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Dominik Baumann - Instruktor at Scuderia Hanseat

Dominik Baumann competed in the first round of the VLN Endurance Championship on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife on Saturday. In the four-hour race – the 64th ADAC Westfalenfahrt – the Austrian missed out on a podium finish by only a few seconds. Sharing the cockpit of the number 47 Mercedes-AMG GT3 entered by Mercedes-AMG Team HTP with Mercedes works driver Edoardo Mortara and former DTM contestant Renger van der Zande, Baumann finished fifth.

In the highly competitive and prestigious SP9 class, Baumann, Mortara and van der Zande not only beat their HTP team-mates in the number 48 sister car but were also the best placed of the Mercedes-AMG GT3 contingent.

Saturday’s VLN Endurance Championship outing was a rehearsal for the Nürburgring 24 Hours on the weekend of 10th – 13th May. It will be the sixth time that Baumann has competed in this classic.

Best Mercedes in a highly competitive race. Are you satisfied with the result?

I am broadly satisfied with fifth place but had been hoping for something better after my stint. We were unlucky with our pit stops, because the timing was not ideal. We came in one or two laps earlier than the others and lost time because the track was clear at that stage, which allowed our opponents to go fast. When the others stopped, there were yellow flags on the track and we were therefore unable to make rapid progress. This time, we were out of luck with our strategy, which ultimately put us a few seconds outside the Top Three. But we did a lot of testing for the 24-hour race, and that’s the main thing.

Dominik Baumann narrowly misses out on podium in VLN opener

What happened in your stint?

My stint went really well, and I was very happy with the car. I had one Porsche in front of me and another behind. I caught up with the Porsche ahead, but the one behind was able to close the gap as a result of the yellow flags coming out. The most important thing was not to get involved in any collisions, because the track was very busy.

How well did things go with your team-mates?

I’ve driven a car with Mortara before, though van der Zande is new to the team. Both are extremely affable team-mates and, together with our number four Daniel Juncadella, we make a strong team for the Nürburgring 24 Hours.

Because of the sudden return of winter, it was touch and go whether the VLN race would go ahead…

I didn’t think that the race could be held this weekend, and the official confirmation only came through on Wednesday afternoon. With the benefit of hindsight, it was the right decision, because the weather was great. A temperature of 6°C sounds a bit on the cool side, but the sun was shining and the conditions for the race were therefore excellent.

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