Jakub Giermaziak and Jesse Krohn continued BMW’s early-season form at the Nürburgring by winning Saturday’s four-hour NLS race for Walkenhorst Motorsport.
After ROWE Racing took victory in last month’s season-opener, Walkenhorst claimed its first NLS win since 2021 in a race that started in damp conditions after a wet morning qualifying session before drying out.
Krohn brought the Yokohama-supplied No. 34 BMW M4 GT3 to the checkered flag 21.7 seconds clear of Matteo Cairoli, who shared the No. 21 Rutronik Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R with Julien Andlauer.
The BMW Junior Team trio of Neil Verhagen, Dan Harper and Max Hesse completed the podium.
Walkenhorst started from fourth on the 30-car SP9 grid, but Giermaziak quickly elevated the German team to the lead within two laps.
Philipp Eng got the best start in the No. 99 ROWE Racing BMW as he overtook pole-sitter Cairoli around the outside at Turn 2, however the Austrian spun out only a few turns later at Flugplatz.
After getting past Cairoli, Giermaziak battled with Mercedes-AMG Team GetSpeed driver Maximilian Goetz at the end of the first lap and moved into the lead with a braking move at the end of the Grand Prix circuit.
Giermaziak led for the rest of the hour before pitting after seven laps, although his Walkenhorst BMW dropped to second behind the Manthey EMA Porsche of Kevin Estre.
This was because Manthey EMA went for a five-lap opening stint, giving it a shorter initial pit stop than the No. 34 BMW. Estre emerged around 15 seconds ahead of Giermaziak, who then reduced the gap by around 10 seconds before pitting just before halfway.
The gap went back out after the second stops occurred, but Krohn picked up the chase on Estre’s co-driver Thomas Preining and found a way past at Klostertal with an hour to go.
Preining also dropped behind Junior Team BMW driver Harper, who had also battled past the Rutronik and Falken Motorsports Porsches of Cairoli and Klaus Bachler.
Harper latched onto the tail of Krohn, but pitted before mounting a challenge on the Walkenhorst BMW. Preining came in at the same time as Harper with around 50 minutes to go, giving them final pit stops that lasted just under 2 minutes and 20 seconds.
Due to shorter stints earlier in the race from both Manthey EMA and the BMW Junior Team, Krohn crucially had two more laps to complete before he made his car’s final stop, which gave him a half-minute time-saving in the pits.
That swung Walkenhorst back to the head of the field, along with the Rutronik and Falken Porsches which were following the same stint length strategy. Harper’s co-driver Hesse and Preining duly slotted into fourth and fifth for the run to the flag.
Falken leapfrogged Rutronik in the pits, however the former team incurred a drive-through penalty that cost its No. 3 Porsche a podium and handed second to Cairoli.
Hesse assumed third place due to Falken’s penalty, given for contact with another car in the opening stages, and finished 7.5 seconds behind Cairoli as Preining took fifth for Manthey EMA.
ROWE Racing’s No. 98 BMW took sixth after its sister car crashed out from the lead early on, with Sheldon van der Linde ending up just 1.5 seconds off the back of Preining.
The two Audi Sport Team entries from Phoenix Racing and Land-Motorsport came through in seventh and eighth. Saturday’s contest broke a string of seven consecutive NLS podium finishes for Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo IIs run by the Phoenix team.
The highest-placed Mercedes-AMG was the No. 12 GetSpeed car that completed the top ten. GetSpeed’s No. 9 Mercedes-AMG offered itself as a podium contender in the early stages but retired after an incident for Jules Gounon at Pflanzgarten in hour two.
RESULTS: DMV 4 Hours