Christian Krognes and Jakub 'Kuba' Giermaziak in the BMW M4 GT3 from Walkenhorst are currently no match for anyone in the Nürburgring Endurance Series. The duo celebrated their third victory in a row at the 55th ADAC Barbarossapreis. For Krognes it was the fourth triumph of the year, for 'Kuba' even the fifth. Secondly leading the race, David Pittard, Nick Catsburg and Felipe Fernández Laser in the Ferrari 296 GT3 of Frikadelli Racing had to admit defeat in second place. Vincent Kolb and Frank Stippler in the Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II from Scherer Sport PHX ended their run of bad luck with third place.
Excitement was the order of the day at the eighth race of the NLS in the 2023 season, with Frank Stippler securing the fourth pole position of the year for the Scherer duo. In the starting phase, Stippler defended the lead until the first pit stops. Further leading laps were collected by the team-mates of the winners, Dylan Pereira and Sami-Matti Trogen, in addition to the later first and second-placed drivers. The decision for victory came at the final pit stop. In light drizzle in the final third of the race, the Frikadelli squad lost valuable time on tire selection. "The driver wanted slicks, the race engineer wanted rain tires and I then made the decision in favor of slicks," said team boss Klaus Abbelen. The tire choice was to prove correct, with the delay at the pit stop ultimately handing the Ferrari team a 2:24.758-minute deficit.
"I must say it was a very tough battle," said Giermaziak. "We were lucky with the first pit stop - we were able to gain time there. After that, we were almost on par with the Ferrari, even though it's unbeatable on a straight track." Krognes, who had to admit defeat to the Ferrari in a direct duel, said, "It was a cool fight! Especially during the rain, it was very difficult to tell on the track whether it was wet or dry there. It was a real challenge, Nicky was very fast, but I'm glad we came out of the race in first place."
Catsburg describes the gripping duel with Krognes as follows: "Chris and I had a lot of fun at the beginning of the stint, he was very fast then. Then, at the end of the stint, his tires went flat, so I was able to catch up. And then the rain started. I mean I love this track, but I hate these conditions! When you're on slicks and it starts to rain... I managed to get past Chris and was able to get a gap out. Out of nowhere, though, he was then back on me."
On the end of his streak of bad luck with three retirements in a row, Stippler said, "The fact that the streak of bad luck has now been broken is obviously good. Something like this also puts a damper on the mood of the co-drivers and the team when you have to experience so many retirements. That's why it's good to have this now, and it's like a salve for the team's wounds and souls." Kolb added: "The issue of punctures is definitely over, even if the lower track and air temperatures played into our hands, I think we're back where we left off last year."
Behind the top trio, Darren Turner, Ben and Phil Dörr drove to fourth in the Dörr Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage GT3. They were followed in the rankings by Pereira/Trogen in the Walkenhorst BMW. The fastest Porsche 911 GT3 Cup was driven by Christopher Brück, Tobias Müller and Moritz Kranz for Krämer Racing in sixth place.
Nasr takes first step towards DPN A
Ex-Formula 1 driver Felipe Nasr has mastered his first step towards the big Northern Tire Permit. Together with Alesia and Jacqueline Kreuzpointner, he drove the Porsche Cayman GT4 CS to victory in the alternative fuel class. "Last week I was in Indianapolis, today here at the Ring - these are two completely different worlds," said the Brazilian. "I enjoyed every single lap. The Nordschleife is something very special. The idea behind my effort is to earn DPN A and then maybe compete here in the 24h race sometime in the future."
Other class wins went to Møller Bil Motorsport (Audi RS3 LMS) in the TCR class, Manheller Racing (BMW E90) in V4, Schmickler Performance powered by Ravenol in V6 and SP3T, among others, Zierau Hochvolt by Mertens Motorsport (Hyundai i30N) in VT2-FWD, FK Performance Motorsport (BMW M4 GT4) in SP10, Smyrlis Racing (Porsche 718 Cayman GTS) in SP4T and the 'girls only' team of GITI TIRE MOTORSPORT BY WS RACING in SP8T.
The final will be the big showdown
The championship decision remains open until the final. Both Daniel Zils, Oskar Sandberg and Philipp Leisen in the BMW 330i of Adrenalin Motorsport Team Motec and Heiko Eichenberg, Fabio Grosse and Patrik Grütter in the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 CS of SRS Sorg Rennsport took a class win at NLS8. This results in the following situation in the standings: Adrenalin has already scored the maximum possible number of points. With another victory at the finale, Sorg can still draw level. The points from the two strike-off results will then be decisive. A third place in the final will then be enough for the Adrenalin trio to claim the title. For the team from Heusenstamm, it would be the sixth in a row.
The result of the 55th ADAC Barbarossapreis remains provisional. Max Kruse Racing has announced an appeal against a decision by the stewards. Following a collision, the car of Benjamin Leuchter and Nico Otto was disqualified and Leuchter was stripped of his DPN for the upcoming event. The team now has 96 hours to justify the appeal.
The 47th PAGID Racing DMV Münsterlandpokal will conclude the 2023 season of the Nürburgring Endurance Series on October 7. The race runs over the customary distance of four hours. Tickets are available in advance here.