Laura Kraihamer joined the ADAC TCR Germany as guest starter at the Lausitzring: at her very first experience of standing starts and in extremely tricky and wet conditions, the Austrian driver learned a lot at the Lausitz, where she scored a P6 and P8.
It was a very wet weekend at the Lausitzring when KTM factory driver Laura Kraihamer made her debut in the ADAC TCR Germany championship. The Austrian, who started in the ADAC GT4 in 2019 and took a victory together with Reinhard Kofler in Oschersleben, was entered in the Hyundai VIP car with Motorsport Team Engstler.
An experienced GT driver, Kraihamer is relatively new to TCR machinery and despite having raced the VW Golf TCR at the Nürburgring before, she had a short time to fully learn the new car - and had to do so in treacherous weather conditions.
"It was a great chance for me and a great possibility, to get to know something completely different. One could believe that the Golf TCR, which I drove in endurance racing, had something in common with the Hyundai, but that is not the case. Both are completely different cars, which suprised me as well, as the Hyundai does not have driving aids, traction control and so on. Not in the sprint version of the car and the whole vehicle dynamics are completely different."
Laura qualified in 8th position for her first ever TCR Germany race, which also meant that she would start race 2 from pole position, thanks to the reverse grid format for the first eight qualified drivers.
In Race 1, pole-sitter Harald Proczyk had a slow start and dropped back the order. Completely different, though, was the start for Antti Buri, who snatched the lead at the first corner and defended his position against Dominik Fugel. While Buri pulled away, Proczyk worked himself through the field and was back into P2 at the chequered flag, ahead of a very happy Albert Legutko in his "old" Civic TCR.
Jan Seyffert was the first who slipped into the mud: he tried to rejoin the track, but had a few issues to find the right way. With some efforts, he closed the gap to the rest of the pack during the race and fought with Dominik Fugel, who had dropped back after a contact for P7 in the closing stages, with Seyffarth ultimately having the better outcome.
Marcel Fugel had a crash with Dziugas Tovilavicius and was forced to retire with a broken suspension.
Laura Kraihamer had quite a messy start, but was then able to fight back during the race. She stayed away from troubles and finished in a remarkable 6th place in one of the wettest - and muddiest - races to date at Lausitz.
"It was a very difficult condition to learn the car better, but this way I was able to learn even more. The standing start was quite tricky, since I never had done a standing start before and it´s really challenging on a wet track - and I have to say that, unfortunately, I messed up the start twice."
In Race 2, Laura Kraihamer started from pole, but she had way too much wheelspin dropped back quickly, as her #103 Hyundai i30 N TCR was swallowed by the rest of the field.
Legutko took the lead, ahead of both the Fugel brothers - before Dominik Fugel could pass the leader shortly after and pulled away. Behind him, both the other championship contenders Buri and Proczyk carved their way through the field and finished 2nd and 3rd respectively, behind an unbeatable Dominik Fugel on a track that looked more like a rallycross arena as the laps went by.
Laura, who successfully recoverd to P8, said: "I knew that it would be difficult and that was the case. I noticed that my teammates were next to me after the start so I tried to get out of the way and unfortunately I dropped back fast."
"In this class it is difficult to get back places you've lost because the level is very high. It was very cool to do this event and I´m thankful to take this with me from the whole weekend and it was a lot of fun. And I hope I will get the chance to be part of this again."
Nevertheless, it was positive weekend for the Austrian racer, who consistently showed progress and clinched a solid sixth place at her series debut.
The championship between Dominik Fugel, Annti Buri and Harald Proczyk will go down to the wire during the final weekend of the season at Oschersleben from 6th to 8th November.