outside of Turn 1. He steadily drew away from his rivals during the first stint and set the fastest lap of the race. After handing the car over to Yelloly, his partner subsequently extended his lead on the pack chasing him and took a comfortable win, their first as team-mates in the ADAC GT Masters. Skoog also won the Junior classification for drivers under 25 for the first time. Read and Eriksson in P11 rounded off a great team effort with a result in the points.
Sunday began with another strong team performance in qualifying. 29-year-old Yelloly from the UK missed his first pole position in the ADAC GT Masters by a mere four hundredths of a second, which translated into P4 on the grid in this hard-fought field of 30 GT3 racing cars. Eriksson qualified seventh and was one tenth of a second down on the fastest time of the session.
In contrast to Saturday, Race 2 was much more turbulent. Making a good start, Yelloly initially moved up into second position and then put constant pressure on the leader. An attempted overcut during the pit stops was almost a success as Skoog emerged back on track just a few metres behind the leader. Shortly afterwards, though, Skoog like many other drivers in the race was handed a penalty for ignoring track limits. Yelloly and Skoog were classified fifth after the addition of an extra ten seconds to their race time. Sunday ended early for Eriksson and Read. They were forced to retire with a defect after 21 laps while lying in fourth place.
Team Principal André Schubert: “We are mega pleased to have finally achieved this breakthrough. The Red Bull Ring was our chance and the team seized it with both hands. I am very proud of the entire team’s performance. The engineers got the maximum out of the package and our drivers used the potential to good effect on Saturday. Henric and Nick had the race under control from the start and never left our first victory in the 2020 ADAC GT Masters in any doubt. The BMW M6 GT3 is simply at home on this racetrack and we’ve shown that our team can post a win given the right circumstances. It was very unfortunate that we missed the podium on Sunday because of a penalty. It’s a shame too that the sister car was not at its best all weekend. There was a lot more in it for Joel and Aidan. Still, after taking the win, sheer joy and relief are the feelings that predominate.”
Nick Yelloly: “The Red Bull Ring’s characteristics really suit the BMW and Schubert Motorsport gave us a great car. I knew we had a strong package from the very first lap. Henric was fantastic in qualifying and in the race on Saturday. He made my job of getting the car home safely in the second stint pretty easy. It feels terrific to have won our first race in the ADAC GT Masters and to have achieved Schubert Motorsport’s maiden victory with the BMW M6 GT3. Q2 showed just how close things are in this series. We were on course for a podium in the second race, but then Henric got a penalty. It would have been nicer to have finished the weekend as runners-up, but nevertheless, it was a very positive outcome for both team and BMW.”
Henric Skoog: “I’m really very proud of our performance this weekend. We were extremely fast even with additional ballast in the car. The engineers did an incredible job. Our pace was amazing and the balance absolutely perfect. I would like to thank Schubert Motorsport and my team-mate. This win means a lot to me. I am ecstatic and very happy for the team. They have worked so hard for this success. It’s a shame that a podium did not come our way on Sunday. It was my mistake. I accepted the penalty, I have to, but will learn from it.”
Aidan Read: “Our weekend was pretty tough. There was a chance of a result in the Top Ten on Saturday and a top-five finish was even a possibility in the second race. Things just didn’t go according to plan. I didn’t manage to post a perfect lap in Q1 and had to retire the car immediately after the driver handover in Sunday’s race because of a mechanical problem. The only thing we can do is focus on the future. The team did their utmost and we showed that we can compete up front. I’m still optimistic, because there are two race weekends left, so we can still finish the season with a good result.”
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