NES – Round 3 – Nightrider

Manuel Allgemein, iRacing, Neo Endurance Series

[Motegi, Japan] – With the beginning of the new year the NEO Endurance Series is entering its second half of the season this weekend. After a grounding start into the most competitive series Rennsport Online has competed in so far, we slowly improved from race to race with P8 in round 2 and P6 after six hours of close racing in Motegi a few weeks ago. Unquestionable our young squad is very optimistic for nothing less than our home race on the Nürburgring Grand Prix course this Sunday.

Nightriding through the dark: Motegi was a double challenge

The road course of the well known Twin Ring Motegi is a 4,8-Kilometres long and conservative racetrack with a very smooth elevation profile. Honda built this track in the late 90’s to lure the American Indy Car Series to Japan. Technically Motegi offers nothing special like the Eau Rouge or Becketts but still is a challenging track where drivers are very dependent on finding a rythm and ideal racing line to be fast. This was even more difficult as the six hours of racing took place in the middle of the night. Anyway our team managed to improve the handling of our #97 Mercedes AMG GT3 compared to the first half of the season. During the practice sessions Team RSO could be found in the Top 5 of the GTS-class. However Tobi couldn’t put a perfect lap together during Saturdays qualifying session but still secured our best starting position in the NES so far with P6.

Row three: Securing P6 during Qualifying, Tobi was in charge for a top spot from the start!

Nightrider: The #97-Benz was able to follow the frontrunners and impressively confirmed the improvement of pace.

More mentionable is the small margin of only 367 Thousands to Polesetter Atomic Motorsport. Starting from the third row Tobi managed to stay in contact with the frontrunners during the first part of the race. It was obvious that he felt very comfortable in our Benz and was pleased with its handling and performance. Gaining more and more confidence he started to get more and more feisty, too, to climb up some spots. Unluckily he overdid only very slightly but hit the Radicals car and following this, turned their car arround. Of course race control couldn’t react any different than punishing the #97 with a 15 Seconds stop-n-hold. Therefore this incident cost our squad more than 30 seconds and dropped us back to 13th position. From then on Elmar, Alex and Tobi gave their best to fight their way back to the front. Running consistent and fast lap times and also saving fuel and tyres, the trio managed improve to 11th position with one hour to go and in reach of P9.

But they wanted more and decided to not change their tyres during the final pitservice which put them up to sixth place just behind the MSP-Drivers-Home-#83; also a Mercedes AMG. While Tobi, who steered the car for the last stint, jumped Gathering of Tweakers, CoRe, Team DFTBA, TeamGT und Radicals via this strategic call, he now was not able to follow the #83-Benz which was pulling away with fresh rubber. In the end P6 was still a very satisfying result even if more was possible without the penalty before.

Glowing hot: After their penalty, Tobi, Elmar and Alex fought their way back to the front through consistantly fast laptimes.

 Entering pits for their final bet: To not change their tyres payed off and our #97 jumped from P11 to P6 again during the last pitstops.

Home Match: Where our biggest achievement of team history took place

The Nürburgring: If someone would ask for our favourite track, this would be the answer. Well…at least if we can head left after the NGK-chicane. Unfortunately the fourth round of the NEO Endurance Series will not enter the legendary Nordschleife as the six hours of multiclass racing will happen on the Grand Prix course of the Nürburgring. Anyway the aura of the Nürburg castle will definitely give our motivation an extra push. After positions 15, 8 and 6 in the first three races of the season, we are very curious if our positive trend continues. So hopefully Tobi and Stephan behind the wheel and Manuel in the command post will put our hopes together on this Sunday at 3 p.m. Tune in for round 4 and cross your fingers  for another great endurance race of our #97.