Kuba Giermaziak and Jesse Krohn driving the #34 Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M4 GT3 took a commanding win in the second race of the 2023 NLS season at the Nürburgring coming from P5 on the grid to lead the race on lap 2. The team’s tactic to take a late first pitstop proved successful at the end and saw Krohn finish the race some 22 seconds ahead of the #21 Rutronik Racing Porsche 992 GT3R of Matteo Cairoli and Julien Andlauer.
The #21 Porsche had started on pole position and held it into the first corner but lost out into turn 2 to Phillip Eng in the #99 Rowe Racing BMW. Unfortunately for Eng the lead only lasted as far as Flugplatz where a wheel on the grass saw the #99 spin and make contact with the barriers forcing the Austrian to retire from the race.
By the end of the lap Giermaziak in the #34 had made his way from fifth at the start to challenge Maximilian Götz in #12 Mercedes-AMG Team GetSpeed Mercedes-AMG GT3 he shared with Adam Christodoulou and Fabian Schiller making a move on Döttinger Höhe but being passed again as the duo arrived at Tiergarten. The #21 Rutronik Porsche was in third, having made up ground to the leaders as they squabbled over first place. Giermaziak took his opportunity on the second lap as the leading trio entered the Nordschleife and once into the lead the Pole started to pull away and didn’t look back.
Having built the lead, it was up to Jesse Krohn to bring the car home but behind him, Dan Harper in the #44 BMW Junior Team BMW M4 GT3 was closing in and putting pressure on Krohn who following the pit stops and with less than an hour remaining needed to clear Thomas Preining in the #911 Manthey EMA Porsche 992 GT3R and start rebuilding the lead. When Krohn made his move, just 1.5 seconds were covering the top 3.
“It’s always fun to have to fight for the win — it feels more like a win when you cross the finish line,” said Krohn after the race. “But always when you have to make the actual pass on track to win it’s great.
“I had a good run on Preining. It happened in a place where you normally don’t want to stick your nose in but I had a gap and a side draft on him which pulled him back enough for me to go by into Mutkurve, so it was a fun one. Gladly it wasn’t a longer battle because Harper was catching me so I had to clear the Porsche as quickly as possible and pull away.”
The damp conditions were a test for all the drivers and Krohn was clear about the problems they can cause.
“There was all the time a little drizzle around the track and here you really don’t want to be flying into places where you start having water on your windscreen going flat-out and then noticing you have no grip. Finishing for us was the main thing. We needed the laps and we needed the experience from the race to build on for the 24 Hours.”
By the end, Krohn had successfully rebuilt his lead crossing the line over 21 seconds ahead of the #21 Rutronik Racing Porsche 992 GT3R of Matteo Cairoli and Julien Andlauer. Third place looked to be going to the #3 Falken Motorsports Porsche 992 GT3R of Klaus Bachler and Alessio Picariello. However, a late drive-through penalty for the Porsche squad for making contact with another car saw them drop to fourth place giving the #44 BMW Junior Team BMW M4 GT3 a deserved podium place.
Bachler wasn’t going to make it easy for the BMW Junior squad and did his best to heap pressure onto Max Hesse in the final half of the final lap. Hesse was up to the challenge and brought the car over the line in third for teammates Dan Harper and Neil Verhagen with Bachler just 2 seconds behind the BMW.
The Cup 2 category was won by the #121 KKrämer Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup with Christoper Brück bringing the car home in P18 ahead of Noah Nagelsdiek in the #102 Black Falcon Team Identica Porsche.
SP9/GT3 Am was won by Maxime Dumarey driving the #17 ProSport Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 he shared with Christoph Breuer finishing 22nd overall, while Pro-Am was won by the #45 CP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Charles Espenlaub and Shane Lewis who crossed the line in 25th.
Cup 3 for Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 CS vehicles was a closer affair with just 1.6 seconds separating the #960 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 of Avia W&S Motorsport and the #959 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 of SRS Team Sorg Rennsport.
Action returns to the Nürburgring on 15 April with the 54. Adenauer ADAC Rundstrecken-Trophy, the final NLS race before the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring in May.
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