Another good day for the women of NLS at the Green Hell
Updated: Jun 28
The fourth round of NLS featured a reduced field of female drivers; Laura Kraihamer, Michelle Halder, Janine Shoffner, Chantal Prinz and Sophia Gachot again fought at the top of their respective classes, securing several podiums.
It was time for the fourth round of the NLS - formerly known as VLN - at the Green Hell. The teams hit the track at the legendary venue once again for the first time after the ADAC 24H race, and a few weeks after the previous Nürburgring Langstrecken Series' round.
This time, viewers were allowed back on track: just a limited amount of tickets were available, but it is nevertheless a first step towards normality.
Another great news ahead of the race weekend had already made headlines: the late Sabine Schmitz will get her own corner on the famous German track. Born and raised around the most challenging racetrack in the world, Sabine will have her place at the Nordschleife forever: the legendary track has in fact officially announced that one corner will be named after the popular driver - one of the most influential women in motorsport.
Schmitz, who became the first ever woman to win the 24H of the Nürburgring in 1996 - was born and raised a few metres away from the track and was one of the greatest ambassadors in the world for the 25km-long circuit.
The pole for the 4 hour long race was scored by the #24 Audi R8 LMS GT3 of Rocco/Kolb/Niederhauser/Dontje. In seventh place on the grid it was the first team with a female entry: the #9 Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Janine Shoffner/Kranz. The #24 defended its lead at the start, but behind them, a collision between the #34 BMW M6 GT3 of Krognes/Pittard/Tuck and the #2 Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Giermaziak/Kechele sent the latter into a spin.
In SP3T class, the #307 Seat Cupra of Michelle and Mike Halder followed the #10 driven by Gülden/Wasel/Yerly. Michelle did the race start for the team and tried her best to catch the #10 car ahead of her, for the lead in class.
With good stints from both Michelle Halder and her brother Mike, the family-run team ultimately finished scond across the finish line in SP3T class. "Starting in second place, we were able to fight our way forward and Mike took the lead. But Andy Gülden has once again ignited the rocket and passed us again", commented Michelle, who is nonetheless happy about the second place in class.
She will now head to Jarama, Spain, for the second round of the Spansih TCR championship, where she won at her debut at the season opener at Navarra.
The #9 Merceds of Janine Shoffner and Moritz Kranz passed the #44 BMW M6 GT3 driven by Harper/Hesse/Verhagen for third place overall - then coming back to the pits at the end of the lap.
There was drama for the #34 of Krognes/Pittard/Tuck in second place overall, as they slowed down and were forced to retire from the race due to transmission issues.
The race win was ultimately scored by Harper/Hesse/Verhagen in the #44, ahead of the #5 Audi R8 LMS GT3 or Kolb and Stippler. Third place went to the #2 of Gierziak/Kechele, but a time penalty would later drop them back to P6 overall, promoting the #7 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo with Jefferies and Di Martino behind the wheel to third place overall.
Janine Shoffner and Moritz Kranz scored their best result of this season to date with a P9 overall and another class win in SP9 AM.
Laura Kraihamer was back behind the wheel of the KTM X-Bow this weekend; the Austrian ace and KTM factory driver had an remarkable first stint, where she moved from P58 overall to P24 - before the team was forced to retire the car due to a technical issue.
Chantal Prinz and her team conquered once again the Green Hell in the one-car H4 category.
The next race will take place in two week's time, on July 10th - obviously on the mighty tarmac of the Green Hell in Germany.