Whilst fog was still prevailing in the morning of the sixth VLN round, rain and sunshine alternated during the race. And finally, at the race end, the smile in the face of Connor De Philippi was even brighter than the sunshine: “Finally the first VLN win this year”, said the exuberantly happy American race driver at the pit wall stand of this team. A few seconds before, his team mate Robin Frijns had crossed the finish line of the 40th RCM DMV Grenzlandrennen into first place with the Audi R8 LMS. Montplast by Land-Motorsport, with three victories the most successful team in the last VLN season, had to wait six races until they scored their first top result this year. Their advance ahead of their make colleagues Frank Stippler and Nikolaj Moller-Madsen of Phoenix-Racing was 16.415 seconds at the finish. After the four hours race time, Martin Ragginger and Klaus Bachler completed the top three in the Porsche 911 GT3 R of Falken Motorsports.
The path to victory, though, was anything but easy, the difference between the top four after 20 laps – Land, Manthey, Falken and Phoenix – was not more than 2.2 seconds. It was only in the very final part of the race that the gaps became bigger. “All of a sudden, we were too slow”, said Ragginger was still a little shocked after the race. “Over long distances, we simply couldn’t go the pace of the two Audi. I have no idea what they were then doing at the end. I was absolutely at my limits but still couldn’t go the speed of ‘Stippi’.” The latter commented: “I would say that me, too, I was at the limit.” Frijns, the winner, gave a few words of explanation after the race: “I passed the Falken-Porsche and the Phoenix-Audi at the Döttinger Höhe, thereafter I was lucky in the traffic and was able to move ahead a little.”
In the morning, the Team Manthey-Racing, which has already scored three victories in 2017, set pole-position with the two French drivers Romain Dumas and Patrick Pilet in the Porsche 911 GT3 R. Their lead in the race, however, did not even last one lap. The Phoenix-Audi went into the lead at the Döttinger Höhe just before the end of the first lap. The Manthey duo was always racing within top positions but had to be satisfied with fourth place in the end.
The sixth VLN race was characterised by changing weather conditions. After the start in dry conditions, there were temporary rain showers at various track sections of the Nordschleife which made the tyre choice a lottery, just as previously at the 6h Race. Stippler explained the fact that Land finally dominated Phoenix with their disadvantages in the mixed weather conditions: “It is difficult for us when there is a light drizzle. It is of course disappointing that we finished only second after having been in the lead over eleven laps. But, considering the weather, the result is ok. Third in the last race, now second – let’s see what’s to come now.” De Phillipi was very happy about his fourth VLN win which was the 23rd success for Land-Motorsport. “Today, everything was simply perfect”, said the American.
With fifth place behind the top four, Mücke Motorsport celebrated a successful debut in the endurance championship at the Nürburgring. Edoardo Mortara and Christian Hohenadel completed 28 laps in the Mercedes-AMG GT3 of the traditional racing team from Berlin. The gap of the fastest car with the star on the bonnet to the winners was 3:54.817 minutes. The Pro-Am classification in the GT3 class was gained by Abdulaziz Al Faisal, Erik Johansson and Adam Christodoulou in the AMG GT3 of Black Falcon, they finished sixth overall.
Christian Krognes, Michele Di Martino and Matias Henkola became seventh in the BMW M6 GT3 of Walkenhorst Motorsport, followed by the two Porsche teams of Manthey-Racing with Otto Klohs and Lars Kern as well as Frikadelli Racing with Norbert Siedler and Daniel Keilwitz into eighth and ninth positions respectively. The top ten were completed by ”Dieter Schmidtmann“, Heiko Hammel and Felipe Fernandez Laser in a Renault R.S.01. The driver trio were at the same time fastest outside the GT3 class.
Volker Strycek celebrates two class wins in one single race
The long-time VLN driver Volker Strycek finished the Grenzlandrennen with an amazing feat. Together with his daughter Lena, he won the Opel Cup class and he also won the TCR class in a team with Hannu Luostarinen. Strycek has now caught up with Ralf Schall in the statistics of class wins. They both are shown with 95 victories. For Schall, the series of victories came to an end at the sixth race. He had been victorious with the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup in class H4 five times this year together with Christopher Gerhard.
The team Gigaspeed GetSpeed Performance secured two victories in two difference Cup classes. Alexander Mies, Tim Scheerbarth and Steve Jans dominated the Carrera-Cup class with their Porsche 911 GT3 Cup and Fabian Schillder together with team principle Adam Osieka finished the race in the lead of the Cayman class. Michael Schrey scored a fourth win in a row in the BMW M235i Racing Cup.
Mühlner-Trio defends championship lead with second place
A second place in the Cayman Cup class behind Schiller and Osieka was sufficient for Moritz Kranz, Hamza Owega and Alex Schula to defend the lead in the drivers’ championship after six rounds ahead of Marcel Manheller. The local hero from Döttingen himself finished second in class V4 together with Carsten Kueschgens in the BMW 325i of the MSC Adenau. The class win went to Christopher Rink, Danny Brink and Phillipp Leisen in the BMW 325i of the Pixum Team Adrenalin Motorsport.
The seventh round of the VLN endurance championship Nürburgring will take place on 23rd September. The 57th ADAC Reinoldus-Langstreckenrennen will run over the traditional distance of four hours.