Phoenix Racing is jubilant. The team from Meuspath at the Nürburgring celebrated its second double victory in a row at the PAGID Racing 46th DMV Münsterlandpokal. In the penultimate race of the Nürburgring Endurance Series, Jakub "Kuba" Giermaziak and Kelvin van der Linde were flagged off as winners after 4:00:20.906 hours and 27 laps. Frank Stippler and Vincent Kolb finished 28.797 seconds behind in the second Phoenix Audi. Marcel Marchewicz, Marek Böckmann and Kenneth Heyer in the Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Schnitzelalm Racing celebrated the first podium place. In the battle for the championship, a preliminary decision has been made in favour of Daniel Zils, Oskar Sandberg and Sindre Setsaas. The quartet has an unassailable lead ahead of the NLS season finale in a fortnight' time.
Jakub "Kuba" Giermaziak is one of the most successful NLS drivers of the 2022 season. In the Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II of Scherer Sport Team Phoenix, the Pole took his third victory of the season on Saturday. Prominent were the names of his team-mates: He clinched the first triumph together with René Rast at NLS4, the second with Kim Luis Schramm and Luca Engstler at NLS7, and finally the third with Kelvin van der Linde. "Winning never gets boring," grinned Kuba at the finish. "Every single win feels fantastic. Kelvin set a very good pace in the first stint, so I could be relaxed about the race." After a four-month absence from the Nordschleife, 24h winner van der Linde made a successful return to the Green Hell. "The first laps were a bit 'shaky'," said the South African. "After that we had a perfect strategy and were able to drive freely."
The first section of the race was marked by an exciting battle for the lead. At the start, Tim Heinemann in the Porsche 911 GT3 R from Falken Motorsport initially took the lead. Alessio Picariello in the Dinamic Porsche passed the novice before the end of the first lap. "Grello", the Manthey Racing 911, fell victim to an accident at the same time. Stippler took the lead on lap three and in the phase of the first pit stops the Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Landgraf Motorsport temporarily took the lead. However, after 15 laps it was forced to retire with a technical defect. The third-placed Schnitzelalm Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 and the EMA Porsche fielded by Manthey Racing also clocked up kilometres in the lead. Olsen had an accident shortly before the end while in a promising position and Dinamic Motorsport pitted for too short a time. In the end, they finished fifth behind the second Schnitzelalm-AMG of Carrie Schreiner and Peter Terting. Heinemann and his team-mate Ragginger were flagged off in third place, with the duo in the Falken Porsche dropping back to seventh due to yellow card offences.
Stippler and Kolb claimed second place for the fourth time this year. "I am very happy," said Kolb. "Of course it foxes me a bit to only ever finish second. But you have to remember that I have a normal job from Monday to Friday. So it's cool to be second at the end with all the top riders in the NLS."
The final metres were a rollercoaster of emotions for final driver Heyer in the Schnitzelalm-AMG. On the Döttinger Höhe, Ragginger in the Falken Porsche passed him. "I just thought that was it for our first podium," said Heyer. "When I was then not guided into the Parc Fermé but under the podium, I was initially taken aback. Now the joy is great." Marchewicz added: "That was a perfect end to the season for our first GT3 year on the Nordschleife. We worked towards this for three years, then we had a lot of bad luck. The current success is especially important for the team, which did a perfect job again."
Adrenalin trio on the verge of winning the title
At the PAGID Racing 46th DMV Münsterlandpokal, the preliminary decision was made in the championship. Zils, Sandberg and Setsaas took the seventh class win in a row in the BMW 330i of the Adrenalin Motorsport Team Alzner Automotive. This gives the trio an unassailable lead in the drivers' standings and they will be crowned the new champions of the Nürburgring Endurance Series at the finale in a fortnight' time. "I haven't even realised it yet," admitted Zils, who has narrowly missed out on the title several times in recent years. "We did everything exactly the same today as we always do. But the pressure from our opponents was noticeably greater." Sandberg describes the secret of success: "We are a damn good driver trio. We talk openly about our strengths and weaknesses and always try to bring out the best for the team in the end. Speaking of the team, Adrenalin simply knows how to build good cars and accordingly has a big share in the success. It's not without reason that it's the fifth title in a row for the team around Matthias Unger." Setsaas was also overwhelmed: "What happened today is still beyond my perception. I was at the Nürburgring for the first time at the 24h race when I was nine years old and have dreamed of being successful here ever since. Fifteen years later it has worked out."
The finale of the Nürburgring Endurance Series takes place in a fortnight' time. The make-up event of the 46th NIMEX DMV 4h race, which was cancelled in April due to weather conditions, will conclude the 46th season of the Nordschleife championship. The race distance is four hours. Tickets are available from 18 euros. Children up to 14 years of age are admitted free of charge.