Close to the points at Lausitzring, hit by bad luck in Imola: Hofmann looks ahead to Norisring
Sophie Hofmann had a promising debut of her second season in DTM Trophy - as she just missed out on points at Lausitzring - but the second round in Imola was marked by bad luck all weekend, as the German driver now looks ahead to Norisring, where she had her strongest weekend in 2021.
The third season of the GT4-based DTM Trophy started its third season - the first under the management of former DTM driver Martin Tomczyk. The top DTM feeder series got underway with a grid featuring drivers from eleven different nations and six brands such as Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Mercedes-AMG, Porsche and Toyota. While three women were to be found on the entry list last year, young German driver Sophie Hoffman will be the only female racer in 2022.
Hofmann, 23 years, is contesting her second DTM Trophy season, again in a Heide Motorsport entry - also having taken part in her first ever endurance race last January with the German team.
Last year, Hofmann had a best finish of seventh place and made some impressive progress over the year - in what was effectively her first full season in GT4 racing. In 2022, Sophie thus aims to score more points with consistency - and at the season opener at the Lausitzring, she was really close to the target. The eleventh place finish was in fact a really promising start to her campaign, but Hofmann was then met with a more challenging round at Imola.
Sophie Hofmann qualified in P18 for her first race of the season in DTM Trophy, with pole position going to Tim Heinemann (Toyota Gazoo Racing by Ring Racing).
Heinemann also claimed the first race victory and the fastest lap, after holding off the attack of Vivacqua right at the start of the race.
If the top three positions were never really under threat, behind them a few drivers were protagonists of good recoveries, like Nick Hancke (Speed Monkeys) who charged from 13th to 4th.
Sophie Hofmann also had a positive race, battling from 18th to 15th across the chequered flag. Not quite a point-scoring result, but a good base to build from - especially in such a tight and competitive field this year.
Heinemann was again the fastest driver around the EuroSpeedway Lausitz on Sunday's qualifying, ahead of Ricky Capo (KÜS Team Bernhard) and Vivacqua. Sophie Hoffman further improved and took the start of Race 2 from P14.
This time it wouldn't be so easy for Heinemann, as two Safety Cars erased his gap to his rivals. On lap 4, Jordan Wallace (FK Performance Motorsport) got stuck in the gravel and the race was neutralized to recover his BMW - but at the green flag, Heinemann was able to defend his leading position.
The next safety car was brought out on lap 14 when Jacob Riegel (Speed Monkeys) and Louis Henkefend made contact. A three-lap sprint race saw Marc de Fulgencio (FK Performance) passing Heinemann for the lead, but the latter immediately switched back and won ahead of Theo Oeverhaus and Colin Caresani. De Fulgencio dropped down to P7.
Sophie Hofmann battled again through the field and finished in eleventh position - just two seconds short of a top-10 and her first points of the season.
"P11 in the second race. Really a shame I narrowly missed the first point", she wrote. "Thanks to all the fans, you were amazing - good energy, good vibes."
While Heinemann dominated the first weekend at Lausitzring, he would find more competition from Edouard Cauhaupé (BWT Mücke Motorsport) in Imola, as the Frenchman claimed the pole position ahead of Caresani and Riegel. Sophie Hofmann lined up in P17 for the first race of the Italian weekend.
Cauhaupé had a tough job to defend his lead, as Caresani made a move stick on the first lap and was followed by Riegel. Caresani would control the race and survived two safety car phases intervention to win Race 1.
The interruptions were caused by Vivacqua - who was forced to park his car on track on the first lap - and by Steriyan Folev, who stopped on track with a technical issue.
Caresani and Riegel both held positions at the restarts, while Löhner defended from Oeverhaus and Cauhaupé - who had dropped to fifth - but ultimately secured the final podium spot.
Sophie Hoffman made her way through the field up to P12 and, when it was looking good for another strong result, she was hit at the restart of the race after the first safety car. Her Audi R8 LMS GT4 lost the rear bumper and one of the rims was severely damaged. Hofmann could continue the race, but she lost ground and finished P13 at the chequered flag.
Unfortunately, there was more bad luck for the young driver, as the team found damage to the engine after the race. The problem could not be fixed on track and Sophie Hofmann was forced to miss the whole second day of racing action at Imola.
Despite the unlucky outcome, Hofmann was again protagonist of a good recovery in the race, proving she could once again fight for the positions around the top-10. The next DTM Trophy round will take place at the famous Norisring street circuit from 1st to 3rd July, where Sophie Hofmann had her best result of the season last year, having scored a seventh place in Race 2.