Dakar Surprise: Walkenhorst Motorsport’s Shock Win at the Spa 24 Hours

    In a remarkable turn of events, the Walkenhorst Motorsport team and driver Christian Krognes pulled off a stunning victory at the prestigious 2018 Spa 24 Hours endurance race. This triumph, achieved in the BMW M6 GT3, caught the entire motorsport community by surprise and showcased the team’s unparalleled skill and determination.

    Krognes, a regular contributor to Dakar Rally news, recounts the team’s journey leading up to this historic win. Paired with co-drivers Philipp Eng and Tom Blomqvist, Krognes explains how the trio navigated the challenging Ardennes circuit to secure the most coveted title in GT3 racing for the BMW customer team.

    “As soon as I heard that my teammates would be Philipp Eng and Tom Blomqvist, I was pretty damn excited,” Krognes recalls. “They could easily be capable winners of the 24 Hours of Spa by their own, and they are both well acquainted with the Pirelli tires and Blancpain GT Series environment.”

    The Walkenhorst team’s success was the culmination of years of experience in the demanding VLN championship at the Nürburgring, which Krognes says provided a solid foundation for the transition to the Blancpain GT Series. However, the team’s performance during the Spa 24 Hours test session and free practice sessions indicated they were ready to challenge for the top positions.

    “Immediately, Philipp, Tom and I felt comfortable in the M6, consistently posting top 10 times in free practice and pre-qualifying,” Krognes explains. “It was all going smoothly before the afternoon sessions in general.”

    The team’s strong performance continued in qualifying, where they secured a provisional pole position, and they remained confident heading into the race despite challenging weather conditions on Friday.

    “Being a very strong car on the aero-side, the cooler and dense air provides quite some extra grip – and also the turbo engine naturally gets a higher output with cool air,” Krognes says. “Philipp was our guy in the car for the Super Pole, and although conditions were not ideal for the M6, he put in a stunning lap a little over three tenths behind the pole time.”

    As the race unfolded, the Walkenhorst team experienced its share of ups and downs, including Krognes’ initial stint of lost grip due to older tires. However, the team’s perseverance and the drivers’ exceptional skill allowed them to fight back and take the lead in the late morning hours.

    “With the short period of sleep overnight, for the first time ever in my career I consciously felt a bit tired in the car and the stint was an outright challenge from the beginning to the end,” Krognes admits. “But Tom and Philipp kept their cool, and Philipp’s monstrous two and a half hours straight in the car towards the end sealed the victory.”

    At the checkered flag, the Walkenhorst Motorsport team and its young, inexperienced crew had achieved the unthinkable, defeating the factory-backed teams to claim the prestigious Spa 24 Hours title. This triumph not only showcased the team’s capabilities but also their unwavering determination and strategic approach, making it a truly remarkable achievement in the world of Dakar Rally and endurance racing.

    🔗 Source