On the day of his 30th anniversary, Tim Groneck gave himself the most special present in winning the title of the VLN endurance racing championship at the Nürburgring, together with his brother Dirk (both from Melle/ Germany). The last race of the season hereby turned out to be a nail-biting final for the two Renault Clio drivers. The joy when the car crossed the finish line was therefore all the greater. “This is simply crazy”, said Tim happily. “We are true amateur racing drivers and practice motor sport just for fun. Now, we are the champions – I can hardly find the right words to describe my feelings.” The last race victory of the season was gained by Marc Basseng (Neusalza Spremberg/ Germany), Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Chris Mamerow (Waltrop/ German) in the Audi R8 LMS ultra of the team Phoenix Racing. Their advance ahead of the second placed team with drivers Klaus Abbelen, Sabine Schmitz (both from Barweiler/ Germany), Patrick Huisman (Netherlands) and Henri Moser (Switzerland) in a Porsche 911 GT3 R was 2:04.479 minutes. The podium was completed by Uwe Alzen (Betzdorf/ Germany), Philipp Wlazik (Gladbeck/ Germany) and Niclas Kentenich (Neuss/ Germany) in their BMW Z4 GT3. A 30 minutes summary of the race will be shown in channel Sport1 on 1st November at 15:45hrs.
After about 90 minutes race time, the Groneck brothers already seemed to have lost the title. The Clio came to the pits with quite bad damages at the front part due to an accident whilst lapping another car. After an emergency repair carried out by the team, the crew rejoined the race. The covered one lap over the Grand Prix Circuit, before another service stop became due as the left rear wheel was dragging at the bodywork. All the forces were combined, including the support provided by the staff from the adjacent pit, and the wheelhouse was modified in order to solve the problem. Groneck / Groneck went back into the race in seventh place in their class and managed to move up into fifth place with their own efforts. This place was sufficient to win the championship. “That was a terrible moment of shock out on the track and the minutes at the pit stop seemed to be extremely long”, said Dirk Groneck. “Everybody was helping so that we could rejoin the race as quickly as possible. A really big thank you to the other teams in our pits which gave us a hand – this was a proof again that the VLN is a fantastic big family!” With their fifth win in the class of VLN Specials up to 4,000 cc cylinder capacity, Georg Weiss (Monschau/ Germany), Oliver Kainz (Kottenheim/ Germany) and Michael Jacobs (Roetgen-Rott/ Germany) in the Porsche 911 GT3 R of the Wochenspiegel Team Manthey confirmed their second place in the championship. Elmar Deegener (Stelzenberg/ Germany) and Christoph Breuer (Nettersheim/ Germany) in an Audi TT RS 2,0 missed the victory in the class of VLN Specials up to 2,000 cc cylinder capacity with turbo by only 0.7 seconds. However, even a class win would finally not have changed the fact that the driver duo of the Raeder team had to be satisfied with position three in the championship. “The final provided the maximum in terms of tension”, said VLN Chairman Rolf Krimpmann. “Congratulations to the well-deserved winners Dirk and Tim Groneck for their first title in the VLN endurance racing championship Nürburgring.”
Marc Basseng secured his 25th win in this unique racing series at the Nordschleife. “That is a great result at the end of the season”, he said. “I have competed in four races only this year and scored a second place and one win – that is a good overall result.” At the final of the season, the Phoenix driver trio also already performed a test in preparation of the coming season. “We have demonstrated that you can go pretty fast even when you are only testing”, said Mamerow with a big smile on his face. The Frikadelli team was delighted with their fifth result on the podium in the current season 2013 – and the third second position in a row – as this confirmed their first place in the new VLN Speed Trophy. “Even though we had secured the title already before this last race, we wanted to confirm it with a top result”, said Abbelen. “That was another almost perfect race and makes us look forward to the new season.” After a number of setbacks during the year, Uwe Alzen, too, was happy and celebrated a third place for the second time in a row: “That was another very important result for us”, informed the race driver from Betzdorf. “We have to look ahead now. Finally, we wish to finish on top of the podium some time with our BMW Z4 GT3.”
The winners of the VLN Series Production Trophy are Rolf Derscheid (Much/ Germany) and Michael Flehmer (Lohmar/ Germany). With the retirement of the driver duo at the eighth round of the series, the classification in the Trophy had become totally open again. Their domination in the BMW 325i, scoring seven wins in the class of VLN series production cars up to 2,500 cc cylinder capacity, throughout the season had however been superior. The title in the VLN Junior Trophy was won by Alexander Mies (Heiligenhaus/ Germany) of the Team Bonk-Motorsport. The good result in the current season for the VLN traditional racing team from Münster/ Germany was completed by Mario Merten (Kelberg/ Germany) who will go down in history as the first winner of the Opel Astra OPC Cup. The triple VLN champion finally dominated the exciting battle with Jannik Olivo and Elmar Jurek (both from Berlin) who had to retire 75 minutes before the race end due to an accident.
The VLN annual prizegiving ceremony will take on 23rd November at the Nürburgring Warsteiner Event-Center. The popular grassroots series will then be represented with some celebrities at the Essen Motor Show (Hall 6) from 30 November to 8 December. The new season of the endurance racing championship will start again on 29 March 2014, one week after the test and set-up session, this time organised over a two days period on 21 and 22 March, the unofficial start of the new motor sport year at the ‘Green Hell’.