First win of the season for Mercedes-AMG Team HRT by Unicorns of Love


The winners of the HAPPY RACING 3.5h race are Elias Seppanen and Alejandro Sánchez. Driving a Mercedes-AMG GT3, the duo took the first victory for Mercedes-AMG Team HRT by Unicorns of Love in the penultimate race of the Digital Nürburgring Endurance Series presented by Goodyear. Finishing in second place were Will Tregurtha and Vasilios Belesiotis of Williams Esports Razer. For the second year 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. However, at the start 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 pushed past the Mercedes-AMG on lap one and held the lead until the first stop. Seppanen completed a quicker stop and returned to the race in the lead. Team BMW Bank then maintained 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 fell. After 27 laps, the lead of Seppanen and Sánchez was 42.28 seconds. The Spaniard Sánchez even drove the fastest race lap in 1:45.248 minutes on his DNLS debut in the last lap. "I'm a bit annoyed that I didn't manage a 1:44 lap in the end," said the 22-year-old after the race. "I am 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 manage the lead and make sure I didn't make any mistakes in traffic."

The URANO team made a pit stop mistake during the race, which resulted in a drive-through penalty. Nesov and Schmalenbach then fought their way up from ninth to fourth in the race. 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 went one better in race four. The duo relegated Luca Alpert and Fabian Hochstatter (Phoenix eSport) as well as Adrian Gericke and Loïc Rabier (Gericke Motorsport) to places. "It went very well for us today," said Frank. "We have very strong opponents in the class with Phoenix and URANO. It was an extremely tight affair, especially in the early stages. After the first stop, I managed a bit better with cold tyres and was able to gain an advantage. In addition, saving fuel was the order of the day today - we managed that perfectly."

Managing fuel was also an issue in SS10. "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 single-handedly beat the competition in the BS+Competition BMW M4 GT4. "It was the goal in the first stint to do one more lap, which we managed to do. 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 in 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 longest distance of the winter season 22/23 is on the agenda at the KALFF 4h race.