Manthey-Racing wins the opening round

No wish was left unanswered at the kick-off of the BFGoodrich Langstreckenmeisterschaft Nürburgring. In sunny spring weather, the spectators around the Nürburgring Nordschleife experienced an exciting race. The chequered flag was shown to the winners Marcel Tiemann (Monaco) and Timo Bernhard (Dittweiler) in their Porsche 911 GT3 RSR entered by Manthey-Racing after 4:01:01.014 hours race time. Their advance ahead of second-placed Christian Mamerow (Castrop-Rauxel) and Lance-David Arnold (Duisburg) in the Porsche GT3 ‚Cup S‘ was 1:03.348 minutes. The 56th ADAC Westfalenfahrt was the racing premiere for professional cyclist Jan Ullrich from Switzerland. After a radiator damage in the first part of the race and the necessary repair time, the rookie used the remaining time to gain experience at the Nordschleife. “This was really great fun.”

There was a big fight about the first overall victory of the season between the race car configurations of the ‘VLN Specials’ and of the ‘FIA-GT2’. With the introduction of the new regulations, the FIA-GT3 sports cars are for the first time eligible to take part in this most popular race series of Europe. The even balance between the two categories became already apparent in the timed practice session. The pole position was gained by Marc Basseng (Leutenbach), Mattias Ekström (Sweden) and Toto Wolff (Austria) in their Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Land-Motorsport – prepared in compliance with the ‘Specials’ Regulations. With 8:20.956 minutes the trio achieved fastest lap time ahead of Sascha Bert (Ober-Ramstadt) and Marc Anton Bronzel (Großensee) in the Dodge Viper (GT3) of Zakspeed-Racing following into second position 1.976 seconds behind. Some statistics after the timed practice: The lap times of the first eight teams all were within ten seconds.

So an exciting race was to be expected – the Zakspeed-Viper went into the lead right after the start and lost its position only when the first pit stops were carried out. Due to strange noises at the rear axle, Bert and Bronzel returned to the pits in their US racing car after twelve laps and had to stop the race. The Land team had retired in fifth race lap already after a collision with a car to be lapped. So the way was clear for Tiemann and Bernhard and the team drove the victory home in a controlled manner. “Our Porsche was perfect today although the lack in performance compared to last year was clearly to be felt”, said Tiemann. “We must now carefully look into all the collected data to see where we are. In general, I think however that we are on the right way with the new regulations.” Mamerow and Arnold had a great race after two tyre damages and the related unscheduled pit stops and fought their way forward from place 13 up into second position. “We have achieved much more today than we ever expected”, explained Mamerow after the race. “The performances in the field were tremendously balanced today. The combination of car, setup and driver thus gains in importance – and it was all perfect for us.”

The fivefold Porsche victory was completed by Frank Stippler (Bad Münstereifel), Norbert Fischer (Cologne) and Marco Seefried (Nuremberg) in the Porsche 911 GT3 (VLN-Specials), Oliver Kainz (Kottenheim) and Frank Schmickler (Rösrath) in the Porsche 911 GT3 ‚Cup S‘ (GT3) and finally by Sabine Schmitz, Klaus Abbelen (both from Bahrweiler) and Dr. Edgar Althoff (Viersen) in the Porsche 911 GT3 (VLN-Specials). The fastest BMW M3 then followed behind into sixth place. The ‘Eifelblitz’ entered by Scheid-Motorsport was this weekend driven by Duncan Huisman (Netherlands), Stian Sorlie (Norway) and Jörg Viebahn (Engelskirchen).

Rodney Forbes to take first class victory for Australia
The first Australian class winner in the history of the BFGoodrich Langstreckenmeisterschaft Nürburgring is Rodney Forbes. Together with the two Porsche juniors Marco Holzer (Bobingen) and Martin Ragginger (Austria), he gained the victory in the class of the Porsche Cup cars. The Honda Civic Cup class was won by the experienced drivers Christoph Dupré (Schiffweiler) and Jürgen Nett (Mayen) ahead of the VLN Honda juniors Tim Scheerbarth (Dormagen), Dennis and Kristian Nägele (Donzdorf and Lauterstein), who celebrated an excellent start into the new season with their second place in the highly competitive Cup. The faces of Andreas Gülden (Reifferscheid) and Theo Kleen (Wiesemscheid) were one beaming brighter than the other after they won their class in the New Renault Clio Cup. And in addition, the team managed by Ring-Racing finished second in the VLN Specials up to 2.000 cc capacity. Second in the Renault classification became Elmar Jurek and Jannik Olivion from Berlin.

The second round of the year – the 34th DMV 4-Hour-Race of the Renngemeinschaft Düren – will take place in only two weeks time on 18th of April.