Bucket list ticked off: René Rast and “Kuba” Giermaziak celebrate first NLS victory

René Rast has already won several prestigious races and titles in his long motorsport career. On Saturday, however, he was finally able to fill a gap in his trophy cupboard. The three-time DTM champion won the 45th RCM DMV Grenzlandrennen together with Jakub “Kuba” Giermaziak. For both the Audi works driver and the Pole, it was the first overall victory at a race of the Nürburgring Endurance Series (NLS). In achieving this, the Scherer Sport Team Phoenix driver in the Audi R8 LMS GT3 had to perform hard work, especially in the last 30 minutes of NLS4.

“I hoped of course that we would win. We had to fight hard for this, especially in the last two stints. I had a lot of fun. The BMW was extremely strong. Every victory, no matter in which race series, is valuable. Today’s win is very important to me,” said Rast.

Christian Krognes was constantly breathing down his neck in the Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M4 GT3. The Norwegian tried everything, at one point he was close to passing Rast when he attacked him on the outside at the Bilstein corner, but ultimately the traffic on the track prevented further promising moments. In the end, Krognes and teammate Sami-Matti Trogen missed the winning Audi R8 LMS GT3 by 4.673 seconds. “That was a close race. There was always only a small gap, but I couldn’t close it. I did my very best, but René was really quick. We had slightly changed the set-up of the car, this made the car a bit more difficult to control. Anyway, we had to try something to be able to overtake him”, Krognes said. Despite his so far best result in the NLS, Trogen, who comes from sim racing, also appeared to be a little disappointed: “We had the opportunity to win. The differences between real and virtual racing are marginal. Position two is a solid result.”

For team principal Ernst Moser, the day was a complete success: Frank Stippler and Vincent Kolb finished third for the Audi crew, 2:20.775 minutes behind the winner. “My start was good, I had a nice fight with ‘Uncle’ Stolz. Being in the lead, I handed over to Vincent and he did a good job, even though he had recently been suffering from Corona. It was not clear whether he would have enough power to keep up the stints. So P3 was the optimum and we are more than happy. Congratulations to the sister car, this is a great result for Phoenix”, said Frank Stippler and Kolb added: “My first stint was a little awkward, I lost quite a bit of time. In the last stint I was able to get some time back. I had suffered from Corona for ten days recently. So basically, I’m satisfied.”

Hubert Haupt unlucky, puncture in promising position

For a long time it looked like a three-party battle between Audi, BMW and Mercedes-AMG. But 77 minutes before the end, Hubert Haupt had to park his Mercedes-AMG GT3 at the Döttinger Höhe due to a rear left puncture. Together with Luca Stolz, the team principal of the Haupt Racing Team had temporarily even been in the lead of the large field on the legendary Nordschleife.

A whole Mercedes armada barely missed the podium. Luca-Sandro Trefz, Patrick Assenheimer and the young Swiss Julien Apotheloz, who drove very courageously especially in the first part of the race, secured fourth place for Landgraf Motorsport ahead of the two Schnitzelalm Racing teams Marcel Marchewicz and Miklas Born as well as Carrie Schreiner and Peter Terting. The performance of US-American Janine Shoffner and her partner Moritz Kranz was once again strong. Despite adverse conditions at the NLS comeback, the duo won again the SP9 Am class in the Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Team GetSpeed. Due to a yellow flag infringement in the qualifying, they had to start from the last position of the group. “I have missed racing at the Nordschleife, it is nice to be back here. And then to be able to take another class win straight away, that feels great,” said Shoffner.

Class win in CupX for birthday boy Felix von der Laden

In the Porsche Endurance Trophy Nürburgring Cup2, Team Black Falcon repeated its class win from NLS2 with the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (992) and drivers Tobias Müller and Paul Harkema. In Cup3, Jens Moetefindt, Moritz Oberheim and Thorsten Wolter from Team FK-Performance Motorsport took advantage of the technical problems experienced by the winners of the first two races, Mauro Calamia, Ivan Jacoma and Kai Riemer, to score their first success of the season. The trio from Schmickler Performance powered by Ravenol finished only sixth this time. Janis Waldow also celebrated a class win with the Mercedes-AMG GT4 in SP10 together with his team mates Max Lamesch and Andreas Patzelt at the debut of Waldow Performance. Felix von der Laden gave himself a present on his 28th birthday: first place in the CupX class together with Georg Griesemann, Maik Rönnefarth and Yves Volte in the KTM X-Bow GTX from Teichmann Racing.

Adrenalin trio leads the championship

In the championship lead after three races are Oskar Sandberg, Sindre Setsaas and Daniel Zils, who celebrated their third victory in the VT2 class with rear- and four-wheel drive in the BMW 330i (G20) of Adrenalin Motorsport Team Alzner Automotive. Hot on their heels are the two-time Cup2 winners Müller/Harkema (BLACK FALCON Team IDENTICA); in third position are JayMo Härtling and Michael Sander, who so far took one victory and two second places in their class with Schnitzelalm Racing’s BMW M240i Racing.

The NLS continues on 9 July with the ROWE 6h ADAC Ruhr Cup Race.