Promising start for the BMW M2 Cup with 5 Ladies on the Grid
The brand-new BMW M2 Cup kicked off its first ever event at Lausitzring with no less than 5 female drivers on the grid: alongside Carrie Schreiner, Jacqueline and Alesia Kreutzpointner, Sophia Menzenbach and Marcelina Czepiel battled out for points in the season opener of a really promising series.
The hype surrounding the brand-new BMW M2 Cup that kicked off its inaugural season at Lausitzring last weekend proved to be completely justified, as the one-make series provided plenty of action, great talking points and a great field of female racers.
With a 12 race calendar over 6 weekends as support series of DTM, the new series is set to provide a platform for junior drivers targeting DTM Trophy and DTM – as the popular German championship enters its new GT3-based era.
The format of the new BMW M2 Cup features a 45-minute free practice session, one 35-minute qualifying session – with the best lap time setting the grid for race 1 and the second fastest lap shaping the grid for race 2. On both Saturday and Sunday, drivers will hit the track for the 30 minute plus 1 lap races.
The Cup is supported by BMW M Motorsport and organized by Project 1 Drivetime. The cornerstone of the project is equality of equipment and setup, which is taken to a new level with cars being randomly drawn by lots before each race weekend – similarly to what W Series did in its inaugural season in 2019. The focus is thus entirely on the drivers' talent.
At the first race weekend at Lausitzring, five female entries were confirmed on the grid: among them, Carrie Schreiner is well known for her ADAC GT Masters and NLS participations: the young German is also combining multiple programs in 2021, including both the sprint and endurance championships in Italian GT.
Twins Jacqueline and Alesia Kreutzpointer previously competed in the 2020 ADAC GT4 championship and moved to RCN this year. For the first time in their careers, they will drive against each other on track rather than sharing a car.
Sophia Menzenbach is expanding her experience and switched from touring cars to the BMW with rear-wheel drive; young Polish racer Marcelina Czepiel brings experience from different series into the BMW M2 Cup and is eager to make progress on the DTM platform as well.
The fastest time in qualifying was set by Tim Heinemann, ahead of Fabian Kreim and Salman Owega. Jacqueline Kreutzpointer qualified in 7th position, followed by Carrie Schreiner in ninth and Alesia Kreutzpointer in 10th place. Mery Czepiel was 14th and Sophia Menzenbach 17th at her first experience in the car.
Heinemann defended his lead at the start, followed by Kreim and Rodrigo Almeida. Further back, it was a very tight field and Menzenbach got spun around but was able to continue the race. Owega – starting from third – lost some positions right at the beginning of the race and dropped back when he was tagged by Almeida and spun.
Marcelina Czepiel had an off-track moment through the gravel but rejoined at the end of the pack. "The first race didn’t go well." – she told us. "After missing my braking, I rejoined the track having cutted a section of the oval, thus I overtook the entire pack and had to give them back their positions."
"However, I did it too late and was punished with a cancelled lap. It wasn't then possible to make up for this", she explained to us after the weekend.
Meanwhile, Carrie Schreiner was on a mission to defend her position against Jacqueline Kreutzpointner – but the latter got past and pulled away. Jacqueline's sister Alesia battled with Michael von Zabiensky for 18th position.
A fight for fifth between Nicolas Hancke and Immanuel Vinke gave Jacqueline the opportunity to catch up with them. Kreutzpointner, though, was being held up and Schreiner once again closed the gap, also bringing Owega with her – who had managed to overtake half the field in a remarkable recovery.
On the last lap, an intense battle between Jacqueline Kreutzpointner and Carrie Schreiner saw the driver of the #8 Schaeffler-liveried BMW getting ahead, while Jacqueline had to deal with Owega. Having initially lost the position, Jacqueline didn't give up and switched back - chasing down Schreiner towards the chequered flag. Ultimately, Schreiner crossed the finish line in seventh place, followed by Jacqueline Kreutzpointner in P8 and Alesia Kreutzpointner in 10th.
After several problems over the course of the race, Sophia Menzenbach finished in 15th position and Czepiel in 17th place.
The first ever winner of the BMW M2 Cup was Tim Heinemann, followed by Fabian Kreim and Louis Henkefend.
The grid for the second race had few changes and again Tim Heinemann lined up on the front row alongside Kreim, with Rodrigo Almeida in third. At the front-end of the grid, there weren't many changes for positions – but the real action was in the tightly fought midfield: Von Zabiensky and Hancke clashed for the same portion of track, collided and collected the following cars of Sebastian Hoebelt and Marcelina Czepiel, who couldn´t avoid the crash. Unfortunately, the race was over for the young Polish driver. Von Zabiensky and Hancke made it back to the pits, and the Safety Car was deployed to recover Czepiel and Hoebelt's cars – both stranded in the gravel. "The second race ended even worse, after five corners." – Marcelina said. "I had a great start, I moved up a lot and I overtook three rivals. Unfortunately, in the battle in front of me, two cars crashed, which involved the competitor next to me, and he hit my car." – she explained. "And so, we all finished our Sunday struggles. Luckily, nothing happened to any of us." "Five cars did not reach the finish line", continued Czepiel. "Most of those who arrived showed signs of a fierce fight." At the restart Heinemann cleared the lead and slotted ahead of Almeida and Owega at first. But drama wasn't over: Carrie Schreiner, 11th at the restart, was forced to retire from the race with a broken suspension. The Safety Car was required again to recover her #8 car, stuck in the gravel. Meanwhile, Alesia Kreutzpointner battled with Max Partl, but wasn't able to get by and her sister Jacqueline closed the gap and caught up with them. Partl pushed Alesia off track and she dropped one place, before Jacqueline could also make a move stick at the banked corner. Partl received a time penalty, which meant that Jacqueline eventually finished in 8th place with Alesia behind her, in P9. "The race weekend was simply fantastic!" – told us Jacqueline Kreutzpointner, who has really shown good speed and promising pace for the remainder of the season. "Project 1, the speed Academy and BMW have created something great", she continued. "The weekend also went very well for me - I am basically satisfied." "My pace and speed were there. I had great, exciting and tough duels, which is definitely what a Cup is all about. There are still a few points I want to work on, but they will become easier with more experience. For me it was a solid debut in the BMW M2 Cup." – Jacqueline concluded. "I am very happy with my performance." – added her sister Alesia. "We know that we still have to work on some points, but over the entire weekend we were able to show that we have good pace." "I am very confident that I will continue to develop enormously as a driver. This is exactly what this platform of the BMW M2 Cup is intended for and I am very proud to be a part of it." Over the course of the weekend, the Kreutzpointner twins showed important steps forward, including in the side-by-side battles, compared to their rookie season in ADAC GT4. Sophia Menzenbach took the chequered flag in a solid 12th place, as she describes her debut as a "very mixed weekend". "Luck wasn't entirely on my side this time", she said. "This is also part of that. What do you learn from it? Put it away, stay calm and find yourself again. Still, I'm really happy that I got the chance. I took a lot with me this weekend. Tick off the weekend, prepare everything and full throttle for the next race." Despite being understandably disappointed by ending her race prematurely and by not having had the chance to show her pace in either races, Czepiel was also equally happy about her first racing weekend in the series, and looks forward to proving her improvements. "It was a dream come true" – she said. "The BMW M2 Cup is a great cup, well organized, it gives you a chance to participate in a competition at the world's highest level - the DTM, teams and fans additionally build a great atmosphere." "The car is great, modern, beautiful and fast. My rivals are drivers who, like me, dream of a great career in motorsport, and I am sure that each one of us is on the way to achieve it. Some of the drivers racing in the BMW M2 Cup also compete in DTM Trophy, ERC, TCR, and GT4 classes among the others. Despite the result - which was not what I was dreaming of - I feel very happy." – concluded a very wise Marcelina Czepiel. The first ever BMW M2 Cup race meeting saw a lot of good, close racing and also quite several battered cars after the event. This will certainly be a touring car series to keep an eye on in the future. The next race will take place at Zolder from 6th to 8th August.