Hockenheimring: Dennis Marschall rounds off debut season in the ADAC GT Masters with Top Ten finish
The grand finale of the 2017 ADAC GT Masters 2017 brought Dennis Marschall to home territory last weekend. In front of more than 18,000 spectators at the Hockenheimring, the 21-year-old from Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen near Karlsruhe (Baden-Württemberg) was competing on the seventh and last race weekend of his debut season in the Super Sports Car League. After a problematic Saturday and watched by a large contingent of sponsors and fans, Marschall came a creditable tenth in the second race. This brought him and his Aust Motorsport co-driver Patric Niederhauser their fifth championship point in the last seven races. After a strong second half to the season, Marschall finished sixth in the Junior classification and as second-best rookie overall.
Dennis Marschall talking about …
… his home race at the Hockenheimring: “The fact that this is my home race means a lot to me. The Hockenheimring has been a happy hunting ground for me in the past, and I always enjoy having the support of my family, friends and sponsors on this particular weekend. Even when we aren’t among the front-runners, the enthusiasm is still there. What’s more, it’s nice to have the opportunity to let the sponsors see the whole process from close up. I explained the car to them and took them on a guided tour of the garage, which was great fun. Of course, it would have been more satisfying if we had been competing nearer the front and they had had reason to cheer even louder. But I’m sure they enjoyed the weekend anyway.”
… the first race on the final weekend of the ADAC GT Masters 2017: “We had experimented a lot with the setup before the first quali, but unfortunately without success. 20th on the grid was a big disappointment. The prospects for the first race were therefore looking very poor. On the one hand, I wanted to progress through the field, but on the other hand, I wanted to avoid getting into a collision. At the original start, I did rather well and I was already up to P14 after the first few corners. Unfortunately, the race was then red-flagged because of a pile-up. After the second start, we tried to work our way forward with an early pit stop. I was in 16th place when I pulled into the pits for the change of the driver, and we then gained a position. Patric did a good job after that, and we eventually crossed the line in 13th. Considering our grid position, that was a decent result, but with a better quali, we might have done so much better.”
… the second race on the final weekend of the ADAC GT Masters 2017: “Sunday went much better for us than in the first race. Patric qualified 15th. At the start, he fell back a bit, but after that, his pace really picked up. Our strategy was to stay out as long as possible and have an open track ahead of us. And it worked out just as we had planned. I took over with the car in P14. It was then up to me to go on the attack. I immediately had fast cars behind me, but I focused on what was ahead and moved up to P11. On the final lap, I could have overtaken the car in tenth place, but that would have been possible only by forcing my way past. There was no need for me to attempt a risky move in the last race, so I decided against it. As it turned out, though, we were later promoted to tenth as a result of an opponent being handed a penalty. We wanted to finish the last race of the 2017 ADAC GT Masters with a flourish, and we managed to do that by getting in among the points once again.”
… his debut season in GT3 racing: “My first season in the ADAC GT Masters was a big challenge, and I learned a lot. In terms of straight-line speed, we were competitive right from the start. But as the season progressed, we found that there were tracks where things didn’t run perfectly. Despite that, we were finishing in the points on a regular basis in the second half of the season. Confidence in the car grew with every race, which made me feel more and more at my ease. When the season began, I was perhaps a bit too much in awe of the opposition and reluctant to go in too hard in one-on-one situations. Now this is no longer a problem, even if you occasionally have to close your eyes and hope for the best when it gets really tight. With the experience I’ve gained, I would be very happy to compete in GT3 again next year.”