An intra-team battle between the #16 and #5 Scherer Sport Team Phoenix Audi R8 LMS GT3s saw the former take victory in the 54. Zewotherm ADAC Barbarossapreis. Kuba Giermaziak, Kim Luis Schramm and Luca Engstler defeated teammates Frank Stippler and Vincent Kolb in a long battle for the win.
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Challenging track conditions around the 24-kilometre long Nürburgring had teams gamble on their first choice of tyres. With wet and damp parts around much of the track, some went for rain tyres, others for slicks. The right answer, as it would turn out after the opening lap: rain tyres.
After his pole position in the morning, Frank Stippler led the field to the green. Making a wide turn into the first hairpin, Nico Menzel forced his #25 Huber Motorsport Porsche 991.2 GT3R in front of the #5 Phoenix Audi to take the lead. The local’s time at the front would be short-lived, however, as Stippler retook the lead further into the opening lap.
While Stippler went on to extend his lead to just over half a minute over the SP9/GT3 Pro-Am class Porsche of Menzel in the first two hours, behind them Kuba Giermaziak had taken over the #16 Scherer Sport Team Phoenix Audi from Kim Luis Schramm in fifth place. One of the fastest drivers at the Nordschleife in recent years, the Pole moved up into third place and held the gap at about one minute throughout the second stint before handing over to GT3 debutant Luca Engstler for the third hour.
With Engstler now up against Vincent Kolb in the leading Audi, the German TCR champion began to close the gap. Just under one hour remaining, Engstler made his move when Kolb got stuck behind a slower car coming out of Flugplatz. With more speed out of the corner, Engstler slipstreamed alongside his teammate and snuck up the inside under braking for Aremberg.
Kolb returned the favour at the end of the lap when Engstler was held up by a slower car. Coming onto Döttinger Höhe, the Audis were split by a KTM X-Bow, however, in the slipstream down the long straight Engstler managed to retake the lead before both cars dived into pitlane for their final stop.
With some final encouraging words from Stippler, Kolb returned to the race ahead of the the #16 Audi that seemed to have missed its earliest departure time. However, with Giermaziak at the wheel, the race was far from lost for the green machine: on the outlap, Giermaziak closed the gap and passed Kolb to grab the lead with a daring move into Tiergarten.
Upping the pace for the final half hour, Giermaziak gave the fans an extra lap by crossing the finish line with just 4 seconds to go and taking the win after 28 laps with a gap of 21 seconds to Kolb for the Phoenix team’s second win of the year and a one-two victory at that.
Two minutes behind but with the handicap of starting from the back of the grid and additional pitstop time, the brand new #911 Manthey Racing Porsche 992 GT3R finished a remarkable third place in the car’s first race. Julien Andlauer and Fred Makowiecki worked their way to the front during the 4-hour race to debut the Porsche in the SP-X class for GT3 prototypes.
Another remarkable result was scored by the fourth-placed #2 Schnitzelalm Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 of lovers Peter Terting and Carrie Schreiner. The first SP9/GT3 podium finish for the team from Allgäu was the result of a clean race by the Mercedes crew.
Raced by two talented and quick drivers – Christoph Breuer and Nico Verdonck – the #17 ProSport Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 appeared in the SP9/GT3 Pro-Am class to finish fifth overall and take the class win.
Sixth overall and victory in the Cup2 class for Porsche 992 GT3 Cup machinery went to the #112 KKrämer Racing Porsche of Moritz Kranz, Christopher Brück and Karsten Krämer, with the latter only racing a single lap to maximise his Pro drivers’ running time. With just 5 seconds separating the KKrämer and #120 Avia W&S Motorsport Porsche 992 GT3 Cup of Tim Scheerbarth, Jahn David and Daniel Blicke, the move proved to be crucial is staying ahead at the waving of the chequered flag.
After Nico Menzel’s double stint in second place, the #25 Huber Motorsport Porsche 991.2 GT3R expected dropped down the order as Am drivers Jacob Schell and Klaus Rader took turns at the wheel eventually coming home in eighth place and second in SP9/GT3 Pro-Am.
Rounding out the top 10 one lap down were the #102 Black Falcon Team Identica Porsche 992 GT3 Cup of Tobias Müller and Hendrik von Danwitz in the Cup2 class and the SP-X’s #53 True Racing KTM X-Bow GT2 of Mads Siljehaug and Reinhard Kofler.
In the fight for the NLS championship, drivers Oskar Sandberg, Sindre Setsaas and Daniel Zils – competing with the #500 Adrenalin Motorsport Team Alzner BMW 330i in the VT2-R+4WD class and fresh off their sixth win of the season – are close to clinching the title as they now lead with a strong 109 points against the 85 of Mauro Calamia, Ivan Jacoma and Kai Riemer who finished third in their Cup3 class for the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 CS.
More exciting is the battle for the outright NLS Speed-Trophäe where the #16 Scherer Sport Team Phoenix Audi R8 LMS GT3 has taken over at the top of the chart as it leads its #5 sister car by just 3 points with a full 70 points still up for grabs.
Two more races remain on the NLS schedule for this year: on 22 October the Pagid Racing 46. DMV Münsterlandpokal takes place, followed on 5 November by the 46. Nimex DMV 4h-Rennen that was originally planned as NLS2 in April but cancelled due to forecasted snow.
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