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2011 FIA GT1 World Championship - Round 4 - Sachsenring

Race Report

Championship Race

Andrea Piccini and Christian Hohenadel took their No.4 Hexis Aston Martin DBR9 to victory in the Championship Race, scoring their first race win in GT1 in their home event.

Cheered on by a crowd of 45,000 spectators, Hohenadel made the perfect start to the race from fifth position, navigating a melee in the opening corners to progress second position on the first lap. While the pole-sitting Marc No.41 Marc VDS Ford GT and the No.3 Hexis Aston Martin banged doors going into turn one, Mücke threaded the No.8 Young Driver Aston Martin into the lead.

With the Nissans sitting fourth (No.20), sixth (No.22), eighth (No.21) and 11th (No.23) on the grid, the Sumo Power GT and JRM drivers were right in the middle of the scene when the lights turned green. With all the cars jostling for position on the home straight, Westbrook in the No.22 JRM was forced wide into the gravel, and though he was to recover the car well, he found himself losing six positions by the time he came back on track. However, this was nothing compared to the carnage of two separate collisions that ensued seconds later, the second of which brought a premature end to the races of three cars.

Fortunately, all the Nissans managed to avoid any fallout from the incidents, with Lucas Luhr in the No.23 JRM Nissan GT-R the main beneficiary as he moved up into seventh - a rise of four places from his start position. As the grid took their places behind the safety car, which had been activated in order for the stricken cars and resulting debris to be cleared from the track, the GT-Rs found themselves in fourth (No.20), seventh (No.23), eighth (No.21) and twelfth (No.22).

Four laps later the racing recommenced, at which time rain begin to fall, but thankfully it stopped as quickly as it started. About 10 laps into the race, the No.4 Hexis Aston Martin of Hohenadel barged past Mücke and was followed a lap later by the No.37 Lamborghini Murcielago of Dominik Schwager, knocking Mücke down to third. The pole-sitter, the No.41 Marc VDS Ford GT of Fred Makowiecki and Maxime Martin, in contrast had to retire after just nine laps with a puncture and bodywork damage. Once in first, Hohenadel in the No.4 Aston Martin gradually extended his lead until handing over to Piccini during the pit stop window.

Luhr was first of the two JRM Nissans to pit, Westbrook stayed out and, running without traffic, put in a series of quick laps before stopping. This strategy, coupled with another fast pit stop by the tyre-change crew, meant that Peter Dumbreck rejoined the race in the No.22 Nissan GT-R in eighth, up four places. However, Michael Krumm in the No.23 sister car took to the track in ninth. The remaining Sumo Power GT-R's emerged from the pit stop reshuffle in fourth (No.20) and sixth (No.21) positions.

With the pit stops completed, Enrique Bernoldi, fresh in No.20 Sumo Power GT for Warren Hughes, was to soon find himself under intense pressure from the No.3 Hexis AMR Aston Martin, much more suited to the tight twists and turns of the Sachsenring circuit. The pressure was taken of the Brazilian however, when the Aston Martin spun out and was forced to pit. This also had the knock on effect of lifting the nos.21, 22 and 23 Nissans up into fifth, seventh, and eighth places respectively, positions they held to the end with the exception of Krumm's No.23 JRM, which was passed by the No.40 Marc VDS Ford GT with moments remaining.

Piccini meanwhile was able to bring the car home, allowing Christian Hohenadel to celebrate his maiden GT1 win on his home tarmac. Second place went to the No.37 All-Inkl.com Münnich Motorsport Lamborghini of Dominik Schwager and Nicky Pastorelli while third was the No.8 Young Driver Aston Martin of Stefan Mücke and Darren Turner.

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