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  • Writer's pictureLIAM REDFORD

Laura Kraihamer returns to the GT2 European Series at Circuit Paul Ricard

Laura Kraihamer’s adaptability was on show at Circuit Paul Ricard, where the KTM factory driver rose above adversities on her return to the Fanatec GT2 European Championship.


Laura Kraihamer, True Racing KTM X Bow GT2, 2024 GT2 European Championship, Le Castellet
Photo credits: SRO/JEP

Competing in her first career race weekend at Circuit Paul Ricard, Laura Kraihamer overcame a number of challenges to score a best result of eighth in Pro-Am the Fanatec GT2 European Series. Alongside teammate Hubert Trunkenpolz, the True Racing duo rose above adversity after a testing issue required a new car to be transported to the circuit.


This left Kraihamer with extremely limited running heading into qualifying and the pair of races at her first visit to the circuit. Nonetheless, she performed admirably to ensure a trouble-free race one, before a technical issue led to an early retirement in race two after Laura had ran as high as eighth overall.


Kraihamer has established herself as leading light within endurance racing, while being a specialist in KTM machinery. Debuting in the Fanatec GT2 European Series in 2022, Laura competed at both Imola and the Red Bull Ring with a best result of sixth in the Pro-Am class at the legendary Italian circuit. Earlier this year, she was entered as a pro driver in KTM Vantage Racing's line up for the iconic 12 Hours of Bathurst - adding another important race to her resumé – although the car had to be retired after a practice accident by one of her teammates.


Returning to the Fanatec GT2 European Series for the opening round of the 2024 season, she teamed up with True Racing and series veteran Hubert Trunkenpolz, with the Austrian driver stepping onto the class podium on ten occasions across the previous three campaigns.


The Fanatec GT2 European Series has grown in stature since its inaugural season in 2021, with the Pro-Am category in particular attracting a diverse entry of both drivers and manufacturers. Finishing the opening test session at Circuit Paul Ricard seventh in the Pro-Am class, misfortune hit the True Racing team following an incident for Trunkenpolz. This resulted in a new car being transported from Austria and saw the pair missing both free practice and pre-qualifying.


Following an incredible job from the True Racing team, the KTM X-Bow GT2 was ready for qualifying with Trunkenpolz driving in the first session. The Austrian driver was caught out by track limit offences while getting up to speed as he ended the session 17th overall, eighth in Pro-Am. Kraihamer drove in the second session and used the twenty minutes to get up to speed after limited laps in the event to date - although she had to battle an ABS issue that made for some more challenges. Also placing 17th overall, eighth in class, Kraihamer was looking ahead to a day of progress with two races on Saturday.


Race one – which would effectively be used as a practice session for the drivers of the #17 machine – took place early on Saturday afternoon with bright and dry conditions for the Fanatec GT2 European Series drivers. Trunkenpolz took the start and kept it clean in the early exchanges, while building up his confidence in the new car. Gaining two overall positions by lap four, the Austrian driver had settled into a rhythm before the safety car was deployed for a stranded KTM of Denis Liebl. This was a good break for the True Racing duo, with Trunkenpolz able to catch the field while remaining eighth in Pro-Am.


Following the restart, Hubert was able to complete his stint without further incident before handing over to Laura for her first race at Circuit Paul Ricard. Kraihamer immediately bettered her teammates lap times and following the pit cycle this saw the #17 True Racing KTM X-Bow move up to 14th overall, eighth in class.


Throughout the stint, Kraihamer did a superb job of improving her lap times and although recovering from a sizeable deficit, her times matched those of the midfield runners, despite effectively being her first laps around the Paul Ricard circuit. Setting her fastest time on the penultimate lap of the race, it was a valiant effort from Laura who took the checkered flag eighth in the Pro-Am category.


Laura Kraihamer, True Racing KTM X Bow GT2, 2024 GT2 European Championship, Le Castellet
Photo credits: Gruppe C Photography

Kraihamer got behind the wheel for the start of race two, when a technical issue struck on the line up lap; she was able to restart the car by a power cycle and could take the start. Laura ensured she avoided contact in the opening corners, with her smart driving rewarded as two Mercedes AMG GT2 machines tangled ahead. The True Racing driver made steady progress in the opening stages, albeit hampered by a boost issue, passing both Patrick Dinkeldein and Stephane Ratel.


On lap six, the safety car was deployed following an incident between Jacob Matthiasen and Dominik Olbert, with the latter stranded on the track. As the race restarted, Laura was up to 13th overall, seventh in class and once the pit sequence was underway, she ran as high as eighth overall, sixth in Pro-Am.


After handing over the car to teammate Trunkenpolz, the technical issue failed to improve which saw him pull into the pits and retire the car. Despite a challenging weekend for the team, Kraihamer was able to return to the Fanatec GT2 European Series and compete at a new circuit.


The character shown by the team to transport a new car to the circuit and ensure it was race ready was rewarded with a strong performance by Laura in race one. Kraihamer’s adaptability was on show at Circuit Paul Ricard and she will be aiming for future races behind the wheel of a KTM as the 2024 season progresses.


Laura Kraihamer, True Racing KTM X Bow GT2, 2024 GT2 European Championship, Le Castellet
Photo credits: SRO/JEP


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