Patric Niederhauser in superb form at the Nürburgring:
Best ADAC GT Masters result so far
Patric Niederhauser is currently in superb form. On the previous ADAC GT Masters race weekend at Zandvoort, he and team-mate Dennis Marschall made a breakthrough into the Top Ten in chaotic weather conditions. The 25-year-old from Switzerland went one better this weekend at the Nürburgring. Niederhauser’s P4 on Saturday and P5 on Sunday not only make this the most successful ADAC GT Masters outing this season but also represent his best results to date.
The first qualifying session did not go at all well for the Aust duo in the number 4 Audi R8 LMS, but after starting the race from 13th, they quickly made up ground. Marschall got off to an explosive start and immediately overtook six opponents. By leaving the change of driver to relatively late in the pit stop window, they even notched up their first kilometres as race leaders. Niederhauser then came out onto the track in fourth place. He kept a cool head and held off the challenge from behind. The reward for this flawless performance was a P4 finish.
On Sunday, Niederhauser set the fourth fastest lap in qualifying. In a race that began with a major pileup, the Aust duo came home in a creditable fifth place including the fastest lap of the race. On both days, Niederhauser assisted codriver Marschall in making his second and third podium appearances in the Junior class.
The next opportunity to launch an assault on the Top Five comes at the Sachsenring on the penultimate race weekend of the 2017 ADAC GT Masters (15th - 17th September).
Patric, what a weekend! Congratulations on your P4 and P5.
Many thanks! Obviously, it’s a great feeling when you get the reward for all your hard work. We are steadily raising our game, and we’ve shown what we’re capable of in the last two or three races. We learn as a team and grow together as a result. We’re on a steep upwards curve, and we reached new heights at the Nürburgring.
How did the race go from your point of view?
The first stint was really exhausting, even though I wasn’t sitting in the car myself. For me, it’s always worse when Dennis starts the race and I have to watch. You feel so powerless. But we are a team, and we share the car. When I saw Dennis move up to seventh after that chaotic first corner, I cheered and felt excited for him. It was magnificent – a superb first lap from him.
In your stint, you succeeded in keeping the current championship leader at bay. How did you manage that?
As I was exiting the pit lane, I saw the Corvette and our sister car approaching fast. I knew I had to keep them behind me for one or two laps until I found the right rhythm and had enough self-confidence to know that I could stay ahead of them. But it was not easy. The Corvette has more engine power than our Audi. Anyway, I gave it everything I’d got, and I even set the fastest lap of the race during my stint. Defending fourth place was really good for my self-confidence. If you start from 13th and cross the finish line in fourth, it feels like a victory. It doesn’t matter too much that we so narrowly missed out on the podium.
You booked fifth place on in the second race on Sunday by putting in the best qualifying performance of your ADAC GT Masters career to date...
I am very happy with the quali, even though I didn’t manage to make it a perfect lap. Otherwise, P2 would have been a distinct possibility. There are a lot of factory drivers in the starting line-up, so in view of that, fourth place in qualifying is quite an achievement for me. The car just felt fantastic. And even if the race wasn’t one hundred percent perfect for us, we still came fifth. This shows what a strong overall package we have developed over the season.
In just under a month (15th - 17th September), you will be back in action. How do you rate your chances at the Sachsenring?
The track should actually suit the Audi R8 LMS quite well. I drove there for the first time in the ADAC GT Masters last year. As a circuit, it’s a lot of fun, but it’s also a huge challenge. The drivers who have the most experience are certainly at an advantage. I’m incredibly fond of the Sachsenring. And if it’s a track I like, I tend to be pretty fast. So let’s hope for the best!