Frank Stippler and Vincent Kolb have taken a thrilling victory in NLS9, having battled in their Phoenix Racing Audi to be in the right place at the right time to capitalise on penalties for their rivals.
Elsewhere, the Adrenalin Motorsport Team Alzner Automotive BMW won the V4 class to become NLS champions for the fourth consecutive year – the third title for Philipp Leisen and Danny Brink, who shared with Christopher Rink but was scoring points in the team’s other entry.
At the start of the race, the polesitting Konrad Motorsport Lamborghini got a great getaway to lead ahead of a fesity Michele Beretta in the Dinamic Motorsport Porsche at the end of the first 25km lap.
Pepper kept his nerve in the Huracán to fend off Beretta, but soon found himself relegated by Sven Müller in one of two flying Falken Motorsport Porsches, both of which had charged from the lower reaches of the top ten to be right in the mix for the lead.
Throw into that mix both the Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMSs started by Stippler and Jakub Giermaziak and the battle for the lead was thrilling throughout.
Thanks to the usual mix of Slow Zones, Code 60s and yellow flags, the lead battle stretched and shrunk but one pretty much constant throughout was Pepper – and co-driver Axcil Jefferies – having a slightly comfortable advantage at the head of the field.
That was helped by Müller engaging in a thrilling battle with Kolb and Giermaziak’s team-mate Kim Louis Schramm for second, which saw the trio tackling the Nürburgring nose-to-tail as each battled fiercely to be in front of the other.
Skirmishes were the order of the day and a particularly thrilling moment came when Schramm tried to out-drag Ragginger in the #4 Falken Porsche down the Döttinger Höhe, the latter retaining his second thanks only to having the inside line for Tiergarten.
Everything started to disintegrate in the final hour. First, Schramm was forced to pull in the #11 Phoenix Audi with a technical issue, and then Pepper was given the first of ultimately two penalties – a drive-through for speeding in the pits.
That pair dropping away promoted the two Falkens into a one-two, with the #4 of Müller and Ragginger leading the Lars Kern and Dennis Olsen entry. The latter though, had to come in for a late stop having ran a shorter middle stint, which dropped them ultimately off the podium.
Going onto the final lap, Müller led Pepper and Stippler but all of that was to suddenly change. Both Müller and Pepper were slapped with 35-second time penalties for separate incidents of overtaking under yellow flags – Pepper’s ironically came from his move on Müller to retake the lead in the opening laps.
Running close enough to the two leaders, Stippler and Kolb found themselves promoted into a surprise victory as they crossed the line. Victory also gave them the NLS Speed Trophy, an easy win in the end after their only rivals – the #44 BMW Junior Team M6 GT3 – came into strife in the opening stint after Max Hesse tangled with a Cayman while trying to lap it. Kolb has also secured the SP9 Class title.
Müller and Ragginger took second, while Pepper and Jefferies ultimately rounded out the podium – with Kern and Olsen missing out, their alternate strategy a gamble that didn’t quite pay off.
Fifth went to the Frikadelli Racing car, which won the Pro-Am division despite Klaus Abbelen not turning a lap in the Pro-Am entered Porsche 911 GT3 R, Felipe Fernández Laser and Tobi Müller instead doing the driving.
Black Falcon took sixth overall with its SPPro Porsche 911 GT3 Cup MR, the last car on the lead lap – 23 in all – with the #50 Twin Busch by équipe vitesse Audi R8 LMS seventh and winners in SP9 Am.
Elsewhere, the biggest result of the 45. DMV Münsterlandpokal came in the shape of the #1 Adrenalin Motorsport Team Alzner Automotive team winning Class V4 – securing the team its fourth NLS title in a row, and a third in four years for Danny Brink and Philipp Leisen. Joined by Christopher Rink, the trio finished 58th overall and comfortably winning their class to ensure their triumph over nearest title rivals, the #960 Porsche Cayman of W&S Motorsport Gmbh.
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