Viszokay/Lengyel/Piana win in Zandvoort
In a dramatic final Viszokay/Lengyel/Piana (BMW M4 GT4) drove to overall victory in the third DMV NES 500 race of the season. Luther/Schmickler/Kortüm (BMW M4 GT4) took the second place in Zandvoort, while Xavier/Dawson/Constantini (VW Golf GTI TCR) saw the black and white checkered flag in third place.
The clock showed only six minutes left when things suddenly got hectic in the pits of the leaders. Gabriele Piana, who was clearly in first place, limped into the pits in the penultimate lap. The left rear wheel had come loose and Piana saved the wounded BMW over the lap with three wheels. Although the trio was more than a minute ahead of second-placed van den Munckhof/Barten the lead quickly melted away. For Mike Barten it seemed only a matter of form to carry the victory over the last lap. Then events unfolded again. When the time was up, Barten was also missing. The M2 ran out of fuel in the last few meters, so Piana was unexpectedly the winner.
In the pits, Adam Lengyel couldn’t believe the success. “I’m speechless. We thought that we would only be second. But it still turned out well. We are all very happy about the unexpected success.” With an impressive performance, Gabriele Piana had a big part to the second win of the season. “I was still thinking, how can you lose a race like that. You drive three seconds faster than the next one and still you don’t win. That would have been terrible. It was perhaps our mistake to choose a set-up that was too aggressive. Otherwise, the race went well and we were always at the front,” Piana said. Despite the unfortunate end, Eric van den Munckhof was confident. “The car can do it. We showed that. In the beginning we had different problems. We have solved that. The car is fast enough now. In Assen we will try to win again.”
Second place for Schmickler Performance for the third time
The race was only one lap old when the ‘FCY signs’ went out for the first time. It would take until the seventh round before the field went off. Starting driver Adam Lengley immediately showed who is the best here and extended the gap to the second place with fast lap times. When Gabriele Piana replaced Arpad Viszokay for the final stint, the lead had increased to one lap. The experienced GT4 driver once again beat his team-mate’s lap times and put Barten/van den Munckhof at a comfortable distance before the fate took its course. While other teams were plagued by problems, Luther/Schmickler/Kortüm unwounded their laps like a clockwork. After the first half hour, the trio was on sixth place overall, behind Xavier/Dawson/Constantini and Hemker/Mühlenz (Audi R8 GT4).
With consistent times, the M4 pilots moved up the field. As the last half hour of the race started, the gap to the TCR Golf of Max Kruse Racing behind was more than 30 seconds. With the end of van den Munckhof/Barten, the BMW team finished second overall for the third time this season. With a fast beginning Xavier/Dawson/Constantini laid the foundation for their later podium placement. The trio secured victory in the NES 8 ahead Redlich/Redlich (Opel Astra TCR) and Hammel/Nehls due to the long stop due to shifting problems for, who had been in second place up to that point.
A look at the classes
Although they had to stop van den Munckhof/Barten succeded to place fourth in the overall classification and fourth place in the full NES 9. Hemker/Mühlenz, who were temporarily in third overall position in the Audi R8 GT4, placed right behind the two Dutchmen. The Porsche trio Reiter/Müller/Böhnisch finished sixth, narrowly beating their brand colleagues Daedelow/Schrey/Tausch (both Porsche Cayman GT4). The East Racing Porsche was used in a short time, as Matthias Schrey explained: “Since it wasn’t clear whether the Scirocco would be ready in time, I was allowed to drive another car. I quickly found two more drivers. And now I’m continuing the Schrey family tradition in a Porsche.”
There were clear winners in the NES 6+7, where Becker/Schmickler in the Porsche 991 finished eighth. Behind the two Porsche drivers, Henssler/Nölken finished second ahead of Engel/Bengel (both BMW M240i RC). As in Zolder Nieman/Knap,won the NES 5 in the Renault Clio 4. At their home race, the Dutch prevailed over Borcheld/Richert (BMW M3 E36) and Brezina/Müller (Opel Astra Cup). Ohlsson/Eis were again unlucky as they had to park their VW Scirocco before the end with a burst silencer. Röpke/Pawlow won the NES 3 after Heidrich/Volmer (BMW 328i ST E36) had to stop with brake problems. Although the Panther Motorsport duo was able to continue, the problem persisted.
„We tried to spare the material, but we also had problems towards the end. It felt like a flat foot. The engine hood was too loose. I also came in again for petrol.” Pawlow reported after the race.
The victory in the NES 1+2 went to Switzerland for the second time this season. Rodella/Dänzer (Suzuki Swift Sport) prevailed against Beckwermert/Micheel/Bedbur and Beckwermert/SUB7BTG/Thiessen (both BMW 318ti Cup).