First podium in ADAC GT Masters: P2 for Jeffrey Schmidt after battle in the rain at Zandvoort
Triumph in the rain. Montaplast by Land Motorsport driver Jeffrey Schmidt secured his biggest success so far in the ADAC GT Masters in the second round on Sunday at Zandvoort in the Netherlands. After having to retire early in the first race with a broken drive-shaft, the Swiss driver did not put a foot wrong in Race 2. Exceptionally tough track conditions made things difficult for both drivers and teams, punishing every little mistake, no matter how small. With impressive speed and an error-free drive, Schmidt and his team-mate, Christopher Haase, managed to cross the finish line as the runner-ups after having started out in sixth place.
The field was regularly shaken up in a race marked by a number of safety car periods, but Schmidt and his team-mate were always in the leading bunch of drivers. Their chances of winning were still high after the driver handover. The pit stop went very well for the Audi R8 LMS bearing start number #2, and Schmidt began his stint in P1.
After the re-start, the Swiss driver managed to pull out a gap on the team’s sister car in second place, but another safety car period caused the field to bunch up again just before the end of the race. Schmidt once again quickly extended the gap, and the whole sequence was repeated. He asserted his lead once more, but a broken wing mirror prevented him from seeing the sister car approaching, and so, the Montaplast by Land-Motorsport Audi was able to outbrake Schmidt at the end of the main straight. An attack on the leader had to be aborted when the safety car came back out shortly afterwards.
With second place, Schmidt not only secured his maiden podium in the ADAC GT Masters but also gave Montaplast by Land Motorsport their first one-two win in the Super Sports Car League along with the sister car.
The fifth ADAC GT Masters race weekend will take place at the Nürburgring in just two weeks’ time.
Jeffrey, many congratulations on your maiden podium in the ADAC GT Masters. The skies cleared just in time for the podium ceremony and the sun tried to outshine you…
Many thanks. It’s an incredible feeling to reap the rewards for all the hard work. However, I have mixed feelings about second place. Victory was within sight, but unfortunately, the safety car took away any chance we might have had of launching one final attack on the leaders. We were second this time. Next time, we’ll win!
How did you cope with the extremely nasty weather conditions?
It was tough, especially as I’ve never driven a GT3 car in the rain before. It kept raining for a bit and then would stop. The track was either greasy or you had aquaplaning, so I had to constantly adapt my driving style to quickly to match the changing conditions second by second. We were in front after the driver handover, which makes things particularly difficult, because you have no point of reference when you’re in P1. You have to find out everything for yourself, where there’s plenty of grip and where there’s not so much. It’s easier to follow someone, even if your visibility is a little affected by the spray.
You led for quite some time in the second stint. The win was within reach…
Christopher did a great job in qualifying and finished sixth. He handed over the car to me in fourth place. There was a lot of action in the pit lane, because practically every car came in on the same lap to switch drivers. Our stop went like clockwork, and I emerged back out on track in the lead. The re-starts after the safety car periods all went very well and I maintained a gap on the cars behind me. Just before the end, I had a problem with one of my rear mirrors. The one on the right had been bent upwards following a contact, and I didn’t notice how close Connor de Phillippi was to me in the sister car, otherwise, I would have closed the door on the inside.
How does it feel to have posted your first kilometres in the lead in the ADAC GT Masters?
Well, it definitely feels great, for sure, mainly because we’ve shown that we can set the pace, but ultimately, I would have preferred to have won. We now have the boost from finishing second to carry over into the remaining three race weekends and will continue to fight to ensure that we do enough to secure our maiden win.
The next race weekend will be at the Nürburgring (4th – 6th August). The track should suit you…
Yes, the circuit is great. I took pole position there last year in the Porsche Carrera Cup, so I know what you have to do to be really fast there. Christopher and I intend to really put the pedal to the metal this next time out. After all, our goal is to finish on the top rung of the podium once again this year!