The DTM Trophy round at Lausitzring showed good progress for Laura Kraihamer, Stéphane Kox and Sophie Hofmann – at the end of two fought races, the Dutch driver collected her first championship points.
At the second race weekend of the GT4-based DTM Trophy – finally with spectators allowed back on the stands for the first time this season on German soil – Laura Kraihamer, Stéphane Kox and Sophie Hofmann were back for a flat-out weekend around the newly-homologated layout of the Eurospeedway.
And the first qualifying was promising: the fast Austrian star Laura Kraihamer qualified her KTM X-Bow GT4 run by True Racing by Reiter Engineering on 9th place. Kraihamer, a factory driver with several victories under her belt, was looking for redemption at Lausitzring, after a series of really unfortunate events this year.
Dutchwoman Stéphane Kox (Ring Racing) followed in 12th position, while Sophie Hofmann (Heide-Motorsport) set the 20th fastest time. The pole for race 1 was scored by William Tregurtha (CV Performance), ahead of the second KTM of Florian Jantis (True Racing by Reiter Engineering) and Nico Verdonck (Ring Racing).
It was Verdonck who nailed the start and got from third into the lead, as Tregurtha dropped down to third and Jantis held his position in second at the start, but was soon passed by Tregurtha again.
Further down, there was drama when several cars missed their braking point at turn 2, collided and forced Laura Kraihamer to retire as she was squeezed between two other competitors and damaged her KTM. She tried to continue, but ultimately had to stop in the pits, bitterly disappointed.
In front, Verdonck and Tregurtha pulled away from the field and remained separated by only three tenths of a second, while in third place, Janits came closed the gap to the duo in front.
But a Safety Car phase on lap 7 neutralized the gaps when Chandler Hull (Walkenhorst Motorsport) collided on main straight with the spinning Audi of Lucas Mauron and both cars were forced to retire.
After the restart, Verdonck defended his lead until the chequered flag and won ahead of Ben Green (FK Performance Motorsport) and Tregurtha.
Stéphane Kox just missed out on a point-scoring finish by one position and finished the race in a nevertheless strong 11th place and Sophie Hofmann came home in P14.
The second qualifying session saw Tim Heinemann (ProSport Racing) in front, ahead of the KTM of Jantis and Michael Schrey (Hofor Racing by Bonk Motorsport) in third. Laura Kraihamer again qualified in 9th place for the second race of the weekend, while Kox was 13th fastest and Hofmann lined up on 20th place.
Heinemann defended his lead while Green managed to pass Janits and then Heinemann – but the latter was eventually able to counter-attack and was back in the lead. On lap four, Janits tried to pass Green, but as Green blocked the attack with more than one line change, Janits was caught off guard, lost control of his KTM after he had missed his breaking point and collided with the leading Aston Martin of Heinemann. Both cars were out of the race and both drivers were unharmed.
The Safety Car was deployed and Green held the lead ahead of Tregurtha and Schrey.
But soon Green was under pressure from Tregurtha, who had closed in and battled Green for the lead with a great wheel-to-wheel action. Tregurtha moved into the lead and defended from the intensifying attacks of Green to score the win for Sunday's race at Lausitzring, ahead of Green and Schrey.
After Stéphane Kox had marginally missed out on points on Saturday, she scored her first points with an eighth place for Ring Racing: "Ended the weekend in a positive way on P8 in race 2! Happy with these first points!" – said the Dutch racer.
"All the credits to Ring Racing for a good and reliable car this weekend and to TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Europe for their help and support! On to the next one" – she added.
Laura Kraihamer was on a good point scoring position for the entire race, until her bad luck striked again. Kraihamer drove her heart out and battled in the midfield, until a spin dropped her back to 15th place and finished the race outside the points.
"Gutted. We had it all in our pockets, ready to score a strong result." – she explained. "Some bad luck and some mistakes that I‘ve brought upon myself."
"Proud of the work & progress we made as a team - thanks to True Racing by Reiter Engineering for the great work! So much more to come.", concluded the Austrian.
Sophie Hofmann struggled a bit more with pace this weekend after her good and encouraging perfomance at Monza last race weekend.
"Lausitzring taught us a couple of important things again", she summed up. "Even though it was tough again we made memories and had the great opportunity to drive a steep turn."
The three women of DTM Trophy will be back for the next racing weekend at Zolder from 6th to 8th August.