The eighth round of the VLN Langstreckenmeisterschaft Nürburgring was full of suspense. The great number of enthusiastic fans around the legendary Nordschleife experienced exciting motor sport – and the winner finally was a Manthey Porsche. Lucas Luhr (Switzerland) and Richard Westbrook (Great Britain), together with their team manager Olaf Manthey, celebrated the third successive victory for the Haribo Porsche in the current season. Romain Dumas (Switzerland) and Arno Klasen (Karlshausen/ Germany) lost their lead just before the race end due to a tyre damage and finished into second place. A brilliant debut had Christian Hohenadel (Illingen/ Germany) and Lance David Arnold (Duisburg/ Germany) in the new GT3-Corvette who finished into third position at their first participation with this race car in the endurance racing championship. The successful world premiere of the new SLS AMG GT3 was clouded by a start accident. The team AMG Mercedes HWA GmbH nevertheless gained some useful experience and set very impressive lap times. The five times DTM Champion Bernd Schneider (Bottighofen/ Germany) was really excited after his comeback at the Nordschleife: „Crazy, all the crowd here around the track”, said the Saarländer happily. “We did not expect that kind of support by the fans. The Nordschleife has always been something very special and one of the greatest challenges in motor sport.” A 30 minutes summary will be broadcasted in Sport 1 on 2nd October at 09:45hrs.
After a little more than three hours race time, the 42nd ADAC Barbarossapreis was stopped by Race Control with the red flag before the schedule race time had elapsed. There had been a lot of accidents in the sections of Hatzenbach, Aremberg and Fuchsröhre. Fortunately, none of the drivers involved suffered any injury. “Due to the guardrail damages and the ongoing rescue activities, we decided to stop the race at this point due to the safety risks involved”, informed Clerk of the Course Peter Bröcher (Olpe/ Germany). As more than 75 percent of the scheduled race distance had been completed when the race was stopped, full championship points will be awarded.
A first decision in the fight about the overall victory was taken already a few seconds after the start. There was a collision in corner two between pole setter Hohenadel and Schneider who was attacking heavily from third grid position. Both cars spun and Audi driver Frank Stippler (Bad Münstereifel/ Germany) unintentionally crashed into the SLS AMG GT3. “Someone hit the back of my car and I had not chance to avoid the collision”, said Stippler angrily who shared the Audi R8 of the Phoenix Team with Marc Basseng (Neusalza-Spremburg/ Germany). The collision resulted in the retirement of the super sports car from Ingolstand – Schneider in contrast was able to rejoin the race after a repair time of about 25 minutes.
An exciting fight amongst the top three drivers started. Klasen set fast lap times and thus confirmed his lead in the direct battle with Westbrook. The Corvette lost in particular a lot of time at the pit stops. “Our tank ventilation was damaged at the incident in the first lap”, informed Hohenadel. “Hence, we lost at least 20 seconds at each stop due to the slower flow rate of the fuel.” Dumas had to proceed to an unscheduled pit stop in lap 19 after a tyre damage – which finally spoiled his victory. “We dominated the race up to that moment”, said Klasen. Luhr was extremely happy about his successful comeback in the endurance racing championship. “A lucky race end. It could have become very close again if the race had not been stopped as we had a totally different race strategy compared to our sister car.” The twice winner of the current season Lance David Arnold was happy with their result on the podium at the first participation with the GT3 Corvette. “This is a totally new challenge. Currently, there is still a lack of respect towards our Corvette when we wish to overtake. The other participants are meanwhile very much used to the two Manthey Porsche and it is new for them when all of a sudden such a strong Corvette appears in their mirrors. We need to work on this for the future.”
Three additional Porsche followed into positions four to six. Armin Hahne (Wimbach/ Germany), Jochen Krumbach (Eschweiler/ Germany) and Marc Gindorf (Monaco) into fourth place just missed the podium and finished ahead of Niclas Kentenich (Neuss/ Germany), Sabine Schmitz und Klaus Abbelen (both from Barweiler/ Germany) as well as Georg Weiss (Monschau/ Germany), Michael Jacobs (Roetgen-Rott/ Germany) and Oliver Kainz (Kottenheim/ Germany). Into seventh place followed Rudi Adams (Ahütte/ Germany), Stefan Aust (Castrop-Rauxel/ Germany) and Christopher Haase (Kulmbach/ Germany) in the BMW Z4 GT3 entered by Dörr-Motorsport. A brilliant debut at the Nordschleife celebrated the two leaders in the Porsche Carrera Cup Germany, Nicolas Armindo (France) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain). Together with Martin Ragginger (Austria) they won their class SP7 (VLN Specials up to 4.000 cc cylinder capacity).
Great suspense in the fight about the championship
To further maintain their chances in the championship, the series leaders Alexander Böhm (Kelberg/ Germany), Philipp Leisen (Irrel/ Germany) and Carsten Knechtges (Mayen/ Germany) had changed into class SP3 (VLN- Specials up to 2.000 cc cylinder capacity) which figures the greatest number of competitors for the eighth round. Due to the lower number of starters, they would score less points in their regular class V5 (VLN series production cars up to 2.500 cc cylinder capacity). This decision turned out to be the right choice. Wolf Silvester (Nürnberg/ Germany) and Mario Merten (Nürburg/ Germany), who may also still hope for the title as soon as the maximum number of results will come into effect from the next race, won class SP3 with their Bonk-BMW Z4 and gained 9.83 points. The Black Flacon Trio finished second and was awarded 9.50 points. The second in the Championship, Elmar Deegener (Stelzenberg/ Germany), Jürgen Wohlfarth (Murrhardt/ Germany) and Christoph Breuer (Nettersheim/ Germany), finished in second place only with the Audi TTS in their class SP3T (VLN-Specials up to 2.000 cc cylinder capacity with turbo) and with the score of only 9.21 points thus virtually have another result which will probably not be taken into consideration for the addition of championship points. The class was won by Volker Strycek (Dehrn/ Germany), Hannu Luostarinen und Julius Nieminen (both from Finland) in the Opel Astra OPC. The Black-Falcon-Trio nonetheless is still in the lead.
The ninth round of the VLN Langstreckenmeisterschaft Nürburgring, the 34th DMV 250-Meilen-Rennen organised by the AC Monheim, is scheduled to take place on 16th October. The main issue at this race over the distance of four hours will then be the thrilling fight about the Championship.