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NES – Round 6 – Grand Finale

[Le Mans, France] - For the grand finale the teams of the NEO Endurance Series met at the legendary Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans, France. The 13.5 Kilometres long track hosted the sixth and final round of the NES, searching its champions in all three classes in an 24 hours race. For Rennsport Online it should be kind of a recap of their first season in this challanging endurance championship.

Fantastic race start: Team RSO could show its true potential

After a strong qualifying lap our #97 Mercedes AMG GT3 secured its best Quali-result so far this season: Starting from P4 in the second row we could find ourselves in a train of six cars pulling away from the rest of the field after the first hour. Even through traffic the six kept together and showed some great racing: Several times the lead changed and a thrilling battle on strategies started beside the racing action. After some intense training sessions before the race, Rennsport Online decided to race one set of tires for three stints. With now three hours into the race we found out that most of our competitors decided to do different from that and only doublestinted their tires. With slightly slower laptimes but a 27 second advantage in pitlane we climbed up the order and found ourselves in the lead of the race after four hours.

Starting Grid: A full field of true Racing Cars is set for the Grand Finale

Green Flag: Starting from P4, our light blue #97 Mercedes AMG GT3 could defend his position in the first couple of laps

For two more hours Team RSO's #97 lead the race and impressively showed their progress over the season: After some poor race results during the first NES races the team continuously improved their setup and racing skills and could now challenge the best of the best for victory - WOW! At the coming of night, RSO then decided to decrease risk and stay below the limit of their car. At the same time their contenders started to put the hammer down and ran several fast laps. Our #97 dropped back into P2 with Team DFTBA closing in more and more. During halftime a very nice battle for P2 had developed showing Rennsport Online on triplestints and DFTBA doublestinting.

 Great start into the race: Showing a great pace, our #97 could fight against the best of the world

In the lead: after perfectly executing its strategy call, Team RSO lead the race for more than two hours

Strategic battle: DFTBA and Rennsport Online fought for P2

The game was set for an intense finish between the two best Mercedes while PRT was gone for 40 seconds and into the lead. While Rennsport Online calmly continued their program, DFTBA put in fast lap after fast lap, increasing their pressure. With five hours to go the drama started: Just after a routine pitstopp, Team RSO lost its #97 under braking into Indianapolis. After a naugthy crash into the barrier they then had to repair the damage of the car during a three minutes pitstopp, dropping them back to fifth. Despite the repairs, the Mercedes now run almost two seconds a lap slower due to some remaining damage. Nevertheless, the squad of Stephan, Tobi, Phil and Manuel managed to secure P5 in the end!

 P5 in the end: After recovering from a heavy crash in the morning hours, Rennsport Online managed to come home in fifth after 24 hours of impressive racing

Great season comes to an end: After some impressive races, Rennsport Online finished its first ever NES-season in sixth overall and hence automatically qualified for next season

Great Memories: Our first NES-Season was a great experience

Despite missing out our goal for the season - P5 - we are very pleased how everything went during our first season. Definitely our car choice was a hughe disadvantage during the first three races as we found out. First we had absolutely no experience with that Mercedes, which is why we needed some hard work to learn everything about setupping the car. And second the Audi just is the best alrounder with its mid-engine-balanced car. Anyways we really enjoyed our first year in NES: From the organization to competition on track, we cannot think of any better series. Niel and Egil set up the perfect professional framwork for some of the best racers and teams in simracing to fight out victories during these 54 hours of thrilling hours of racing.

We are very thankful for all those great moments of SimRacing we experienced and can't wait for season four to kick off.

#goRSO

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