With their podium at the eighth VLN race, the two Land Motorsport drivers entered new territory. At his first GT3 race at the Nürburgring Nordschleife and with the support of the experienced Markus Winkelhock, Dries Vanthoor celebrated his first victory. The only nineteen years old Belgian race driver is thus the youngest VLN winner ever. And even though Winkelhock has already been successful all over the world, he had never before taken a VLN win. The driver duo in the Audi R8 LMS dominated Hubert Haupt, Abdulaziz Al Faisal and Yelmer Buurman in the Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Black Falcon With an advance of 1:02.313 minutes. Georg Weiss, Oliver Kainz and Jochen Krumbach with the Ferrari 488 GT3 of the Wochenspiegel Team Monschau were very happy with their third overall position.
In addition to the fight for the day victory, the championship decision was also in the focus at this penultimate championship round. With his sixth successive victory in the BMW M235i Racing Cup class, Michael Schrey postponed the decision to the season final. The trio of Adrenalin Team Pixum Motorsport, Norbert Fischer, Christian Konnerth and Daniel Zils, had achieved the maximum with their win in class V5. After consideration of the eligible results for the final score, they are now 0.11 points ahead of Schrey. The current situation before the final: If Schrey manages to get one more top result, he will defend the title. If he fails, Fischer / Konnerth / Zils will crown their season with success.
With a lap time of 8:00,903 minutes, the Wochenspiegel Team Monschau secured pole position in the qualifying. In the first part of the race, Krumbach successfully avoided to be involved in any wheel-to-wheel battles. "We just kept on doing our own race", he said. At the end of the first lap already, Winkelhock crossed the Line as race leader with an advance of almost 4 seconds. An exciting duel about the following positions was going on between Manthey Racing and Phoenix Racing. For several laps, Frank Stippler in the Audi R8 LMS and Kévin Estre in the Porsche 911 GT3 R chased through the "Green Hell" at a distance of only a few centimetres. After the drivers' change to Matteo Carroll, the race was over for the Matthey Porsche in lap eight due to an accident which happened when he lapped a slower car. The Phoenix-Audi took the chequered flag in eighth position, behind the BMW M6 GT3 of Walkenhorst Motorsport.
"I had previously simply been unlucky in the VLN", said Winkelhock who was really delighted. " So it is absolutely great to have finished this series now. What was amongst others decisive for our success was that I was able to pull off a little in the first laps. Thereafter, Dries had a lot more action." The most difficult task for the winning duo at the 49th ADAC Barbsrossapreis had to be mastered by newcomer Vanthoor. The 19 years old race driver was behind the steering wheel when it started to rain which made the race much more difficult. "To be out at the Nordschleife in the GT3 in the rain was not at all easy for me", he said. "It is therefore all the more exciting to be on top of the podium."
The Black Falcon team which finished in second place had taken the start from tenth grid position and additionally lost time in the first part of the race when they came into traffic. Haupt then started to catch up in a brilliant way. "I was able to make up ground slowly but continuously", he said. "I was driving the car when the weather changed and then completed a double stint as I was already familiar with the conditions out on the track. It was particularly in my second turn when I gained a lot of positions. Second place is superb."
The WTM drivers, too, were happy. "Great to have achieved a position on the podium", said Weiss. "The conditions were not easy for us today as we had some problems to get our front tyres on temperature at the low temperatures prevailing here. We could have scored an even better result but Oliver lost a lot of time in his stint due to a small collision with a competitor. I think we lost about two minutes at least."
Premiere: First group win for the Stuck brothers in the X-Bow
Ferdinand and Johannes Stuck surpassed themselves at the eighth VLN race. In the KTM X-Bow GT4, they managed to achive the first group victory for the spectacular small sports car from Austria. The duo finished seventh overall. "That is absolutely amazing", said Johannes Stuck. "This result is the reward for the hard work that Insert Motorsport has performed.“
The result in class Cup 3 was extremely close. Hamza Owega, Alex Schula and Moritz Kranz crossed the finish line in the Mühlner-Porsche only 0.232 seconds ahead of Gabriele Piano in the sister car. The victory in the TMG GT86 Cup went to Dale Lomas, Lucian Gavris and Werner Gusenbauer who were entered by the MSC-Adenau. The win in the Porsche-Carrera-Cup class was taken by Alexander Mies and Tim Scheerbarth for the Gigaspeed Team GetSpeed Performance.
The season final in the VLN endurance championship Nürburgring will take place in two weeks time, on the 21st of October. The decision in the drivers' championship of this worldwide biggest grassroots racing series will the be taken at the 42th DMV Münsterlandpokal which will run over four hours.
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