Niklas Krütten enjoyed a successful end to the season in the European Le Mans Series (ELMS). The young man from Trier ended the final race at the 4.653-kilometre circuit in Portimão, Portugal, on the podium.
Together with team-mates Nicolas Lapierre (FRA) and Yifei Ye (CHN), the 19-year-old battled his way to third place in the LMP2 class after four hours and 586.01 kilometres of racing. After six races, the former ADAC Stiftung Sport driver finished fifth in the Drivers’ Championship. His team Cool Racing was fourth in the team competition.
In unsettled weather conditions, Krütten started the four-hour race in Portimão from eleventh place on the grid. The team opted for slicks and initially lost a lot of places in one wet section of the track, falling right back to 39th place. However, over the course of his 43 laps, the young German fought his way back to seventh place with some thrilling battles and clever moves. In doing so, he pulled off the more overtaking manoeuvres than anyone else in the field. Krütten handed the #37 Oreca 07 Gibson LMP2 car over to COOL Racing team owner Lapierre, who successfully passed a further three cars by the end of his stint on lap 91. Ye replaced him at the wheel for the final stint of the race, continuing the successful fightback and eventually crossing the finish line in third place.
Niklas Krütten: “The race was an emotional rollercoaster. On slicks, I lost positions in a wet section. After that, it was all-out attack. I got everything possible out of the car and managed to fight my way back to seventh place. Nico and Yifei then continued where I left off. At first it did not look as though we would be on the podium. However, we refused to give up and the car was perfect. We would obviously have liked to have won the last race, but it feels great to end the season with a third place. We claimed three podiums, five top-ten finishes and one pole position in 2022. I would like to thank the whole team and my two fellow drivers for the great season.”
This weekend holds another finale in store for Krütten. From 21st to 23rd October, the Hockenheimring hosts the final round of this season’s ADAC GT Masters. Krütten lines up there in a BMW M4 GT3 for the Schubert Motorsport team.