ADAC GT Masters season finale
Ludwigsburg, November 8, 2021 - Before the weekend at the Nürburgring, the prospects looked good. The two MANN-FILTER Team LANDGRAF-HTP/WWR drivers Raffaele Marciello (27, Italy) and Maximilian Buhk (28, Germany) stood just 26 points behind the leaders and went into the finale with their sights set firmly on the title. Unfortunately, it was not to be for the AMG works driver pairing.
Fog, poor visibility and chaotic starts thwarted the Land Motorsport team's bid to end the season on a high note. The Audi Mamba of MANN-FILTER junior driver Luci Trefz (19, Germany) and Audi Sport driver Christopher Haase (34, Germany) also had to contend with the pitfalls of the Nürburgring.
Collisions at the start dash the title hopes of the MANN-FILTER Mercedes
The first day of racing got off to a positive start, with AMG works driver Raffaele Marciello earning fifth place on the grid. However, the MANN-FILTER Mercedes got caught up in an unusually turbulent start. With their Mercedes damaged, there was little the duo could do. By the time Marciello's teammate Maxi Buhk took the wheel in the middle of the race in fifth place, he already knew that the fight for the championship was over. "We had a good lead over the drivers behind us. But with a damaged car we weren't able to move forward. At the end of the day, fifth place wasn't good enough to keep our championship hopes alive," he says disappointedly. The standings at the end of the race confirmed that their championship battle was over.
The team was hoping for a solid end to the season in the second race, but success once again proved elusive for MANN-FILTER. The Mercedes driver pairing faced an uphill battle from 17th place on the grid. Buhk went into the race feeling highly motivated, before it had to be stopped due to a collision. After completing a few overtaking maneuvers, he handed over the Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo to his teammate Marciello, who began to give chase to the leaders. But fate once again had other plans.
"There was slight contact and I saw parts flying everywhere," says the 28-year-old, recalling the incident that ultimately ended their race. The Mamba had to continue the race with flying sparks and a dented front wing. In the interest of safety, the car was retired on the penultimate lap. Despite things not going the team's way, Raffaele Marciello is feeling positive at the end of the season: "We had an exciting race. I overtook as much as I could, and it was great to move up from 18th to fourth. We were competitive all season. But that's racing."
Despite the best qualifying result of the season, the Audi Mamba finishes outside the points in the season finale
The Land Motorsport team, which this year fielded an Audi Mamba team for the first time in the ADAC GT Masters, also had to settle for a disappointing finale. In extremely low fall temperatures, MANN-FILTER junior driver Luci Trefz battled his way through qualifying to achieve 18th place on the grid for the first race. The 19-year-old kept a cool head at the start and managed to avoid the biggest collisions. "I tried to make up places," he says. "But then, all of sudden, I had no more feedback. That made driving the Audi really difficult." He was 21st as he handed over to teammate Christopher Haase, who eventually crossed the finish line in twentieth place.
The highlight of the final race weekend was the second qualifying session, which saw Audi Sport driver Christopher Haase take seventh place on the grid – the best qualifying result for the Audi Mamba. But the mood was soon clouded when a penalty put Haase and Trefz at the back of the grid. The penalty was given for putting the tires on too early before qualifying, which is against ADAC GT Masters rules. "The start of Sunday's race was pretty chaotic," says Luci's mentor Christopher Haase. "After the pit stop, I handed over to Luci in 17th place and he did a great job to get to the end of the race." Luci finished the race in 16th – just one place outside the points.
A hard-fought season full of highs and lows
An exciting motorsport season has come to an end for MANN-FILTER. A year full of highs and lows, victories, points and defeats. All these experiences have made the team stronger, and preparations for next year are already well underway.
The entire MANN-FILTER team thanks all partners and friends and congratulates ADAC GT Masters champions Ricardo Feller and Christopher Mies on winning the title.