Walkenhorst wins thrilling battle at NLS2

The second race of the Nürburgring Endurance Series was a true motorsport thriller. The unpredictable weather conditions in the Eifel played a major role at the NIMEX 47th DMV 4-Hour Race. Jakub ‘Kuba’ Giermaziak and ‘Jesse Krohn’ in the Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M4 GT3 coped best with the difficult conditions in the Green Hell. After 4:02:08.251 hours, the duo took the chequered flag as winners. Their lead over second-placed Matteo Cairoli and Julien Andlauer in the Porsche 911 GT3 R from Rutronik Racing was 21.764 seconds at the finish. In third place finished Daniel Harper, Max Hesse and Neil Verhagen in the BMW M4 GT3 of the BMW Junior Team.

In qualifying on Saturday morning, the second-placed drivers were still the fastest: Rutronik Racing celebrated its first pole position in the NLS. The Italian Cairoli completed the 24.358 kilometre combination of the Nürburgring short circuit and the Nordschleife in 9:06.584 minutes on a drying track. At the end of the time battle, the first 18 positions were within an interval of less than ten seconds. Second place in qualifying went to ROWE RACING. In the race, however, start driver Eng had an accident at the Flugplatz as early as lap one so that the #99 car was not able to repeat its victory from the opening race.

The first part of the race turned into a tyre poker game. On a wet track, the choice of tyres was crucial at the start. Courage paid off, as in the end the teams that opted for slicks were successful. The Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Mercedes-AMG Team GetSpeed with drivers Adam Christodoulou, Maximilian Götz and Fabian Schiller finished lap one in the lead. Giermaziak then took the lead in lap two. Due to a different strategy, the Porsche 911 GT3 R of Manthey EMA with Kévin Estre and Thomas Preining also were in the lead for a while. In the end, however, Walkenhorst was too dominant. All together, Giermaziak / Krohn were the leaders of the field for 17 of 27 laps.

“These mixed conditions just suit me,” said Giermaziak. “Maybe that’s also because I’ve been concentrating exclusively on the Nürburgring Endurance Series for the last two years. Besides that, we always made the right tyre choice and had a perfect strategy in the end.” The Pole suspects, however, that some of his competitors did not use their full potential: “That’s always the case before the 24h Race. Some teams don’t want to reveal their capabilities. We, on the other hand, just drove full throttle.”

In the end, the Rutronik team was very satisfied with second place. “We are very happy,” said Cairoli. “We already worked very consistently during the test on Friday and improved our setup step by step. So I felt very comfortable in our Porsche, especially in the morning qualifying. With an almost perfect car and a bit of luck in the Code 60 phases, we were able to finish on the podium.”

The BMW Junior Team managed a real tour de force. “Our qualifying wasn’t perfect with seventh place, then at the start I lost a few more places, so we dropped back to P16,” said Verhagen. “After that, we drove strong stints and worked our way forward. But in the end – admittedly – we also benefited from a penalty imposed on the third-placed Falken Porsche. Otherwise, it would on our own have been very tight with the podium.”

The fact that the Falken-Porsche ended up in a thankless fourth place was due to a penalty imposed by race control after Alessio Picariello hit a car while lapping. The Manthey EMA Porsche was classified fifth. ROWE RACING took sixth place with the remaining BMW M4 GT3. Best Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II was the #15 Audi Sport Team Scherer PHX. The top 10 positions were completed by Audi Sport Team Land, the second Falken Porsche and the GetSpeed Mercedes-AMG of Christodoulou/Götz/Schiller.

The victory in the Am classification of SP9 went to Maxime Dumarey and Christoph Breuer in the Aston Martin Vantage GT3 of PROsport-Racing. Best Pro-Am drivers were Charles Espenlaub and Shane Lewis in CP Racing’s Mercedes-AMG GT3.

The win in the highly competitive CUP2 class of the Porsche Endurance Trophy Nürburgring went to Christopher Brück and Moritz Kranz of the team KKrämer Racing. In second place finished BLACK FALCON Team IDENTICA. There was also a thrilling duel in the CUP3. AVIA W&S Motorsport with Marius Rauer, Moritz Oberheim and Finn Zulauf prevailed against SRS Team Sorg Rennsport. At the finish, Heiko Eichenberg, Patrick Grütter and Fabio Grosse were just 1.617 seconds off first place.

The fastest car in the class of alternative fuels was the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup from FourMotors Bioconcept-Car – driven by rapper Smudo, Henrik Bollerslev, Thomas Kiefer and ‘TOM’. Last year’s champions are still on the road to success. Daniel Zils, Oskar Sandberg and Philipp Leisen in the Adrenalin Motorsport Team Motec BMW 330i fought a thrilling duel with Ranko Mjatovic, Michael Schrey and Sindre Setsaas in the FK Performance Motorsport counterpart, who once again had to be satisfied with second place.

In a fortnight’ time, the Nürburgring Endurance Series will be back in action. The 54th Adenauer ADAC Rundstrecken-Trophy will conclude the first third of the season on 15 April 2023. Tickets are available for 20 euros (children up to 14 years free of charge) at vln.de/tickets and at the box offices. This will get you into the open grandstands at the Grand Prix circuit, the exclusive spectator areas Brünnchen and Pflanzgarten as well as into the paddocks, the pit lane, on the starting grid and into the motorsport experience museum ring°werk.