Fifth place enough for the title: Raffaele Marciello is the 2022 ADAC GT Masters champion
The Swiss wraps up the title with Daniel Juncadella in the penultimate race of the season. Christian Engelhart and Ayhancan Güven claim their second win of the season. Ben Green wins the Pirelli Junior competition with a race to spare.
Raffaele Marciello (27/CH) is the new German GT Champion. Together with team-mate Daniel Juncadella (31/E), the championship leader from Mann-Filter Team Landgraf ended the penultimate race of the season at the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg in fifth place. That was good enough to give the Swiss driver an unassailable 45-point lead in the #48 Mercedes-AMG GT3 and earn him his first title in the ADAC GT Masters. “I am happy that it has finally worked out. We had a few difficulties at the end of the race, but ultimately did enough to win the title. Now it is time to celebrate,” said the delighted new champion of the 2022 season. The winners of an exciting and, in the latter stages, dramatic race were Christian Engelhart (35/Starnberg) and Ayhancan Güven (24/TR) in the #91 Porsche 911 GT3 R of Team Joos Sportwagentechnik. The pair currently second in the table took a big step towards securing the runners-up spot with their second victory of the season. Second place went to Franck Perera (38/F) and Arthur Rougier (22/F), who battled through from eighth place on the grid to finish on the podium in the #19 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo. The fellow Lamborghini duo of Maximilian Paul (22/Dresden) and Marco Mapelli (35/I) from Paul Motorsport were third in the number 71 car, meaning Paul won the Pirelli Junior competition.
In the first half of the race, everything seemed to be going the way of the pole-sitter Raffaele Marciello. The 27-year-old led the rest of the field by roughly 1.5 seconds. He was followed by fellow Mercedes-AMG driver Fabian Schiller (25/Troisdorf) from Drago Racing Team ZVO and Albert Costa Balboa in second and third place. Marciello’s closest rival in the championship, Christian Engelhart, was fifth in his 911 at this point. That was all to change after the round of pit stops, which all the top drivers took on the last lap possible. While Marciello handed over to Daniel Juncadella from the lead, and Jules Gounon (27/F) took over from Daniel Schiller in second place in the #4 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo, the Porsche of Team Joos Sportwagentechnik, with Ayhancan Güven at the wheel, climbed into third place.
The real drama began on lap 27. Gounon overtook Juncadella, but made contact with the Spaniard’s car and suffered a puncture in the process. Güven took full advantage of this battle, passing Juncadella to take the lead, which he retained through to the finish. It then got a bit stressful for the Spaniard in the yellow Mercedes-AMG. He was no longer able to fend off Franck Perera on lap 34 and, one lap later, was powerless to prevent Marco Mapelli and Jack Aitken from coming through. However, Juncadella also opted not to take any more risks, as even seventh place would have sufficed for his partner Marciello to win the title. So it was that he ended the race in fifth place after 36 laps.
Jack Aitken (27/GB) and Albert Costa Balboa (32/E) came home fourth in the #63 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo of Emil Frey Racing. Their team-mates Konsta Lappalainen (21/FIN) and Mick Wishofer (23/A) finished sixth. Niklas Krütten (20/Trier) and Ben Green (24/GB) were seventh in the #10 Schubert Motorsport BMW M4 GT3. That was enough to hand Green the title in the Pirelli Junior competition with one race to come. Jusuf Owega (20/Cologne) and Ricardo Feller (22/CH) from the Montaplast by Land-Motorsport team battled hard to climb from 15th to eighth, making them the best-placed Audi drivers. They were followed over the finish line by team-mates Christopher Mies (33/Düsseldorf) and Tim Zimmermann (26/Langenargen) in ninth. The junior Mamba, with Elias Seppänen (18/FIN) and Frank Bird (23/GB) at the wheel, ended the 13th and penultimate race of this season’s ADAC GT Masters in tenth place.
Christian Engelhart: “It was incredibly exciting in the second part of the race. We had a super pit stop, with which we gained two positions. Ayhancan then ruthlessly took his chance and produced a great performance to bring home the win. Congratulations to Raffaele, he deserved the title.”
Ayhancan Güven: “I watched the battle between Jules and Daniel, waited, and then went for the gap. However, I did so cautiously, as I did not want a possible collision to influence the title race. I congratulate Raffaele on his title.”
Raffaele Marciello: “I have waited a long time for this title, and it has finally worked out. From the outside, the end of the race may have looked tense, but I was confident that everything would be okay. However, I did not understand the move that Jules made, particularly as he threw away any chance he had of finishing second in the championship. Daniel lost time as a result, but we did not want to take any risks – we just wanted to finish the race. This year has been very successful for me, but I must say that we have also had that little bit of luck you need in crucial phases.”
Daniel Juncadella: “With an extra 20 kilograms on my car, it was hard to keep Jules at bay. He then overtook me at a rather unusual part of the track, as a result of which there was contact. That kind of risky move between fellow Mercedes drivers is not actually normal. After that, I focussed on finishing the race, and fifth place proved to be good enough.”
All ADAC GT Masters races start at 13:00. International viewers can watch the qualifying and the races live on adac.de/motorsport, the new ADAC Motorsports YouTube channel youtube.com/ADACMotorsports and motorsport.tv.