Podium after great recovery performance; second place for Walkenhorst Motorsport at the Kyalami IGTC finale.

Kyalami. Thanks to a great recovery performance, the
Walkenhorst Motorsport team celebrated its first podium finish of
the season at the Intercontinental GT Challenge finale. Having
started the race from 16th position, Mikkel Jensen (DEN), Christian
Krognes (NOR) and Nick Catsburg (NED), in the #34 BMW M6 GT3,
concluded the 9 Hours of Kyalami (RSA) in second place. Martin
Tomczyk (GER), Augusto Farfus (BRA) and Sheldon van der Linde (RSA)
had led the race until just before the finish, crossing the line in
seventh place in the BMW Team Schnitzer #42 BMW M6 GT3. In the
sister Walkenhorst Motorsport car, the #36 BMW M6 GT3, Michael Von
Rooyen, Gennaro Bonafede (both RSA) and team principal Henry
Walkenhorst (GER) secured victory in the AM category.

The #34 squad had just missed out on the pole shootout
the previous day and began the race from 16th place, but starting
driver Jensen and then Catsburg set about a brilliant chase that took
the #34 BMW M6 GT3 to second place before the third driver, Krognes,
moved into the lead at the halfway point of the race. The #42 BMW M6
GT3, in which Tomczyk had started the race from eighth position, was
also displaying some great pace at that point and was in a promising
second place.
The two BMW M6 GT3s were able to maintain
their positions in the leading group. As had been the case on previous
days, heavy rainfall set in two hours before the finish and led to an
extended safety car period which saw Tomczyk take the lead in the #42
BMW M6 GT3 as other cars headed for the pits. Once the race restarted
around 30 minutes from the end, however, the BMW Team Schnitzer car
also had to make a pit stop, consequently falling back to tenth place.
A strong performance in the final phase saw Farfus climb back up to
seventh position. In the #34 BMW M6 GT3, Catsburg completed his final
pit stop during the safety car period and moved up from fifth to
second place during the final laps, allowing him to cross the line and
claim the first podium finish of the season.
There was
also cause to celebrate for the sister Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M6
GT3. Von Rooyen, Bonafede and team principal Walkenhorst claimed
victory in the #36 BMW M6 GT3 in the AM category.
the race itself, BMW brought a piece of motorsport history back to
life on the Kyalami circuit. Van der Linde drove some demonstration
laps at the wheel of the legendary BMW 530 LME, thrilling spectators
all around the circuit. The first race car based on the 5 series BMW
dominated the Modified Production Series in the 1970s, celebrating
three championship titles in a row. The BMW 530 LME was in race action
in South Africa until 1985 and became the most successful racing car
ever developed on the basis of a 5 series BMW. A version of the
legendary homologation car restored by BMW South Africa was on show
for a few demonstration laps at Kyalami. The limited special edition
was produced exclusively at the BMW Plant in Rosslyn in the 1970s.
Reactions to the 9 Hours of Kyalami: 

Rudolf Dittrich (General Manager BMW Motorsport Vehicle Development):

“Throughout the season, we came close to a podium on a regular
basis with the BMW M6 GT3 in the Intercontinental GT Challenge. The
fact that we did it at the season finale at Kyalami makes it all the
more rewarding. Congratulations to Nick Catsburg, Mikkel Jensen,
Christian Krognes and the entire Walkenhorst team on the second place
and the victory in the AM category. The race was a thriller, right to
the very end, and it is great for us to be able to round off our
return to South Africa with a podium finish. Congratulations are also
in order for BMW Team Schnitzer, who put on a very good racing
performance. Unfortunately, the strategy didn’t work out for that car
in the end. Many thanks as well to the numerous BMW fans at the
circuit for their great support. They showed us once again just how
important BMW is here in South Africa. Congratulations to Dennis Olsen
for securing the drivers’ title, and to Porsche for winning the
constructors’ championship.”
Henry Walkenhorst (Walkenhorst Motorsport Team Principal):

“That was a bit tricky. In fact, we had everything you could
wish for. It was relatively warm, then it turned cold, it rained, the
safety car came out. However, we are pleased with it overall. We
didn’t make any mistakes. We could also have competed in the Pro-Am
category with our second BMW M6 GT3 and we would have won that too. We
are very pleased with the result for both cars and with the
performance of the whole team on this race weekend. That was a lovely
way to round off a season that brought us plenty of bad luck.”
Nick Catsburg (#34 BMW M6 GT3, Walkenhorst Motorsport, 2nd place):

“That is pretty unbelievable after the result in qualifying. We
didn’t expect to get second place; it is just superb. Both of my
team-mates did a fantastic job. Our pace was really good and we
managed to drive at the front. That was a totally crazy finish. The
car did really well in the rain and we were able to overtake a few
cars. Second place is superb and I am delighted to have finished the
season like that.”
Mikkel Jensen (#34 BMW M6 GT3, Walkenhorst
Motorsport, 2nd place):

“After 16th place yesterday, there was no way we could have even
dreamed of a result like this. I had a really good first stint and was
able to move up from 16th to seventh place. Then Nicky took over and
made it to second place. We got the strategy spot on and that put us
right in the race. That was two hours before the finish. Then we
managed to stay in front and just had to see it home. We ended up in
second place but we could have finished first or fourth. All in all,
we are very, very happy with this result.”
Christian Krognes (#34 BMW M6 GT3, Walkenhorst Motorsport, 2nd place):

“That was a real rollercoaster ride. One hour before the end of
the race, I thought we’d finish tenth. We finished second thanks to
some special circumstances. Nicky did a fantastic job at the end. We
did not expect to be going so fast in the rain. Second place is just unbelievable.”
Herbert Schnitzer jr. (BMW Team Schnitzer Team Principal):

“Firstly, I would like to congratulate the Walkenhorst
Motorsport team as they did a brilliant job. The whole team, the
drivers, their strategy, how they behaved during the race, they just
got it all perfectly right. It was difficult for us. The opening phase
of the race was not ideal. We lost a few places in battles with other
cars that were behind us. However, we were able to work our way up
again towards the halfway point of the race. The rain really didn’t
help us very much though. Many thanks to the whole team for their
great performance over the whole weekend.”
Sheldon van der Linde (#42 BMW M6 GT3, BMW Team Schnitzer, 7th place):

“There were plenty of ups and downs in changeable conditions. To
be honest, that is not what you normally expect in South Africa. We
had a good start and battled our way up through the field, but our
strategy didn’t quite pay off in the end. I would really like to thank
BMW Team Schnitzer for making my home race so special. I hope to be
back next year, as this was certainly one of my favourite races of the year.”
Augusto Farfus (#42 BMW M6 GT3, BMW Team Schnitzer, 7th place):

“Ultimately, that was a funny old race and it was more of a
lottery. For a while, it looked like we were in with a chance of
winning it. But then I lost some places and had to battle my way back.
Twenty minutes before the finish, we were at the back of the field. I
was able to move up to seventh place but that was the best I could do.
I think that we deserved more but we just couldn’t finish it off. At
least the team’s other car reached the podium. Overall, it’s been a
great season with BMW and I would like to thank every single member of
the team for that. We fought hard for it. Unfortunately, we didn’t
achieve what we were aiming for.”
Martin Tomczyk: (#42 BMW M6 GT3, BMW Team
Schnitzer, 7th place):

“That was a pretty tough weekend. It didn’t start too badly with
the pole shootout, which got us sixth place on the grid. The
challenging weather conditions that we had during the race did not
make it easy at all. Nonetheless, things were going very well for us
for a long time. We were at the front for a long time and we were
challenging for a podium finish. Unfortunately, we didn’t have much
luck with our strategic decision and only managed to cross the line in
seventh place.”