Heidelberg, Germany - April 12, 2010 - Andreas Wirth and S-Berg Racing Kick off BMW-ALPINA's 2010 Hunt for Motorsport Excellence in the ADAC GT Masters Series Andreas Wirth was happy to be "back home" behind the wheel of the BMW-ALPINA B6...
Heidelberg, Germany - April 12, 2010 - Andreas Wirth and S-Berg Racing Kick off BMW-ALPINA's 2010 Hunt for Motorsport Excellence in the ADAC GT Masters Series
Andreas Wirth was happy to be "back home" behind the wheel of the BMW-ALPINA B6 this weekend at Oschersleben with ALPINA's new development team, S-Berg Racing. Coming into the first round of competition for the 2010 ADAC GT Masters Series, Wirth and the S-Berg Racing Team had reason to show confidence in their two-car effort, as both of these ALPINA's visited the podium in the 2009 season finale weekend at this very track; with two victories and a second place finish.
The newly matched duo of Andreas Wirth and Martin Matzke were quick to prove that they and the #14 BMW-ALPINA B6 were up to speed, showing in 2nd and 5th in Friday's two free practice sessions. That said, they knew that qualifying and two rounds of racing were what really mattered, and Wirth remained reservedly confident for what was to follow. Qualifying on Saturday produced mixed results, with a thrilling pole position for that day's race and a fourth row result for Sunday where they would start from 7th place. Commenting on their qualifying results Andreas said; "The first qualifying was good as you can see from the result. In the second qualifying for race two it was my fault, I just wanted it too bad and pushed a bit too hard which just doesn't work on a race track like Oschersleben. But overall it was a solid performance."
Taking advantage of their qualifying efforts for Saturday's race, Wirth's teammate, Matzke, was on a charge, and dominated the first half of the race. It was only at their mandatory pit-stop and driver change that the #14 S-Berg BMW-ALPINA relinquished the lead. Once behind the wheel, Wirth was faced with a pack of fierce competitors - seven cars all lapping within 1.2 seconds of each other, thrilling the crowds with the excitement of close passing and the hunt for the third and final step of the podium. "Now that was an exciting race!" began Wirth. "The competition is really strong in GT Masters, a lot of the cars are closely matched in performance and there are some very good drivers; former Formula 1, DTM, and current GT1 World Championship drivers ... it makes for a great show that's for sure! My teammate did a great job in the first stint, and our pit-stop and change-over went great, so it's frustrating that we couldn't take the win or at least make it to the podium. Like I said, it was tough out there - I fought hard and really pushed the car in my stint. But on the first lap after the pit stop I could tell there was a problem with the tires. There was just no grip. Eventually I just couldn't hold them off anymore, but I managed to keep up with them and didn't let them take much of a lead. In the end, I'd rather take 7th than end up with a DNF for pushing too hard and going off. Tomorrow we'll do better. We started in P1 today and ended up 7th - tomorrow we start 7th and we'll do our best to bring it home in 1st!"
With a new day came new challenges. As though starting from 7th on the grid wasn't enough for Sunday's race, cool track temperatures and light rain made for tricky conditions and even more excitement on track. Thankfully for the #14 S-Berg BMW-ALPINA B6 it was relatively smooth sailing and they simply did their best to push their way to the front. Sadly, despite their best efforts and a good fight they finished just short of the podium with a very solid 4th place. "We knew it was going to be a tough job to get to the front today," said Wirth "and the weather didn't help us either. We choose the safe strategy at the pit stop and put wets on the car. Unfortunately the track dried up faster than expected and the guys that choose slicks had an advantage. There was a lot of action out there but the car was good today and we managed to keep it clean and bring our ALPINA home safe. We're happy to have made a good start to the season."
Wrapping up the weekend and considering what lies ahead, Wirth commented; " I'm really happy to be invited to work with ALPINA again and their development team S-Berg Racing - it was a real honour to be involved in ALPINA's return to racing last year - we made a lot of progress. I'm hoping that we will have a strong season in 2010 - I think our results this weekend show that we work well together and I know we've got what it takes to be seriously competitive with these cars. It's awesome to be involved with such a great bunch of people, and I have to thank the whole team for such a great effort at Oschersleben."
The ADAC GT Masters Series will be broadcast live in 2010 on Cable 1 (Kabel1 - www.kabeleins.de) in Germany.
-source: andreas wirth