Racereport Spa-Francorchamps 16.07.2022
The return of the DMV NES 500 to Spa-Francorchamps ended with a BMW triple victory. Luther/Schmickler (BMW M4 GT4) won in round five of the season ahead of their brand colleagues Koen de Wit (BMW M4 GT4) and Keilwitz/Kuzdas/Duller (BMW M3 E46).
For a long time it didn't look like Michael Luther and Markus Schmickler would win their first NES 500 race. At the front Koen de Wit had established a comfortable lead from the second lap. The Belgian delayed his last two stops for a long time. It wasn't until lap 42 that de Wit came into the pits for his second stop. Nevertheless, the gap to the fast TCR Golf with Benjamin Leuchter and Kim Berwanger remained more than a minute. When the safety car deployed again 40 minutes before the end of the race, the lead quickly melted away. Suddenly not only Leuchter/Berwanger were within striking distance, but also the teams from Duller Motorsport and Wiesmeier/Lemmerhof (Seat Cupra TCR). Just like de Wit, the pursuers had to come to the last stop again.
That's exactly what played Michael Luther and Markus Schmickler into the cards. The duo had completed the last stop on lap 39. The safety car phase equalized the lap deficit and when the traffic light switched to green, the two Schmickler Performance drivers were suddenly in first place. For de Wit, the lead had changed to a deficit of more than 13 seconds. And it got bigger round by round. Because the later winners once again presented a hell of a pace that de Wit could no longer keep up with. Only third-placed Daniel Keilwitz was still able to set comparable times. When the black and white checkered flag fell, the clock showed a lead of more than 30 seconds to the second place. Behind him, de Wit still managed to keep the Duller Motorsport M3 at a distance. The trio secured the third place overall 1.22 minutes behind. “We drove here for the first time in Spa. So we're really happy with the third place. With Daniel Keilwitz we had a very fast driver in the car,” said Herwig Duller, who was satisfied with the result.
Victory for Lemmhof/Wiesmeier in the NES 8
The NES 8, which had a strong presence this weekend, only decided shortly before the end. At the start of the race, Heiko Hammel and Reinhard Nehls made a strong showing with their Opel Astra TCR. But the duo just isn't lucky this year. In the meantime in second place, the Astra was eliminated after 38 laps. Benjamin Leuchter and Kim Berwanger, who had pushed Hammel/Nehls from the second place in the eleventh lap, were now the favorites to win. But an extra lap through the pit lane ultimately cost the possible victory. This went to Günther Wiesmeier and Daniel Lemmherof in the Cupra TCR from Wimmer Werk Motorsport. The decision for the last place on the podium in the NES 8 fell between Richter/Töpel/Koch (Porsche Cayman GT CS) and Xavier/Dawson/Constantini (VW Golf TCR). The Porsche trio prevailed with a lead of 14 seconds. Things were a lot closer on the track. Because for the TCR-Golf there was a ten second penalty on top of that.
Victory in the NES 6 was clear for Marco Daedelow and Tom Nittel (BMW M240i RC). Coming in tenth overall, the duo had their class under control at all times. Behind them Meixner/Nölken (BMW M240i RC) and Alpiger/Leissing (BMW M235i) came on the other places. Victory in the NES 7 went to Becker/Schmickler (Porsche 991) ahead of Driescher/Baum (BMW M240).
Another win for Ohlsson/Eis
After a lot of bad luck in the first races, Pia Ohlsson and Philipp Eis (VW Scirocco Cup R) finally got the hang of it. Immediately after their triumph in Assen, the two Scirocco drivers finished in a strong ninth place overall, followed by the next class victory in the NES 5. Around 31 seconds behind, Nieman/Knap (Renault Clio 7) crossed the finish line. Third were Borcheld/Richter in the BMW M3 3.0 E36. “It was incredibly crowded with all the 318ti and therefore a lot of traffic on the track. We always waited a bit and didn't rush into anything too quickly. We wanted to get through, that was our plan for the first two hours. Philipp got into the car in the last hour to really step on the gas again. That worked out in the end,” reported Pia Ohlsson. Philipp Eis agreed with his teammate: “I think we worked quite well in terms of tactics. The race was perfectly divided by us. At first we were rather conservative. In the end we pushed more.”
The next win in the NES 3 went to Alex Pawlow and Thomas Röpke, who had joined Andreas Hansen in Spa. The trio had clawed the lead from their teammates Heidrich/Volmer (both BMW 328i ST E36) on the second lap. They stayed close for a long time, but had to stay in the pits for a long time due to a technical defect. That was the end of the race for Heidrich/Volmer. Uenzen/Uenzen (BMW 325i E90) took second place ahead of Poland/Poland (BMW 325i E36). “The race was very nice and made a lot of fun. With Andreas Hansen we had a third driver in the car this time. I knew what he drove and he delivered exactly. It's fun to drive with guys like that,” said Alex Pavlow after the race. There were clear winners in the NES 2, where Hermann/Schmid/Klinkhammer drove to victory with one lap ahead of Beckwermert/Michel/Bedbur and Hermann/Hermann/Hermann (all BMW 318ti Cup). The NES 1 went to the two Swiss Rodella and Gilbert Denzer.
In just two weeks the DMV NES 500 will continue in the Eifel. The sixth round of the season will take place at the Nürburgring from July 30th to 31st.
Pictures: Patrick Holzer & Denis Petermann
Text: arpRedaktionsbüro Patrick Holzer