The new SP9 champions of the Digital Nürburgring Endurance Series presented by Goodyear are Alexey Nesov and Sebastian Schmalenbach. Third place was enough for the duo to win the title at the finale with their AMG Team URANO eSports Mercedes-AMG GT3. The race win at the KALFF 4h Race went to Sami-Matti Trogen and Aleksi Elomaa. After 31 laps, the BMW M4 GT3 of the team Walkenhorst Motorsport finished 3.36 seconds ahead of their brand colleagues Norbi Kiss and Kay Kaschube from Team BMW Bank.
There was a tough battle for the title in the top class SP9. Elias Seppanen and Alejandro Sánchez in the Mercedes-AMG GT3 of AMG Team HRT by Unicorns of Love nearly managed to defend their title. At times, Sánchez drove fabulous lap times in the virtual Green Hell, the fastest in 7:43.682 minutes. However, 80 minutes before the end of the race, the Spaniard made a serious mistake. While lapping in the Hatzenbach section, he collided with an SP3T car. Race Control considered the incident an avoidable collision and imposed a time penalty on HRT. This cleared the way for URANO to win the title.
“That was a fantastic race – sometimes you just have to be lucky,” Schmalenbach said happily after the race. “Our strategy was good, our pace okay. Unicorns of Love were on another planet today. But ultimately, Sánchez pulled himself out of the fight with his mistake. Our goal was to complete our race smoothly and that worked out perfectly. The last laps then were mega exciting because UoL imperatively had to stay in front of Razer.”
The beginning of the race in the Cup2 was dramatic. After being pushed by a fellow competitor in turn two, both title contenders of Team75 Bernhard by SimRC and PhoenixRacing eSports spun. Both were able to continue the race and fight their way back to the front, position by position, in the fiercely contested Porsche 911 GT3 R field. In the end, Jürgen Frank and Marvin Strehl finished third for Team75 Bernhard and thus secured the title. Phoenix finished fourth with Luca Alpert and Fabian Hochstatter and had to be satisfied with second place in the championship. The race win went to Gericke Motorsport with drivers Adrian Gericke and Loïc Rabier ahead of the Team75 Bernhard sister car, driven by René Ostermann. “Especially after the start, which was a bit wilder today, the joy is even greater,” said Strehl. “Whilst spinning, I saw that Phoenix was also affected. After that, our goal was to work our way up into the leading group quickly and safely. Phoenix followed on, but we were able to gain a small gap.”
In the GT4 class SP10, Felix Quirmbach and Ruben Bonga from BS+Competition clinched class victory, which in the end meant the title in the class. Second place was not enough for URANO eSports to take the title from the Munich based team. “It’s a good feeling, I am relieved to have won the race and to be on top of the podium in the end,” said Quirmbach. “Our goal was to win the class. When we then realised that it would be one lap longer, our competitors had to make an extra stop. For us, our plan paid off.”
In SP3T, the title also finally went to the day’s winners. Kieran Harrison and Nathan Amess won the race for SimRC. Team Heusinkveld, which also still had a chance of winning the title, could not get past fourth place and was left behind in the end. Second and third places went to Impulse Racing by GTÜ and Puresim Esports. Harrison was happy: “We managed again to work out the longer pit stop time. We didn’t change tyres throughout the race. It was a bit slippery at the end but with the SP3T car, the plan works out.”
In one week’s time, the real Nürburgring Nordschleife will finally be back in action. On 18 March, the 68th ADAC Westfalenfahrt will run over the classic NLS distance of four hours. Tickets are available here.