A single consolation point for Patric Niederhauser
Patric Niederhauser comes away from a difficult race weekend at the Sachsenring with the small consolation of a championship point. In the highly competitive ADAC GT Masters, the Aust Motorsport driver was the victim of a risky move made by an opponent, which shunted the number 4 Audi R8 LMS into the gravel bed and out of the battle for points in Saturday’s race.
In the second race on Sunday, Niederhauser and his team-mate Dennis Marschall were initially classified twelfth. Due to the disqualification of two opponents, the duo moved up to P10 and thus into the points. So all that hard work in a challenging race was rewarded after all.
Niederhauser will be back in the cockpit of his Audi R8 LMS as early as this coming weekend (22nd - 24th September). In the grand finale to the 2017 ADAC GT Masters at Hockenheim, the Swiss 26-year-old will have the backing of numerous supporters from his home country.
With DTM drivers Edoardo Mortara and Jamie Green as guest starters, you had some celebrity competition at the Sachsenring...
This is great for the ADAC GT Masters. It’s fun to race against the big names in the sport. I’m never overawed on the race track. Consequently, I had a great battle with Green in the Sunday race. There was also a minor contact, which I would classify as ‘hard but fair’.
Hard, but not exactly fair was how you might describe the wheel-to-wheel encounter you had on Saturday. Tell us about your involuntary excursion into the gravel bed.
The Corvette driver pushed me out on the corner. It was a ruthless move, and he was taking a major risk there. Because if you aim to overtake on this particular corner, you’re likely to cause a collision. I was the one who suffered the consequences of his risky move. Unfortunately, the stewards saw it as a normal race incident and didn’t impose a penalty on him. Because we were forced to retire, we were unable to compete for a points finish.
How did you end up in this convoy of cars anyway?
Unfortunately, we didn’t have the ideal pit stop, and that cost us a few positions. After the change of drivers, I emerged just ahead of half a dozen other cars. A slower vehicle then bunched us all together. I had no chance to overtake, because we were simply lacking the straight-line speed necessary for the Sachsenring. So we were a real battle group, in which there were several bumps and scrapes. Until the collision with the Corvette, everything had proceeded in a fair manner.
On Sunday morning, you were back in business with a P9 in qualifying...
I hadn’t expected to make it into the Top Ten, so I was well satisfied with that result. I even left some of the Audi works drivers behind. The race was not easy by any means. After only a few laps, the tyres were starting to degrade badly. It’s a good feeling to have ultimately made it into the points.
The finale at the Hockenheimring is almost a home race for you because of the relatively short distance to Switzerland. Does that have any special significance for you?
I will have a lot of support at the track. Almost 100 relatives, friends and sponsors are coming to cheer me on at the Hockenheimring. I know the circuit well, and it should suit the Audi. However, I have become cautious about making forecasts, because the ADAC GT Masters has been unpredictable recently. On the other hand, that means it should be an exciting final weekend.