Black Falcon dominates, Böhm/Unger the new champions

Following the season finale of the 2008 BFGoodrich Endurance Championship Nürburgring, Team Black Falcon had three reasons to cheer about: Alexander Böhm (Kelberg) and Matthias Unger (Heusenstamm) secured the title in Europe’s most popular mass-sports series and consequently will contest the 2009 season with the No 1 on their car. At the same time, the pairing also won the VLN Production Car Cup, with their BMW 325i. And another Black Falcon driver, Christer Jöns, prevailed in the VLN Junior Trophy. While the overall win in the season finale – the ‘BFGoodrich Trophy’ – was clinched by Marc Basseng (Leutenbach) and Dirk Werner (Kissenbrück) at the wheel of their Land-Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. The podium was completed by Armin Hahne (Monaco) and Marc Lieb (Ludwigsburg) with their Manthey-Racing entered Porsche 911 GT3 Cup S and Oliver Kainz (Kottenheim) who contested the race without a team-mate, in his Scheid-Motorsport BMW M3 GTRS.

“I’m exhausted but virtually over the moon,” said Unger who had to contest the final round of the season without his team-mate as Böhm was sick and consequently had to do without taking place behind the wheel. Due to the small number of competitors in the VLN Production Cars up to 2,500cc category, Unger’s eighth class win was one of two void results that have to be allowed for when it comes to the championship result. Therefore, he and his team-mate finished the season as joint champions. “I speak for the entire team,” said Böhm, “We really are extremely delighted. I have been racing in the Endurance Championship for eight years and now I have realised one of my major goals.”

Junior-Champion Jöns who contested the second half of the season with the Black-Falcon BMW was at a loss for words. “I just can’t believe what I have achieved,” he said. His Team Principal, Marc Schramm (Kelberg), helped out: “Christer convinced in 2008. He displayed no weaknesses at all and has won all the races he contested for our team. By doing so, he has demonstrated that he has got what it takes to make the next step on the motor-racing ladder.”

Due to the championship decisions, the battle for the final overall win of the year was of secondary significance, however, the thrilling situation at the front end of the field attracted a lot of attention, nevertheless. In the opening stages of the race, pole-sitter Uwe Alzen (Betzdorf) truly outclassed the field. In difficult weather conditions, Alzen’s opponents just couldn’t match his pace – and the former DTM driver opened a two-minute gap on his rivals. But soon after his brother, Jürgen Alzen (Betzdorf), had taken the wheel of the car, a technical failure on lap 11 made a sudden end to the stunning performance. Now, Dirk Adorf (Hennef) and Hermann Tilke (Aachen) took the lead with their Lamborghini Gallardo but also were forced into early retirement – due to an accident on lap 19. Following this incident, nobody could stop Basseng / Werner on their way to giving their Land-Motorsport squad the third win of the season. “The weather conditions made for an extremely tough race,” revealed Basseng. “Our Porsche was extremely sensitive, today, and in the opening stages of the race finding the necessary grip proved to be extremely difficult. In the second third, Dirk really went for it and raced at an amazing pace and in the closing stages, on the slicks, things again got really exciting, for me.” When the race on the 24.433-kilometre combination of the Grand Prix circuit’s short layout and the Nordschleife was over after four hours and 23 laps respectively, Basseng / Werner crossed the finish line with a 36.740-second lead of the second-placed pairing. Nonetheless, Hahne was happy with what the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup S had achieved in its maiden Nordschleife appearance. “A great debut,” he beamed. “Particularly in consideration of the fact that we had to come in for an extra pit stoup with just two laps completed and lost about three minutes, during this stop.”