The winners of the HAPPY RACING 3.5h Race are Elias Seppanen and Alejandro Sánchez. In their Mercedes-AMG GT3, the duo took the first victory for the Mercedes-AMG Team HRT by Unicorns of Love in the penultimate race of the Digital Nürburgring Endurance Series presented by Goodyear. In second place finished Will Tregurtha and Vasilios Belesiotis of Williams Esports Razer. For the second time in a row, Adrenalin Motorsport – the champion team of the real Nordschleife Championship – took third place with Sindre Setsaas and Fabian Hari.
In a thrilling qualifying, NLS champion Setsaas secured pole position with a time of 7:47.556 minutes. At the start, however, the Norwegian had to admit defeat to European Truck Champion Norbi Kiss in the BMW M4 GT3 of Team BMW Bank and Alexey Nesov in the Mercedes-AMG GT3 of AMG Team URANO. Nesov led for the first few kilometres, but Kiss moved past the Mercedes-AMG before the end of lap one and remained in front until the first stop. Seppanen completed a quicker stop and returned to the race in first position. The BMW Bank team then defended second place. It was only after the change to Robby Foley, who touched the track barrier during an overtaking manoeuvre, that the champion team of the first DNLS season in 2020 dropped back.
At the front, HRT dominated the action until the chequered flag was waved. After 27 laps, Seppanen and Sánchez had a 42.28 second lead. With a time of 1:45.248 minutes, the Spaniard Sánchez even drove the fastest race lap on his DNLS debut in the last lap. “I am a bit annoyed that I didn’t manage to set a 1:44 lap in the end,” said the 22-year-old after the race. “I am nevertheless very happy with my first race for the team and in the championship. We had a great car and the pace was just right. Elias laid the foundation for our success. All I really had to do was to manage the lead and make sure I didn’t make any mistakes in the traffic.”
The URANO team made a mistake during the race at the pit stop, which resulted in a drive-through penalty. Nesov and Schmalenbach then fought their way up in the race from ninth to fourth place. Behind them, Dörr Esports, PhoenixRacing eSport, Walkenhorst Motorsport, Team BMW Bank, Team75 Bernhard by SimRC and Leipert eSports completed the top 10 positions.
After their victory in the Cup 2 class at the opening race, Marvin Strehl and Jürgen Frank from Team75 Bernhard by SimRC did even better in race four. The duo dominated over Luca Alpert and Fabian Hochstatter (Phoenix eSport) as well as Adrian Gericke and Loïc Rabier (Gericke Motorsport). “It went very well for us today,” said Frank. ” With Phoenix and URANO, we have very strong rivals in the class. It was an extremely tight battle, especially in the early stages. After the first stop, I coped a bit better with cold tyres and was able to gain an advantage. In addition, saving fuel was crucial today – we managed to do that perfectly.”
Managing fuel was also an issue in SP10. “It’s not so easy with a GT4 car because we don’t have a clutch and have to brake with the engine,” explained Dutchman Ruben Bonga, who dominated the competition in the BS+Competition BMW M4 GT4 as solo driver. “It was the goal to do one more lap in the first stint, and we managed to do so. After that, I was able to fully attack and take the win.” Second place went to Niclas Laubisch and Yoep de Ligt in the Urano eSports Mercedes-AMG GT4. Pascal Stix – also driving solo in another Mercedes-AMG – finished third for CoRe SimRacing.
In SP3T, Nathan Amess and Kieran Harrison celebrated the second win of the season for Sim RC $DNLS with the Hyundai Elantra N TC. Fabian Siegmann and Stefan Schella of Heusinkveld 401, who won race two, finished second ahead of Steen Ledger and Konstantin Stolzenburg of Puresim Esports.
The season finale of the Digital Nürburgring Endurance Series presented by Goodyear will take place on 11 March alongside the Nürburgring’s test and set-up days. The KALFF 4h Race will feature the longest distance of the 22/23 winter season.