P7 at Zandvoort: Strong showing in ADAC GT Masters for Patric Niederhauser
We have already seen flashes of potential from Aust Motorsport driver, Patric Niederhauser, on several occasions, but for the first time in his career in one of the world's most competitive GT3 racing series, the Swiss driver managed to finish among the Top Seven during the fourth ADAC GT Masters race weekend at the Zandvoort circuit in the dunes (21st - 23rd July). In tough weather conditions, Niederhauser and his team-mate, Dennis Marschall, kept their heads cool and crossed the finish line in eighth place. The Audi pairing moved up one more place when a fellow competitor was handed a penalty.
The Swiss driver made a strong impression after the first session on one of the most challenging courses on the whole of the ADAC GT Masters race calendar. Niederhauser posted the fastest lap in FP1. In the first race, the two drivers were knocking on the door of the Top Ten in eleventh place and their car was the second best-placed Audi in the field. In the second round, Niederhauser helped his team-mate to his maiden podium in the Junior classification.
The next ADAC GT Masters race weekend will take place at the Nürburgring (4th - 6th August).
Patric, P7 in the second race at Zandvoort and your best result so far in the ADAC GT Masters. Congratulations!
Many thanks. It was a wild race. Unfortunately, we started out on used tyres, because we expected it to dry out very quickly. We would have had a definite advantage on a drying track had we been running part-worn tyres. The rain did indeed stop but not as soon as we'd hoped. The teams on fresh sets of tyres really piled on the pressure.
You moved up two places right at the start of the race...
I made a good start, moved up two places and was seventh. I struggled once the other cars on fresh tyres had found their rhythm in the race. I had no more grip whatsoever on the used Pirellis. There was standing water in several places and at that stage, it was all about staying in the race as far as I was concerned. Those were the toughest race laps I've ever experienced in my motor racing career to date. Things immediately improved when the rain eased for a time, but the next minute, the rain got stronger again, and it all kicked off once more.
You hoped that the skies over Zandvoort would show some mercy...
That didn't happen, unfortunately. I was completely on the limit and almost spun off several times but was able to save the car every time. You couldn't see anything because of the spray. Visibility was just two metres. I could only make out the brake lights of the cars in front. I finally made it to the pits in our Audi R8 LMS where there was plenty of action, because almost every team had made their pit stop on the same lap.
Speaking about the pit stop, there were more losers than winners. How did things go for you?
We were unlucky, more's the pity, because I was really boxed in. There were three cars in front of me that stayed put, which caused us to drop back down to 16th place in the end, but Dennis did a really good job in difficult circumstances. We gained as a result of certain drivers retiring and were able to push forward again in the second stint of the race when the rain stopped and conditions improved. To finish in P7 is obviously a great result in view of how the race panned out.
Your best time in first practice was certainly one of the highlights early on that race weekend...
Taking best time in first practice showed the potential of both drivers and car. It felt really great to show everyone with best time that I've got what it takes. Still, coming home first in practice is never going to buy you anything. The fact that I managed to take best time at Zandvoort is, of course, particularly nice. In my opinion, the circuit has everything that a really great race track needs. I think it's a big pity that the trend these days is for circuits to be gradually ruined by providing enormous run-off areas. Still, on the positive side, there's never been any mention of changing Zandvoort's track limits.
Another track that really suits you is coming up next on the schedule. I'll bet that you are really looking forward to the race weekend at the Nürburgring (4th – 6th August)?
I can hardly wait. It's the circuit I know best on the whole calendar. The track should suit the Audi. I did really well there last year in the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup. I'm hoping for a clean, error-free weekend – and then we should be in a position to improve on the strong showing we had at Zandvoort.