Conditions were treacherous and visibility was extremely low especially for the mid-pack, but nothing was going to silence the thunder of the 27 GT3 cars.
As the race two of the 2017 ADAC GT Masters Series got underway at Zandvoort, pole sitter Mirko Bortolotti led the herd of raging bulls down towards turn one, everyone made it through the first pinch point safely but Maximilian Goetz and Kelvin van der Linde went side by side on the exit as Van der Linde challenged for second place.
Goetz held onto second but behind, bodywork was clattering as drivers struggled for traction and track position. Despite the torrential weather the race went into meltdown as leading Grasser Racing Lamborghini of Bortolotti peeled into the pits only ten minutes in. The doleys came out and the car went into the garage with the team reporting an electrical issue.
The first half of the race was dominated by Maximilian Goetz in his HTP Motorsport Mercedes AMG GT3, the German driver pulled out an astonishing 17-second gap before a safety car was deployed because of contact between Audi driver Kelvin van der Linde and the other Grasser Lamborghini of Christian Engelhart.
The pair collided while scrapping for third as Van der Linde spun across the front of the GRT Lamborghini under braking for turn ten. With both cars beached in the soggy gravel trap a safety was deployed throwing a rather large curveball for the teams.
At the earliest opportunity, every single car poured into pitlane resulting in the biggest traffic jam in human history. Absolute chaos erupted as cars boxed each other in or just stopped right in the way, and then at pit exit it was like a mass exodus as every car tried to leave pit lane at the same time.
Out of the spray and pandemonium emerged Jeffrey Schmidt in the number 2 Land Motorsport Audi R8 LMS, the Swisse driver managed to escape the pit lane disaster un-scathed and claimed the race lead.
A drive through penalty for the second place Corvette of Jules Gounon (Who had taken over from Van der Zande) and an off track excursion for the HTP Mercedes of Patrick Assenheimer meant that before long the Land Audis were running 1-2.
The two white and green Montaplast Audis were like steam-rollers on a charge, Schmidt pioneered the way ahead of the sister car driven by American team-mate Connor De Phillippi. The order stayed that way until another safety car intervention with nine minutes to go because Nikolaj Rogivue had found the gravel down at turn one in his number 20 Zakspeed Mercedes.
On the restart a fiery De Phillippi put a move up the inside of Schmidt at turn one, the American taking the lead and keeping the Land 1-2 alive. As if we hadn’t had enough action so far, Matthieu Jaminet decided to go side by side with Nick Catsburg as they squabbled over fifth place. Sadly, it ended in tears as Catsburgs’ BMW M6 GT3 got turned around and collected by Sven Mueller in the other Callaway Competition Corvette.
With the safety car deployed again and the clock counting down to zero the chequered flag waved for the number one Land Motorsport Audi of Christopher Mies and Connor De Phillippi. Wolfgang Land jumped for joy in the garage as Jeffrey Schmidt crossed the line in second in the other Land Audi with Florian Spengler and Christopher Zanella rounding out the podium.
They were followed home by the Robert Renauer, Sven Müller driven Precote Herberth Porsche. The surviving Mathieu Jaminet, Michael Ammermüller Team Bernhard Porsche finished fifth, while the current championship leader Jules Gounon and Renger van der Zande finished the rain-affected race in sixth place. Van der Zande piloted the first stint and had fought his way up into P2 before it was time to hand the car over, but a drive-through penalty for exceeding the speed limit in the pit lane dropped the pair back down the field.
Two more Audi crews, Dennis Marschall partnered with Patric Niederhauser and the BWT Mueke Motorsports car of Mike David Ortmann and Frank Stippler subsequently slotted into P7 and P8 respectively.
The Klaus Bachler and Alex MacDowall driven Schütz Motorsport Porsche and the Zakspeed Mercedes driven by Luca Stolz and Luca Ludwig took the last two points-scoring positions.
All images used with permission from ADAC GT Masters: