It was a crazy weekend for the ladies of the new BMW M2 Cup at Red Bull Ring - with track limits being the main story of the weekend. Sophia Menzenbach and Mery Czepiel scored their best results of the season in Race 2, while Jacqueline and Alesia Kreutzpointner were haunted by bad luck.
Round 7 and 8 of the BMW M2 Cup led the series to the Red Bull Ring, in Austria, to battle out for victories in the fourth race meeting of the brand-new series. With a length of 4,318 kilometres and some big elevation changes, Red Bull Ring is one of the most popular racing venues for fans, who witnessed to some great racing by the 16 drivers of the BMW one make series.
Jacqueline and Alesia Kreutzpointer, Sophia Menzenbach and Mery Czepiel were again ready to battle for points, while Carrie Schreiner - racing in the gues Schaeffler car in the opning round of the season - had to miss the Austrian round for a clashing commitment with Italian GT in Imola.
The free practice on Friday was led by Michael Schrey, ahead of Colin Caresani and Louis Henkefend. The best female driver was Czepiel with the 12th fastest time, followed by the trio of Jacqueline and Alesia Kreutzpointer in P14 and P15 and Menzenbach in P16.
In race 1, it was Theo Oeverhaus to start from pole position, ahead of Davit Kajaia and Fabian Kreim.
And it was Oeverhaus to get the best launch off the line; he held the lead and tried to pull away from the rest of the pack immediately. As the leading group tried to keep up with the pace, the cars behind were all busy in their own fights for position. One of these groups included Czepiel, who was in a promising 11th position when her right front tyre deflated and she was forced to return to the pits for a tyre change.
Alesia Kreutzpointner had a moment when Michael von Zabiensky lost his car on the kerb and slipped across the track right in front of her #12 BMW - but the two did not make contact and rejoined after a short trip into the gravel to continue the race.
The battles across the track were interrupted by a Safety Car phase when Owega missed the braking point, slipped over the kerbs and lost the car. He spun across the track and hit the inside barrier. It would be the end of his race.
After the #7 car of Owega was recovered, the BMW M2 Cup field was given one last green sprint lap to the finish line. Oeverhaus continued to lead ahead of Colin Caresani and Davit Kajaia, with Jacqueline Kreutzpointner running in ninth place, Menzenbacher in P11 ahead of Alesia Kreutzpointer in P12 and Czepiel in P14.
It was a clean restart and, despite some skirmishes in the midfield, Oeverhaus took the chequered flag to win ahead of Caresani and Louis Henkefend, who passed Kajaia for the last podium spot. Jacqueline Kreutzpointer crossed the finish line in P8 as the best female driver.
"The Red Bull Ring is one of my favourite circuits. The starting field there was very close together in terms of times. But i was able to keep up with the pace! The race on Saturday went well for me. I got through without any mistakes and a very consistent pace", Jacqueline told us.
Behind her, her sister Alesia Kreutzpointer finished in P11, Menzenbach in P12 and Czepiel in P14.
The grid for the second race of the weekend saw Oeverhaus on pole ahead of Kajaia and Tom Nittel - son of former WRC driver Uwe Nittel. Jacqueline Kreutzpointner lined up again in P11, ahead of Czepiel in 12th, Alesia in 14th and Menzenbach in P16.
Oeverhaus was once again hardly challenged and converted pole position into race lead, pulled away fast. Jacqueline Kreutzpointer had a good start and gained two positions after the first lap, showing again strong pace the whole weekend. Meanwhile, close battles through the field kept the drivers busy for the first laps of the race.
Mery Czepiel was again unlucky as Michael von Zabiensky hit the young Polish driver and spun her around. Von Zabiensky limped back to the pits, but had to retired. Czepiel would eventually rejoin, but with a significant gap to the rest of the field.
The hard battles went on as Kreim and Kajaia made contact - sending the latter in the gravel, which required the intervention of the first Safety Car of the race.
At the restart, Oeverhaus checked out again and led ahead of Nittel and Caresani, while the female trio of Jacqueline and Alesia Kreutzpointner and Sophia Menzenbach followed from P9 to P11.
A second Safety Car was brought out by Alesia Kreutzpointer, stuck into the gravel after a spin.
The green flag waved again with less than 4 minutes to go and Oeverhaus confirmed his dominant pace with yet another flawless restart to take the chequered flag. He claimed victory ahead of Nittel and Schrey on the track - but the race wasn't certainly over.
After the race, many penalties were handed out by the race direction: firstly, the podium order was shuffled. While Oeverhaus was confirmed as the winner, Henkefend was the new runner up and Nicolas Hancke moved up to third.
The final results mixed up the order: on track, Jacqueline Kreutzpointer finished in seventh place, followed by Menzenbach in ninth and Czepiel in P12. But after the penalties were applied, it was Menzenbach to clinch her first top five in the series. Czepiel moved up to sixth and Jacqueline Kreutzpointer was hit hard from the penalties, dropping back to P11.
"Unfortunately, I was very unlucky on Sunday." - she told us.
"On the second lap, I was able to overtake two other drivers in Turn 4, but another driver overlooked me and crashed into my suspension."
"After that, my car was broken." - she explained. "I still wanted to finish the race to get at least a few points. In the end, I had to accept a time penalty, which put me far behind", said a disappointed Jacqueline Kreutzpointner.
"Of course, I was very disappointed by the race. I could have been much further ahead. But I am not giving up. It's nice to see the potential I have. That's why I will continue to work hard."
The next round will take place in Assen from 17th to 19th September.