Stormy debut: second place on first outing in Blancpain Sprint Series
BMW Sports Trophy Team Schubert enjoyed a more than successful start to life in the Blancpain Sprint Series. The team from Oschersleben (DE) competed with a BMW Z4 GT3 for the first time on the third race weekend in Zandvoort (NL). In Sunday’s main race, Dominik Baumann (AT) and Thomas Jäger (AT) made it onto the podium at the first attempt: in a spectacular race in fluctuating weather conditions, the duo crossed the finish line in second place.
Following the Nürburgring 24 Hours (DE), Schubert Motorsport decided to expand its programme for 2014 and contest the remaining races in the Blancpain Sprint Series, as well as the second half of the ADAC GT Masters. Stefan Wendl’s (DE) team made its first appearance in the series at the iconic “Circuit Park” (NL) on the North Sea coast.
Baumann and Jäger attracted attention for the first time in Saturday’s qualifying race, which took place in difficult weather conditions. Starting from 12th, they launched an impressive fightback. After 20 minutes, the onset of rain made the race a real challenge for drivers and teams alike. However, Baumann and Jäger mastered the task superbly and came home fifth in the number 76 BMW Z4 GT3 after two safety car periods.
Sunday’s main race was no less dramatic. A crash in turn one resulted in the safety car taking to the track. A few laps after the restart, Jäger pulled off a courageous overtaking manoeuvre to move into fourth place. He then came into the pits at the halfway point of the race. Baumann took over at the wheel of the number 76 BMW Z4 GT3 and made up another position in the pit lane. Baumann then profited from a spin by the car in front of him to move into second place. With the rain falling, the Austrian was able to gain up to 1.5 seconds per lap on the leader. However, with the track drying out he was unable to launch a decisive attack and eventually crossed the finish line in second place.
The next race takes place at the Slovakiaring (SK) on 24th August. That is followed by races in Portimao (PT), Zolder (BE) and Baku (AZ).
Stefan Wendl (Team Manager Schubert Motorsport): “I am extremely happy with this success. Nobody could have predicted such a fantastic start coming into the race. We were still struggling with a minor technical problem in the qualifying race, which prevented us from getting the result we had possibly hoped for. In the race itself, however, everything went superbly in fluctuating conditions. Dominik Baumann produced an outstanding display of driving. However, I must also compliment Thomas Jäger. He is relatively unexperienced in a GT car, but improved from lap to lap. His performance this weekend was superb. The mechanics also deserve a lot of praise. They executed superb pit stops. This was a success earned by the entire team.”
Dominik Baumann: “We are all totally happy. We could not have had a better debut in the series. We were not quite able to match the pace of the opposition in dry conditions. However, when the drizzle set in, we were able to take full advantage of the qualities possessed by the BMW Z4 GT3. Because of this, I was able to gradually close in on the leaders in the final phase of the race. Unfortunately the track then dried out slightly, meaning I was unable to launch a decisive overtaking manoeuvre. However, second place is a superb basis on which we can build for the next race.”
Thomas Jäger: “I could hardly have had a better first weekend in GT3. I am mega happy and very satisfied with the result. We had a small technical issue at the start, but our mechanics did a great job of solving it. After that our car was really quick. I made a good start – my first in a GT3 car – and managed to make up a position immediately. However, I had to let a rival through in turn one and dropped back into fifth. A few laps later, I regained fourth place and then handed the car over to Dominik. He did a superb job and secured a spot on the podium for us.”