Debut AMR podium for Ben Dorr and Nico Hantke at Hockenheim round of ADAC GT4 Germany

Sunday, October 24, 2021


The biggest grid of the year so far made up the penultimate event of the ADAC GT4 Germany Series’ visit to the Hockenheim Ring this weekend as thirty-two cars including four Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT4’s made up the nineth and tenth rounds.

This time around, the Doer Motorsport team entered two AMR’s, one for the season long #69 car partnership of Phil Dorr and Andreas Wirth but also a new AMR GT4 for brother Ben Dorr with co-driver Nico Hantke who were in turn joined by a pair of Aston’s from the PROsport Racing team with Mike David Ortmann and Hugo Sasse’s #18 car being joined by new recruits Yannick Fubrich and Yevgen Sokolovskiy in their #16 car.

Early practice sessions went all in favour of the #59 car as Ben Dorr and Hantke went second fastest on FP1 and then fastest in FP2 but for some reason, the other three Aston’s were many cars apart from the #59 going into Saturday’s two Qualifying sessions.

As with any race meeting, it’s not where you finish in Free Practice or where you Qualify at that counts and that was just as well as the highest placed Aston for race 1 was the #69 car of Phil Dorr in P14 with David-Ortmann just behind in P15.

A fault with the pit straight lighting gantry forced a false start with the speeding cars soon being halted with a red flag as another race grid was formed to be waved off at the second time of asking with a simple thing called a flag. With so many cars around the tight 4.5km layout of the circuit, contact and incident was inevitable as drivers became frustrated behind slower cars or simply misjudged their corner entry.

With the top five cars breaking away, it was left to the three top Aston crews to fight over the scraps as the #16 PROsport car was left floundering at the rear of the pack as Sokolovskiy still got used to his latest form of race car. The #69 Dorr car got a second wind of energy just before the stop as he elevated himself up to P10 whilst the #18 car had a car spin directly in front of him.

Stuck in traffic, the #59 car pitted first with the others just a lap later but entering pit lane with a gap between them going in, the was little gap to measure between the #69 and the #18 going out – but both maintained their 95 second minimum stop time.

Disaster was soon to hit the #18 car however as Sasse went in too fast and deep into the hairpin, struck the side of the previously race leading Audi to fracture his radiator in the process putting himself out of the race from a promising position. That incident in turn made for a FCY as the pit window remained open at the time and that allowed those who hadn’t yet pitted to pit under the caution and save a handful of track time to boot.

With the leader now way out in front, the two Doer Aston Martin’s began to creep up the leader board to secure P8 (#69) and P12 (#59) places on track. These would change however overnight as the FCY procedure was reviewed and the results lifted each of these cars up to P5 and P10 overall respectively. The #16 PROsport car would finish P28 – one lap down to the leaders.

Sunday’s second race was to be an equally frantic affair but at least the Aston’s would start from further forward on the grid in P3 (#59), P6 (#18), P10 (#16) and P17 (#69) despite the #18 car having originally claimed pole position for race 2 as Sasse was later given a grid penalty for his incident at the hairpin during Saturday's opener.

Again the #18 PROsport car would be in the wars as Sasse would be left on the grid as the cars left on their formation lap meaning that (once he got going again) would be starting from the back of the grid.

More side-by-side racing in the opening laps as the starting drivers elected how to use the benefit of their new tyres in the opening half. Fubrich would find himself muscled down the order despite an otherwise good start whilst Sasse muscled his way back up the order to P22 during the opening ten minutes.

Meanwhile, Ben Dorr was looking hungry for success as at first, he battled to re-establish his P3 position on track before then pushing for P2 overall.

Their team #69 car had an escape as Wirth bumped into the rear of one of the Zakspeed Mercedes only for the and another Mercedes to tangle immediately afterwards, for one of them to be spun off into the gravel – bringing out the Safety Car.

That at least allowed Ben Dorr to latch upon the rear of the leader and Sasse to join up again with the pack ahead of him just before their scheduled stops which this time went as scheduled for all concerned this time around as Dorr handed the #59 over to Hantke in second and Wirth to Phil Dorr in P8. More technical trouble in pit lane for the #18 car however would drop David-Ortmann back down the order even before he had left pit lane!

With no chance of catching the leader with their widening gap, the #59 crew would settle for their first overall podium of the year in P2 and first Junior Class win for Dorr in the process. Teammates in the #69 car would come home P8 overall and fifth in class with the two PROsport cars coming home in P10 and P27.

One round from the Nurburgring remains but now such are the points deficits that the #69 Doer Motorsport car cannot now win the overall championship being 69 points behind with only 50 points available, but they do retain an outside chance of success in the Junior Class.

Photo credits – ADAC GT4 / Teams
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