The BMW M4 GT3 was again the benchmark in the second race of the Nürburgring Endurance Series (NLS) season. After ROWE Racing won the opening event two weeks ago, first place this time around went to Walkenhorst Motorsport. BMW M works driver Jesse Krohn (FIN) and his team-mate Jakub Giermaziak (POL) in the #34 car overcame difficult conditions to claim victory as the track dried out.
Having claimed pole position at the first race of the season in the #34 BMW M4 GT3, Giermaziak this time started from fourth place, working his way into the lead during an opening double stint on a damp surface. Krohn was able to defend that during the latter half of the race, crossing the line to secure victory with a lead of 22 seconds. Dan Harper (GBR), Max Hesse (GER) and Neil Verhagen (USA) lost a few positions during the opening stage before applying great speed and a smart strategy to battle back and put the #44 on the podium.
ROWE Racing endured an unfortunate race after their opening-day victory. Starting from second place, BMW M works driver Philipp Eng (AUT) quickly moved into the lead in the #99 car, only to spin on the damp surface and hit the crash barriers on the section of track known as Flugplatz. That put paid to the race for him and his team-mates Augusto Farfus (BRA) and Nick Yelloly (GBR). In the #98 BMW M4 GT3, Marco Wittmann (GER), Sheldon van der Linde (RSA) and Connor De Phillippi (USA) fell back just after the start after Wittmann was forced to avoid a spinning car. Just like BMW Junior Team, the #98 battled back to finish the race in sixth place. The #35 BMW M4 GT3 from Walkenhorst Motorsport with BMW M works driver Jens Klingmann (GER) and Thomas Neubauer (FRA) in the cockpit secured twelfth place.
Reactions to the race
Andreas Roos (Head of BMW M Motorsport): “The BMW M4 GT3 once again made a very good impression at the second race of the season on the Nürburgring Nordschleife. I am particularly pleased that all our teams are clearly coming to terms really well with the car. Congratulations to Walkenhorst Motorsport on the win! With pole position at the season-opener and first place in this race, the team is illustrating that the BMW M4 GT3 is competitive under all circumstances – which was precisely our objective during development. We are very satisfied with the performance of our GT flagship thus far. Congrats to BMW Junior Team and BMW M Team RMG on the podium finish as well. It’s a shame that the #99 BMW M4 GT3 from ROWE Racing had an accident but things like that can happen. What’s important is that Philipp Eng is fine.”
Jesse Krohn (#34 BMW M4 GT3, Walkenhorst Motorsport): “I simply can’t remember when I last won here on the Nordschleife. It’s a brilliant feeling. A big thank you is due to the team, BMW M Motorsport and our tyre partner Yokohama, who have provided us with a fantastic package. We were competitive on our tyres in all conditions. I always had total confidence in the car and it was a pleasure to be out on the circuit. We couldn’t have wished for a better start to the preparations for the 24-hour race.”
Neil Verhagen (#44 BMW M4 GT3, BMW M Team RMG): “The conditions were tricky. We took a risk at the start and went with slicks. I overdid it a bit at the start and lost a few places after some wheelspin. However, our strategy did pay off in the end. We changed our pit stop rhythm to get out of the procession of GT3 cars, where it is very difficult to overtake. With a clear track, our speed was great and we caught up so much time that we reached the podium. We weren’t even thinking about that after the first lap.”
Philipp Eng (#99 BMW M4 GT3, ROWE Racing): “That was my mistake and I feel extremely sorry for the whole team and my driving team-mates. The conditions were difficult. There was a dry line through the Flugplatz section and unfortunately my left rear tyre went into the wet area. I spun halfway round and nearly caught it, but then I just wasn’t able to stop it from spinning completely into the crash barriers. Of course, it’s really annoying that we had to retire, but if there’s a team and a manufacturer that can come back from that, it’s ROWE Racing and BMW M Motorsport.“
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