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Nürburgring Endurance

Manthey Holds Off Land to Win NLS Season-Opener

Frederic Makowieceki resists Jusuf Owega’s challenge to win four-hour NLS round…

Photo: Laurens Vanthoor Twitter

Manthey Racing’s No. 911 Porsche 911 GT3 R won the opening round of the NLS season after beating the Land Motorsport Audi squad in an entertaining final-stint duel.

Frederic Makowiecki soaked up the pressure from Jusuf Owega in the No. 29 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II to win Saturday’s four-hour race alongside Michael Christensen and Laurens Vanthoor.

Manthey took the lead at the final round of stops after Vanthoor came in immediately behind Christopher Mies, the pair pitting from a brilliant battle around the Nürburgring.

A three-second difference in the driver changes saw the ‘grello’ liveried Porsche emerge ahead of the Audi.

Makowiecki initially drew six seconds clear on the out lap but Owega brought the margin back down and even dived underneath the Porsche factory driver at Turn 1, but was unable to make the move stick.

Makowiecki did well to keep a charging Owega behind him despite a couple of hairy moments in traffic, the Frenchman ultimately taking victory by 1.2 seconds.

KCMG’s No. 18 Porsche finished third in the hands of Dennis Olsen and Josh Burdon, following an overtake from Olsen on Scherer Sport Team Phoenix Audi driver Ricardo Feller during the final stint.

The Norwegian established a 4.4-second buffer over Feller but crossed the line 35 seconds behind the top two cars which broke away from the SP9 field.

Feller, Kim Luis Schramm and Jakub Giermaziak initially took fourth but their Audi was hit with a 35-second post-race time penalty for overtaking in a Code 60 slow zone.

That promoted the HRT-run Mercedes-AMG Team Bilstein crew of Raffaele Marciello, Luca Stolz and Manuel Metzger to fourth.

Falken Motorsports led the opening stages courtesy of a strong start from Patrick Pilet, who overcome pole-sitter Axcil Jefferies on the brakes into the third corner.

However, the No. 3 Falken Porsche did not feature in the battle for the race win after developing a problem during the first half. 

Manthey started down in 15th but strong stints from Makowieceki and Christensen helped bring the defending Nürburgring 24 winner to the sharp end by the midway point.

Vanthoor slipstreamed past Schubert Motorsport BMW driver Niklas Kruetten for the lead shortly after halfway, while Mies also surged through in the No. 29 Audi and managed to round the Porsche with two wheels on the grass, kick-starting the duel for the win.

The two factory drivers traded positions a couple of times, providing some vintage Nürburgring GT3 action in clear conditions.

Manthey also won last year’s NLS opener courtesy of Christensen, Lars Kern and Kevin Estre, while Christensen and Estre took a second victory later in the season.

Schubert Motorsport had the highest-finishing BMW M4 GT3 in fifth courtesy of Kruetten, Alexander Sims and Jesse Krohn.

RESULTS: ADAC Westfalenfahrt

This story was updated to reflect a post-race time penalty for the No. 16 Audi

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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