SENSATIONAL SUCCESS AT THE 24-HOUR NORDSCHLEIFE RACE

24h Nordschleife 2018
24h Nordschleife 2018
KTM X-BOW CUSTOMER TEAMS ON PLACES 26 and 39!
 
- ISERT-Motorsport finishes the KTM X-BOW GT4 # 202 in 26th place overall
- Max Friedhoff, Johannes Stuck, Ferdinand Stuck and Volker Strycek put on top performance
- The A.T.U KTM X-BOW GT4 Girls team finishes the race against the clock in overall 39th place
- Rahel Frey, Laura Kraihamer, Naomi Schiff and Lena Strycek thrill the fans
- The third KTM X-bow GT4 stuns with their catch up after an unlucky start.
 
The "Battle of the Sexes" at the legendary 24-hour race of Nürburgring Nordschleife has been decided(for this year): The men's team, consisting of Max Friedhoff, Johannes Stuck, Ferdinand Stuck and Volker Strycek took the victory in this one and
scored a sensational 26th overall. However,the women's team with Rahel Frey, Laura Kraihamer, Naomi Schiff and Lena Strycek fought incredibly hard and showed an honourable performance by not only finishing the most difficult circuit race in the world but also by finishing an impressive 39th place overall!
This year's 24H edition yet again proved why the Nürburgring Nordschleife is also known as "the green hell": weather rollercoasters, of radiant sunshine and summer temperatures all the way down to fog, pouring rain and under ten degrees.
The task for the almost 150 starters was tough enough without the turbulant weather conditions. The 25.378-kilometer lap distance which includes all of the GP circuit excluding the Mercedes Benz-Arena as well as the complete Nordschleife demands
every available effort from both drivers as well as material over the total time/distance of 24 hours.
 
In the free practice sessions as well as the qualifying sessions on Thursday evening and Friday afternoon, the teams of ISERT Motorsport and Aimpoint-Racing concentrated on running in their newly revised vehicles and allowing drivers such as Rahel Frey and Lena Strycek who were
less familiar with the spectacular mid-engine Austrian KTM X-BOW GT4, familiarize themselves. In the combined result from Q1 and Q2, the fastest KTM X-BOW GT4 was then on position 39, the customer car of ISERT Motorsport with Arne Hoffmeister, Nils Jung, Robert
Schröder and Florian Wolf was the "men's car" in 43rd place at a little more than 2 seconds distance. The ladies who were unlucky due to code 60 sections in their fast laps were not able to place better than 66th position, which after all at a 24H race was no tragedy.
 
The race started on Saturday afternoon in bright sunshine. The mood in and around the grid or during the warm-up lap on the Nürburgring Nordschleife was once again unique. In the starting phase - around 150 cars - made up of three starting groups - neatly survived the start,
but no later than a few laps into the race carnage broke out critical situations as well as accidents started to unfold & unfortunately the fastest X-BOW on track with Arne Hoffmeister at the wheel became a victim of the carnage after driving over a piece of debris.
The damage: oil pan torn open, gearbox oil line torn off, engine mounts destroyed. The team hastily worked to repair the car, but lost 16 laps and was thrown back to 141st place. Almost falling victim to the chaos was the women's team supported by A.T.U  who would have had a similar fate as those already fallen in a hair raising overtaking manoeuvre made by a GT3 car who hit the rear of the KTM X-bow GT4, luckily Naomi Schiff who was at the wheel of the X-bow at the time managed to keep the car on track and avoid any further damage. The cosmetic injury was then repaired with some famous “race-tape” at the next Pitstop. However, apart from those two incidents the three KTM X-BOW GT4’s in the "CUP X" class ran perfectly smoothly, which the team bosses Uwe Isert (ISERT Motorsport) and Axel Friedhoff (Aimpoint Racing) with great satisfaction agreed in unison: "The whole race we had nothing to do
other than changing tires and downloading data" says Uwe Isert. Axel Friedhoff agreed: "We refilled a quarter of a litre of oil in the car, but that was it. If we had not had the contact to Naomi's car, it would almost have been boring... "
 
However, right until the celebration which occurred at the finish on Sunday afternoon, the drivers had countless moments of terror and challenges to survive. Specifically the thunderstorm after midnight brought conditions that made even the most experienced of pilots despair. Johannes Stuck, who took over the #202 KTM X-BOW GT4 from his brother Ferdinand in the early hours of the morning, mentioned that those were among the worst conditions that he had so far experienced in his career: "It was insane. I have no idea how Ferdi was able to drive fast in those conditions. I saw absolutely nothing; it was a completely blind fight. Often I wondered whilst turning in if if was still on the track.”

Even “ring legend” Volker Strycek had a hard time in these conditions: "The view was really, really bad, there was constantly aquaplaning. The conditions were extreme. "
In the women's team, it was Rahel Frey and Laura Kraihamer who split the night stints. "I thought that it was by far the craziest thing I've ever done" Kraihamer said after her first ever 24-hour race. Rahel Frey agreed:
"It was in partially borderline, zero visibility & torrential rain. KTM definitely chose the toughest conditions for their premiere race at the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring!” The tension reached its peak when late Sunday morning wafts of fog covered the Grand Prix circuit  during what was already heavy rain conditions taking the challenge to the next intensity level. The race direction was forced to take matters into their own hands and did so by interrupting the race by means of a red flag....
 
After a nerve-racking one and a half hours of waiting, it was time for the re-start. Converting what was a remaining 3hours into a sprint for the finish - while still pourring with rain. The two final drivers, Johannes Stuck in the "men's car" and Rahel Frey in the "lady's car", did not let the others get by and brought the cars, the sensational overall positions 26 and 39, to the finish! As expected, in the boxes limitless celebrations broke out. Noteworthy was also the 72nd overall rank of the KTM X-BOW GT4 with the starting number 203, the team who suffered an early setback and long repair
sensationally caught up 69 positions.
 
Hans Reiter, significantly involved in the development of the KTM X-BOW GT4, was on site and the one of the first well-wishers to the successful customer teams: "That is a great success! We were able to place a car in the top 30 in a field where over 40 purebred GT3, SPX and other special vehicles that are vastly superior to our car were present and finished!  We have not needed more than seven sets of tires over the 24 hours despite the weather conditions. Our stints have been up to ten laps long & no vehicle needed brake discs or pads to be changed. A clear demonstration of the advantages of the KTM X-BOW GT4! I congratulate the teams and of course to the drivers with all my heart, a great day for KTM! "
KTM board member Hubert Trunkenpolz watched the live stream lap by lap and was extremely enthusiastic about the performance "Thank you very much to everyone involved in making this  great debut at the 24-hour race of Nürburgring possible. The real heroes are the teams and especially the Pilots who have managed to pilot their cars without any errors through these torturous conditions. This is undoubtedly a big day for KTM and the X-BOW! "

Further comments on the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring:
 
Rahel Frey: "My fourth participation in the 24-hour race was also the toughest. Not so much because I almost did not sleep, but because the weather conditions were so bad. Anyone who flawlessly came through this rainy and foggy race is a hero. I'm really proud of the girls and the whole team, thanks for the great job. Although we lost the duel against the boys, we still lost in style and completed the challenge successfully. I'm looking forward to 2019, and then hopefully there will be revenge! "

Lena Strycek: "That was an amazing experience. Thanks to KTM, A.T.U and the team who made this possoble. It was an honor to be there and I have had so much fun!  The girls have proven that they are a force to reckon with, but of course, congratulations to the guys, great work! "

Laura Kraihamer: "A unique, incredible experience. I'm so happy for our entire team. What we did that was an enormous achievement with all who were involved, the drivers,  A.T.U,  KTM and Aimpoint Racing.I have learned a lot and have developed a lot in these 24 hours as a driver. "

Naomi Schiff: "There is no race like it in the world, it was unbelievable and I am very grateful that I was a part of it. Unfortunately, its Adios to the Nordschleife for now but i hope that we will reunite again soon!”

Volker Strycek: "That was an incredibly well-prepared, one-of-a-kind race car that was enormously fun. 26th place over the finish line exceeded all my expectations. Thanks to everyone involved, it was an honor to be there! "
 
Max Friedhoff: "It was a weekend that will be remembered for a long time. I am extremely proud of our team performance and more than happy with the fantastic 26th place overall. Thanks to everyone who made this possible - and hopefully a again in 2019! "
 
Ferdinand Stuck: "We and the cars were perfectly prepared, so we really could bring faultless performance. We have to say that we took the class win and 26th overall, that's just sensational! "
 
Johannes Stuck: "There is not a tougher race in GT sports, but it was already clear to me after my first laps in September 2016 that such a result was achievable with the KTM X-BOW. The fact that we took home the first place in class and an amazing overall placement we have to thank KTM, Reiter Engineering,
ISERT Motorsport and many other participants for their continuous hard work!"

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