Schubert Motorsport had expected their trip to the Eifel to turn out quite differently. Despite all their hard work, the second race weekend of their first season back in the ADAC GT Masters did not bring the success they desired. The outfit from Oschersleben faced a major challenge with their BMW M6 GT3 right from the start at the Nürburgring due to the way the car’s balance of performance. The last time the super sports car from Munich finished on the podium at the Nürburgring was in 2017. In the circumstances, the steep rise in form experienced at the Lausitzring did not continue as expected.
In Friday practice, Schubert’s #9 and #10 were in the bottom third of the field of 36 GT3 cars. But the time monitors showed that rookies Nick Yelloly and Henric Skoog still had the fastest BMW M6 GT3 with 26th place in the first session of the weekend. Skoog also popped up in third place in practice for the 19 Trophy and Junior drivers.
Work on the BMW M6 GT3’s setup did not bear fruit on Saturday despite an improvement in position compared to the practice sessions. Skoog qualified car #10 in 24th position in Q1. At only four tenths of a second, the deficit on the place in the Top Ten that they had hoped to secure before the weekend was manageable. Aidan Read in the sister car struggled to find his rhythm and qualified 34th.
In Saturday’s race, the Australian and his Swedish team-mate Joel Eriksson pushed forwards relentlessly and crossed the line in 24th position. In a turbulent race, Yelloly and Skoog were unable to make it into the points by charging up the field as planned. They were in 20th place when a drive-through penalty halted all progress in its tracks. An inadvertent mistake during the pit stop was their undoing and ultimately led to P27 in the final classifications.
On Sunday, Yelloly achieved the team’s best qualifying result of the weekend with 19th place on the grid. The Brit had the fastest BMW M6 GT3 of the session and was within half-a-second of pole position. Eriksson finished his second qualifying session in the Super Sports Car League on the 13th row of the grid. 28 cars were covered by one second, indicating once again just how competitive racing in the series has become this season.
Read and Eriksson made progress again in Race 2 with 19th place. Car #9 missed the points by just four places. Their team-mates were also out of luck on Sunday as Yelloly and Skoog finished the race in P21. And so, after a tough weekend, points in the Junior classification were the only thing they had to show for all their efforts. Read and Skoog added 17 and 13 points respectively to their scores.
Team Principal André Schubert: “The Nürburgring is not a circuit that suits the BMW M6 GT3’s strengths, but still, we expected a lot more. We were heading in the right direction during the opening weekend at the Lausitzring and travelled to the Eifel buoyed with that impetus, thinking we had something to build on. The team worked hard to get setup absolutely right. The deficit on the cars in the Top Ten was manageable, but in this tight field, we still finished out of the points. We’ll draw a line under the weekend, mark it down as a lesson learnt for the future and look ahead to the next race. There were some positives, despite the disappointment. We mustn’t lose sight of the fact that we have three rookies in our squad. Their learning curve is really impressive and should be taken into account. Our drivers are capable of making full use of the BMW’s strengths and we intend to build on that at the Hockenheimring, since our car should run much better there.”
Joel Eriksson: “For a variety of reasons, this was not the weekend we had hoped for. We have a lot to do before the next round at the Hockenheimring. I will work hard with the team to resolve the issues. I feel confident that we can make a great deal of progress in the right direction at Hockenheim.”
Aidan Read: “It was another complicated weekend for all of us, but I still see things positively, because we did our best within the bounds of what was possible. We made progress on Sunday, achieving a significant improvement in pace compared to the first race. Also, both Joel and I drove two clean races and are happy with that. We were consistently fast and had good rhythm. That makes us feel good about ourselves and confirms that the preparations made for race weekends were the right ones. However, we are well aware that we must keep pushing in order to do better in the upcoming races. We’re looking forward to Hockenheim and will use the time until then to put in some more work.”
Nick Yelloly: “Once again, our weekend wasn’t at all easy. There are race tracks that suit the BMW much better and we must focus on getting the maximum out of the car at them. The Hockenheimring will certainly suit us more with its long straights and flowing turns. I feel quite optimistic and am looking forward to the next round of races. In the meantime, we will continue to work on optimising our package. The team is doing its utmost and I’m pretty certain that we will score points and finish in the Top Ten. The field is extremely competitive and every fraction of a second gained will bring us a little closer to our goal.”
Henric Skoog: “The Nürburgring has never been easy for the BMW in the past and that proved to be the case for us again this weekend. While results did not live up to our expectations, I myself was more satisfied with my performance this time around. I felt more self-confident and better than I did at the Lausitzring, even though at first sight, my final positions might not reflect that. Speaking of positions, I have to say, I find it very frustrating, for sure. The team works really hard, so we expect some payback for our efforts. Still, we won’t let it get us down. The mood in the team is good and we all share a common goal. We intend to strike back with greater force.”
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