Topsy-turvy world for Dennis Marschall in ADAC GT Masters at Zandvoort
Last weekend was the fifth on the 2018 ADAC GT Masters calendar, and Dennis Marschall was competing on the dune circuit of Zandvoort in front of more than 13,000 spectators. The 22-year-old from Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen was sharing the cockpit of the number 43 BMW M6 GT3 with team mate Victor Bouveng.
The high point of the weekend came on Friday when the BMW Team Schnitzer duo posted the fifth-best time in the free practice session for drivers in the Junior and Trophy classes. In the two main free practice sessions when they were up against the entire field of 34 super sports cars, they were unable to feature any higher than P24 on the timesheets.
On previous ADAC GT Masters race weekends, qualifying had been one of the strengths of the BMW M6 GT3. Not so at Zandvoort, where all three BMWs struggled to compete. In the first quali on Saturday, Bouveng was unable to place the car any higher than P28. On Sunday, the three BMW M6 GT3s were bunched together on P29, P30 and P31, with Marschall in the middle.
From 30th in the starting line-up on Sunday, Marschall and Bouveng progressed to 19th at the finish, which was enough to pick up some points in the Junior classification. On Saturday, they had to settle for 27th place after having to make an unscheduled pit stop for a puncture.
The next race weekend on the 2018 ADAC GT Masters calendar is hosted by the Sachsenring (7th 9th September) where Marschall will be hoping for a return to qualifying form and to Top Ten finishes in the two races.
Dennis talking about …
… the conditions at Zandvoort: “Our weekend got off to a better start than at the Nürburgring. The pace was there from the beginning, and our lap times in free practice were respectable. So we had the potential. But the two qualis didn’t go at all well, and they are half the battle. In the second qualifying session, where I was at the wheel, the BMWs were all towards the end of the field. The track seemed to favour the other makes of car over the BMW. We’ve usually had the benefit of being pretty good on a single lap. On this occasion, for the first time this year, we were better in the race itself than in qualifying. We’re still looking into the reasons for that.”
… the races in the North Sea dunes: “The results on Saturday and Sunday were unfortunately disappointing. My team-mate had a good stint in Race 1. He advanced to P19. In my stint, unfortunately, there was a contact with an opponent’s car that caused a puncture. When the race only lasts one hour, your chances are gone. In the second race, I couldn’t do much from P30 on the grid, although we did manage to benefit from opponents having to retire. P19 is certainly not the level we aspire to.”
… the next race weekend: “The Sachsenring is quite similar in characteristics to Zandvoort, so we cannot expect any miracles there. A Top Ten finish is a realistic target. That’s what our sister car achieved on Saturday at Zandvoort. But we’ll have to do better in qualifying if we’re to get there.”