First points of the 2017 ADAC GT Masters for Patric Niederhauser at the Lausitzring
Last weekend at the Lausitzring was the second event on the 2017 ADAC GT Masters race calendar. It was also the second outing for Patric Niederhauser as a new member of the Aust Motorsport team. In front of 67,500 spectators, the form of the Swiss driver and his team-mate Dennis Marschall got better and better as the weekend progressed. The two qualifying sessions were not optimal: because of getting stuck in traffic and problems with the brake balance, the number 4 Aust Motorsport Audi was unable to qualify any higher than P21 on Saturday and P13 on Sunday. The pursuit in Race 1 came to an end after a puncture sustained in a collision with an opponent resulted in an early exit. The second race, however, had a happy ending: Niederhauser and Marschall made a well-deserved entry into the Top Eight after a strong performance on the track and a slick pit stop.
Patric, you staged a magnificent charge through the field in the second race to earn your first championship points. Did that come as a relief?
Very much so! We already knew after qualifying that a lot would be possible from 13th on the grid. The whole team was suitable motivated – which is always the case anyway – but this time we knew that it had to work out. However, the race itself got off to a tricky start. I immediately had to take evasive action because of a stationary car. There was no room on the left, because two opponents had already chosen that route. So I simply went straight across the grass.
What happened next?
I was able to match the pace of the front-runners pretty well, but overtaking was very difficult because we were disadvantaged in terms of top speed compared with some of our opponents. Over the course of a full lap, though, I think that I was faster. In the first sector, for example, the cars ahead were really holding me up. I adapted my tactics to the circumstances and waited for others to make errors. And eventually, I was able to cash in on a mistake by the Porsche ahead of me to get past.
In contrast to the first race, your pit stop went smoothly...
This time everything worked out perfectly. Dennis got off to a mega fast start, pushed forward well and put our sister car under pressure. However, his tyres were badly degraded. The BWT Mücke Motorsport Audi closed the gap on us. This was a real nail-biter, and the tension was at boiling point. I now know how my parents and my girlfriend Marylin feel when they watch one of my races. Anyway, Dennis resisted the pressure and brought the car home in eighth.
In just under three weeks (9th - 11th June), you have the next fixture on the race calendar at the Red Bull Ring. How do you think you will get on there?
In the past, we’ve seen that the Red Bull Ring does not suit the Audi as much as other tracks. But basically, we have to make sure we give of our best. After this strong result in the second race at the Lausitzring, I’m feeling very positive and highly motivated. With its long straights, hairpin turn and mix of slow and fast corners, the track is a lot of fun. With us having performed far better at the Lausitzring than expected, I see no reason why we shouldn’t do just as well at the Red Bull Ring.