First top-10 for Czepiel, bad luck for Kreutzpointers at Nürburgring in BMW M2 Cup
Updated: Aug 29, 2021
It was a weekend of lights and shadows at the Eifel for the ladies of the BMW M2 Cup: Mery Czepiel scored her first top10 of the season; the Kreutzpointner twins were hit by bad luck but still scored important points in race 1 and Sophia Menzenbach, who had shown promising improvements, had to sit out Race 2 for a technical issue.
The third appearance of the new BMW M2 Cup as a support series of the popular DTM championship took place on one of the most legendary tracks in Germany - the Nürburgring. Alonsgide previous race winners Tim Heinemann, Fabian Kreim and Louis Henkefend, four out of the five women of the championship were back on track for the third round, battling for more points and showcasing improvements weekend after weekend.
Alesia and Jacqueline Kreutzpointner were coming off a positive weekend at Zolder: Jacqueline proved to have great pace in qualifying and scored her first top-6, while sister Alesia was back in the top-10 in race 2 after a solid performance despite some unfortunate contacts. Mery Czepiel and Sophia Menzenbach continued to improve and fought within the pack.
At Nürburgring, one of the female entrants was missing: Carrie Schreiner was not able to compete in the Schaeffler-liveried BMW due to health reasons.
"Unfortunately, I was completely blown away this week with a renal pelvic inflammation. That's why I'm not going to start in the M2 Cup this weekend." - wrote Carrie via her Instagram. "I will give everything to be completely fit again quickly and wish my colleagues all the best for the races."
Vincent France scored his first pole position in the BMW M2 Cup ahead of the first race of the weekend - but his achievement brought him no luck, as he lost several places at the start and dropped to fifth. France then tried to catch up and recover but a contact forced him to retire from the race.
But the start was also a messy one for some other drivers, following a misunderstanding at the moment of the lights out: "What a mess! The start was actually cancelled, but the first row started. So, even though I did the right thing with not pushing, I lost a lot of time and places. That’s not fair but that’s racing", Alesia Kreutzpointner described the situation, which wasn't clear for most of the grid as some drivers acelerated off the line and some others noticed the aborted start and thus didn't.
Henkefend, meanwhile, had snatched the first place at the start and pulled away from the pack. Behind him, Kreim and Hancke battled for second and third places - with Hancke ultimately passing Kreim with three laps to go to finish on the podium again.
Jacqueline Kreutzpointner, who passed Alesia at the beginning of the race, battled with her sister throughout the competition. The duo made up position after position to finish seventh and eighth respectively, with more important points added to their records.
Sophia Menzenbach had one of her best races of the season so far, with good pace and racecraft. The German is improving weekend after weekend and finished the race close to the point-paying positions in P11, but a 10 second time penalty for track limits dropped her down to 12th in the end.
Menzenbach's penalty promoted Marcelina Czepiel in P11 - which represented her best finish of the season so far. The young Polish racer, finally without having her races comprimised by issues of contacts, had a clean race and continued to get closer to a top-10.
The second race saw Hancke on pole position, followed by Kreim and France.
Alesia Kreutzpointner, who had a remarkable qualifying session despite the difficult circumnstances, lined up in sixth position. Unfortunately, Sophia Menzenbach was forced to miss the race due to technical issues on her #9 car: "My team tried everything possible yesterday so that I could start again today." - she said. "But unfortunately I cannot start due to a technical error".
Hancke was flawless: had a perfect start, led the race from the first lap to the end and took victory in the sixth race of the season. But, behind him, there was more drama: Alesia Kreutzpointner - in her highest starting position so far - was squeezed between the cars of Salman Owega and Vincent France; the contact inevitably ended the race of all three drivers on lap 1.
"In the second, I had a promising starting position. Sadly I was involved in an incident that was not my fault." - explained Alesia. "But that's racing. In the end, I can be very proud of my development and I'm already looking forward to Spielberg", she added after the weekend, already looking ahead of the next round.
But, as for the previous rounds, the BMW M2 Cup continued to provide close racing from lights to flag: Jacqueline Kreutzpointner fought hard with Michael von Zabiensky - who, in a too optimistic move, dived into a closing gap and spun the yellow DHL-liveried BMW driven by Jacqueline and unfortunately ended her race.
"Someone kicked me out of the race, no words needed!" - wrote Jacqueline after the disappointment. "Could have been a good one. I’ll come back stronger" - she added, completing a weekend where she nevertheless good points for the championship in the first race.
Louis Henkefend attempted several attacks on Kreim and eventually took advantage of a mistake from his rival to overtake him, before hunting down the leading car of Hancke. Henkefend had just about managed to catch up with the race leader when the chequered flag dropped, as he wasn't able to find a way past him. After the race he would be handed a drive through, converted into 30 a second-time penalty to his racing time for track limits. He thus dropped down to 6th.
Nicolas Hancke took a lights to flag victory, ahead of Fabian Kreim and Davit Kajaia who benefitted from Henkefend's penalty. With this result, Kreim snatches the lead of the championship by two points.
With yet another solid and trouble-free race, Marcelina 'Mery' Czepiel topped her best result in the series so far and, with an impressive 9th place, the young Polish lady scored her first top-10 and good points for the championship.
As the series enters the second half of its inaugural edition, Jacqueline Kreutzpointner sits eighth in the championship standings (43), with her twin sister Alesia tenth (31).
Sophia Menzenbach precedes Mery Czepiel by just one point, 22 to 21 in 12th and 13th position respectively on the points table.
The next event is scheduled from 3rd to 5th September at the Red Bull Ring, Austria.