Diego Alessi (41) and Daniel Keilwitz (24) driving their Callaway Competition Z06.R GT3 Corvette won the ADAC GT Masters race at the Slovakia Ring on 15 September. This is the duo’s fifth victory for Corvette and the hardworking Callaway Competition team. The demanding 5.9-kilometer (3.66 mile) Slovakia Ring is filled with long wide straights, high-speed corners and numerous elevation changes. The circuit is located near the city of Bratislava in the Slovak Republic (formerly part of Czechoslovakia). This is the first time the ADAC Masters championship has visited this track. Weather played a big factor in the Corvette’s weekend qualifying and race performance. ADAC Teams use a spec Yokohama racing tire that has not worked well on Corvettes this season when it’s cold or rainy. This was the conditions that the team encountered during the race on Saturday. Heavy rains and cold temperatures resulted in Corvettes finishing in 12th, 14th, 20th and 21st positions. This poor result dimmed the team’s championship hopes.
For Sunday’s race, Corvettes qualified 6th, 9th, 10th and 21st. Three Audi R9 LMS Ultras were 1st, 2nd and 3rd. A BMW Z4 GT3 and Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 were 4th and 5th on the grid. Daniel Keilwitz started Corvette #2 from tenth position. The ADAC utilizes a rolling start to begin each race. Keilwitz made a perfect launch and the wide pit straight enabled Daniel to catapult around nine cars and lead into the first corner. As he exited the tight chicane at the end of a long straight his right side tires hit the muddy grass. Fortunately he maintained control and did not spin, but the second place AMG SLS Mercedes snatched the lead. Several turns later the Keilwitz re-passed the Mercedes and regained the lead. He kept the lead until the mandatory driver change pit stop. The team timed the Corvette stop perfectly and Alessi exited the pits ahead of the Mercedes. After all of the pit stops were completed Alessi was in first place with an Audi R8 closely behind him. Diego maintained the lead until the checkered flag. He finished 1.747 seconds in front of the Audi R8 LMS Ultra.
This victory enabled Alessi and Keilwitz to take over the lead in the 2013 ADAC driver’s championship standings. The last two races of the season will take place on 28-29 September at the demanding Hockenheim Ring circuit in Germany. They now have a 14-point championship lead over the Polarweiss Mercedes team of Gotz and Buhk. “The win was rather unexpected,” said a delighted Keilwitz. “We also went into the last weekend of the 2012 season as championship leaders but narrowly missed the title and finished second. This time, I hope we find ourselves still occupying the top spot after the result of the final race.” “I seized my chance at the start and also had a bit of luck with those ahead of me not getting away particularly well,” said Keilwitz. “I was really surprised to be in front going into the first corner. It was a lot warmer today than in the two previous days, and the car was much better to drive.” “My thanks must go to Daniel, since we wouldn’t have won today without his great start,” said Alessi. “We went into the race with an aggressive strategy; I didn’t expect us to do any better than P5 or P6. Our race pace surprised me, because we’ve been having a really hard time here over the past few days.”
Buhk and Götz crossed the finish line in P3, and with only the closing race weekend in Hockenheim remaining, they are now equal second in the driver’s championship with Robert Renauer (28) who finished seventh in his Tonino powered by Herberth Motorsport Porsche 911 which he shares with Martin Ragginger (25). Eleven drivers still have a chance of taking the driver title in a variety of brands including – Corvette, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, BMW and Audi. Lets hope the Callaway Competition team an capture another championship title before the C6 Z06.R GT3 is retired.