BMW M2 Cup: Alesia Kreutzpointner finishes season on a high, Stalidzane returns to racing
The last round of the 2022 BMW M2 Cup season saw three races and mixed feelings for the three female drivers on the grid: Alesia Kreutzpointer had a really strong weekend with multiple top-ten finishes, while her sister Jacqueline was chased by bad luck. Patricija Stalidzane returned to racing after almost 3 years and focused on getting back in the rhythm at Hockenheimring.
The final event of the 2022 BMW M2 Cup, support series to DTM, was held in Hockenheim and offered a surprise, with an additional race being added to the schedule on Friday, after two races were cancelled earlier in the season. Alongside Alesia and Jacqueline Kreutzpeutner - the two talented twins that are racing in their second season in the championship - Patricija Stalidzane joined the grid and made her return to racing: the German/Latvian racer had last competed in the 2019 GT4 Germany championship, before the pandemic put her racing plans on hold. The championship battle was heated between Maxime Oosten and Fabian Kreim: everything would be decided this weekend during the three last races of the season. Kreim started from the pole position - but just a couple of laps later, Oosten took over the lead and pulled away. Towards the back in the grid, there was early drama when Sean Fuster missed his braking point by some margin and hit David Müller into a spin - and sent him at the back of the field - while Jarno D´Hauw was forced to retire. Oosten led Kreim throughout the remaining laps, but behind them, the battle for third was on fire: Lorenz Stegman, Bart Horsten, Robert Hefler and Michal Makeš fought hard over several laps, until Makeš made his way around Stegman to clinch the last step of the podium and the victory in the rookie category. Alesia Kreutzpointner finished 11th, with Patricija Stalidzane 14th in her first race in over three years. Jacqueline Kreutzpointner retired from the race earlier. "The day started well with a nice result in free practice", commented Jacqueline. "Afterwards we had an additional race, because of the cancellation of the second Red Bull Ring race" "I was on P8, when another driver hit me at the beginning of the race", she explained. "I couldn’t have done anything to avoid it. I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Double hard, because I missed the points for another top 10 result and had a broken car." "The mechanics gave everything to repair the car for the qualifying in the evening. We just made it in time but I had no confidence in the car. It felt like something was wrong." - Jacqueline recalled. Race 2 saw more drama for the championship battle, as right after the start, Kreim was forced to retire from the race after a collision with another driver. Kreim wasn't able to brake and steer due to a damaged tie rod. That promoted race winner Oosten into a great position, as he opened the gap to Kreim by 20 points and just needed one more point to win the title in Sunday´s last race. But it wasn't an easy task for Oosten either: Stegmann tried everything to pass him, but he had to settle for second place, finishing just 0,44 seconds behind Oosten. he preceded Hefler, who started the race from pole position but dropped back at the beginning - and made is way up again. Alesia Kreutzpointner had another really strong race and returned to the top ten with a positive tenth place, followed by her twin sister in 11th and Patricija Stalidzane in P13.
In Race 3, the 2022 BMW M2 Cup champion Maxime Oosten stole the show once again - as he will now step up the ladder, moving to DTM Trophy in 2023. Oosten completed his weekend perfect with three victories in three races and sealed the championship title ahead of Kreim, who finished second in the race. Leyton Fourie - who started as guest driver last weekend - was third. While it was a calmer race at the front, just behind them there was a big accident in the first lap: Jacqueline Kreutzpointner had a brake failure and crashed heavily into Hefler. The accident left both cars significantly damaged. Both drivers were checked in the medical centre but were luckily uninjured. With another battling race, Alesia Kreutzpointner fought elbows-out and claimed another tpo ten, finishing ninth. Stalidzane was 12th, completing her comeback weekend with three solid races, focusing on getting back in the rhythm. "I’m a bit all over the place since I expected to start where I stopped two years ago, but as I must realize a new car and the passed time do need some time to adjust." - said Patricija Stalidzane Alesia and Jacqueline Kreutzpointer finished several times in the Top10 this season, displaying a good learning curve, in the increasingly competitive BMW M2 Cup field.