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Laura Kraihamer secures pair of top-five finishes in GT2 Europe at misano

KTM factory driver Laura Kraihamer and her teammate Hubert Trunkenpolz achieved a pair of top-five finishes in the ProAm class at the Misano round of the GT2 European Championship, bouncing back from a tricky season opener and showcasing significant improvements and strong performances throughout the second weekend.

Laura Kraihamer, True Racing KTM GT2, GT2 European Championship, 2024 Misano
Photo credits: SRO/JEP

KTM factory driver Laura Kraihamer showcased significant improvements in the second GT2 European Championship round of the season, as the Austrian secured a pair of top-five finishes in the ProAm class at Misano World Circuit.

Sharing the #17 KTM X-Bow GT2 with Am racer Hubert Trunkenpolz, Kraihamer battled adversities on her return to the Fanatec GT2 European Championship at the season opener at Circuit Paul Ricard. The duo overcame numerous challenges to score a best result of eighth in class after a testing issue required a new car to be transported to the circuit just before qualifying.

Despite the loss of track time, Kraihamer and Trunkenpolz put up a fight before another technical issue halted their second race prematurely.

Aiming to bounce back from the bad luck of the season opener, the KTM True Racing squad headed to the Italian Riviera circuit with higher ambitions for the second race meeting. They delivered thanks to a smoother weekend that allowed the drivers to focus on building speed over the sessions.

Laura set a 1:37.896 in the first practice, then made significant improvements in the second session, where her best lap of 1:37.432 placed the #17 KTM X-Bow GT2 seventh in class, just a few tenths behind the other ProAm entries.

Hubert Trunkenpolz then got behind the wheel for the Q1 session and had a solid session: his 1:38.240 was enough for sixth in class before he handed over to Kraihamer, who would take on driving duties in Q2.

The Austrian kept the momentum and showed her speed with a new personal best of 1:36.528, ending eighth in ProAm and 12th overall, among the fastest of the KTM cars.

Laura Kraihamer, True Racing KTM GT2, GT2 European Championship, 2024 Misano
Photo credits: SRO/JEP

Trunkenpolz started race 1 for the True Racing #17 machine, lining up 7th in ProAm and 14th overall. The start was hectic, with several cars diving at turn 1, but everyone made it through unscathed.

Trunkenpolz then overtook the #18 Audi of Doppelmayr and picked up another position in ProAm when the #89 JTM of Jan Krabec, victorious at the previous round in Paul Ricard, ground to a halt on the first lap. The safety car was deployed, and Akkodis' Gilles Vannelet led the overall classification, ahead of Philippe Prette and Leonardo Gorini, also leading the ProAm class.

While he didn't quite have the pace to catch the class front-runners, Trunkenpolz enjoyed a very positive stint in fifth place. When the pit window opened, he brought the #17 KTM back to the pit lane, as Laura Kraihamer took over on lap 12 from ninth overall.

Laura immediately clocked a 1:39.118, improving the car's fastest lap and retaining P5 in class. She continued to improve with every lap, consistently lowering the car's benchmark by over a full second.

Badey spun after a tire puncture and limped back to the pits, while the top three pitted anticipating a safety car. Laura made up another position, advancing to fourth.

As the dust settled, Kraihamer was 32 seconds behind Hezemans and had a healthy margin over Pierre Kaffer, who, however, was among the fastest drivers in the race. With 14 minutes left on the clock, Kraihamer would have to hold on.

The gap was getting thinner with every lap, and despite setting a new personal best of 1:37.835, Kaffer was making up ground. He eventually caught the KTM and found a way past with a little over one minute to go.

Carlo Tamburini took victory in the #1 Maserati, ahead of Reinhard Kofler's #812 KTM and Loris Hezemans, rounding out the ProAm podium. With a strong performance, Laura Kraihamer held on to fifth and collected a very positive result - her first top-five of the season and of her GT2 European Championship stint.

Laura Kraihamer, True Racing KTM GT2, GT2 European Championship, 2024 Misano
Photo credits: SRO/JEP

On Sunday morning, it was Laura's turn to take the start, and the #17 True Racing KTM lined up eighth in ProAm, 12th overall for the second contest of the Misano weekend.

A big impact at the first corner took out Ludovic Badey, Philippe Prette, Jorg Viebhan, and Jean-Luc Beaubelique. The Akkodis Mercedes couldn't slow down and plowed into the pack, igniting a multi-car accident.

Laura Kraihamer had a good getaway and found herself right in the middle of the pack as the accident unfolded, but she took superb avoiding action and managed to escape with an unscathed car. The Austrian was up to eighth overall and seventh in ProAm as the safety car was deployed.

The green flag waved again with 42 minutes to go, and Carlo Tamburini (LP Racing Maserati) led the field. Kraihamer picked up another position in class when Erik Janis' car once again came to a halt, and she equaled her best lap from race 1 before setting a 1:36.6, which matched her qualifying pace as she tried to catch the #24 TFT Racing Maserati driven by Alexander Leroy for overall position.

Kraihamer's pace settled on competitive laps, and by lap 12, she was up to sixth overall as the pit window approached. Ahead, Tamburini had to defend from the fast-charging Reinhard Kofler, and this battle allowed Pierre Kaffer and Loris Hezemans to join the leading duo.

Kofler found a way past after a lengthy wheel-to-wheel duel, just before Tamburini pitted. Kraihamer stayed out and extended her stint with strong laps, eventually handing the #17 KTM to Hubert Trunkenpolz on lap 16 from fifth overall.

Down to sixth in class after the pit cycle, Trunkenpolz significantly closed in on Michael Doppelmayr - fifth in ProAm, albeit with three AM entries in between. The True Racing KTM X-Bow was gaining almost 5 seconds per lap on the LP Racing Audi, and by lap 24, Trunkenpolz was all over the back of the Audi R8 LMS GT2 and then completed a pass for fifth place.

In the closing stages, Trunkenpolz drove away and secured a back-to-back fifth place in ProAm for True Racing, with both drivers contributing to the positive outcome courtesy of competitive drives.

Kraihamer laid the foundation for a good result with a great recovery early on, and Trunkenpolz logged consistent laps, made no mistakes, and brought the result home, wrapping up a widely positive weekend for the drivers of the #17 KTM, who will aim to keep momentum as the season progresses.



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