Mixed feelings in the Prosperia C. Abt Racing team after the first race weekend at the ADAC GT Masters in Oschersleben. First and foremost is, of course, the relief at Nicki Thiim’s narrow escape from a horrific crash at the beginning of the second race on Sunday. “After the initial shock we are now extremely glad and relieved that Nicki survived the impact into the wall and the following triple rollover with relatively light injuries." And that is what counts at the moment”, says manager Christian Abt. “Even though we would have rather done without this experience, the fact that Nicki emerged almost unscathed from this accident goes to show how important the issue of safety is with Audi in the development of its R8 LMS ultra. It is thanks to this high safety standard that Nicki Thiim did not suffer any serious injuries.” Markus Winkelhock was also involved in the knock-on effect of this accident. The ex-DTM and Formula One racer remained unhurt; however, he was not able to compete in the restart because of this badly damaged Audi R8 LMS ultra.
Prosperia C. Abt Racing’s near-perfect start of the racing season faded into the background to some extent due to the events on Sunday. Best times in free practice and in both qualifyings, as well as a second place and a victory by René Rast und Kelvin van der Linde in the Audi R8 LMS ultra at starting position ten in both races, are facts that speak for themselves and which offer some solace in view of the misfortune that two cars of the Prosperia C. Abt Racing team were not able to reach the goal in the very first race on Saturday because of a no-fault accident."
The biggest surprise of the weekend was the just 17-year old Kelvin van der Linde with his debut in the ADAC GT Masters. Completely undaunted by the strong competition, the youngster placed his Audi at the pole position in the first qualifying. In the initial fray of the first race he cleverly kept out of all skirmishes, placed himself at the fourth position, maintained this position and thus paved the way for the podium finish, which team-mate René Rast drove out in an impressive manner. “At times I was faster than the leading Mercedes, but did not want to take any great risks. Rather, I wanted to take home good points with an eye to winning the championship”, clarified Rast, who crossed the finishing line just 0.306 seconds after the winner.