At the end of an eventful season, Christopher Rink, Danny Brink and Phillip Leisen could be celebrated 2018 Champions after the ninth and last round of the VLN endurance championship Nürburgring. The driver trio of the Pixum Team Adrenalin Motorsport took the total of six wins in the highly contested class for production cars up to 2,500cc cubic capacity and collected valuable points with their results in the other races. “I am just overwhelmed”, said Team Principle Matthias Unger, who himself had been VLN Champion in the year 2008, with a big smile in his face. In addition to scoring first place in the series, the Porsche Cayman of the same team and with drivers Norbert Fischer, Christian Konnerth and Daniel Zils Rang finished second in the Championship and made thus the one-two success perfect for the team. Both cars scored moreover in first and second places in the VLN Production Car Trophy.
“I cannot believe yet what we have achieved”, said Rink after the finish and Brink added: “In particular after what happened as a follow-up of the eighth race, I am really relieved now.” The Adrenalin BMW was disqualified after VLN8 as a consequence of a technical protest. The team then lodged an appeal against this decision and the appeal was upheld by the DMSB Court of Appeal which found that the car complied with the Technical Regulation in relation to the contested points. “We were literally running on adrenalin and are extremely happy that we have now finally secured the title”, said Leisen.
Third position in the championship goes to Stephan Köhler and Christian Kohlhaas who took their ninth class win in the ninth race with their Ferrari 458 of racing one at the season finale. Due to the low number of cars in their class SP8, the average came up to only six, this extraordinary performance was nevertheless finally not enough to take the title. In the endurance championship, the more drivers you leave behind in your class, the more points you get. The champions’ class V4 had 21 cars on the average on the starting grid.
Second victory of the season for the Falken-Porsche
Falken Motorsport secured the race win at the season finale. At the last race of the “old” Porsche 911 GT3 R, Klaus Bachler and Martin Ragginger finished after 28 laps with the small gap of 5.334 seconds ahead of Maximilian Götz, Raffaele Marciello and Patrick Assemheimer in the Mercedes-AMG GT3 of HTP-Motorsport. Third position also went to a team with the star on the bonnet. Hubert Haupt, Yelmer Buurman and Luca Stolz finally missed the victory by 20.845 seconds. The SP9-Premium classification was for the fifth time in the season won by Georg Weiss, Oliver Kainz and Jochen Krumbach in a Ferrari 488 GT3.
“We were sure that our pit strategy would work out perfectly”, explained Ragginger. “In the end, we still encountered a small technical problem – it would not have been possible to complete one more lap.” For the farewell race of the green-blue nine-eleven, Falken Motorsport gave all the VLN fans the opportunity to leave a message on the car bonnet. A huge number of spectators used the opportunity and thus provided the Porsche with a unique design. “I am convinced that this brought us the necessary bit of luck”, said Bachler with a twinkle in his eye. There are rumours that the team will bring a new Porsche 911 GT3-R of model range 991.2 to the start in 2019. With two victories this season and two third places, Falken Motorsport has won the VLN Speed Trophy, the special classification for the top cars of the series.
After his first win at the previous round, Assenheimer confirmed once again at the final that he is in top form. “I am always happy about a podium finish”, he said. “Now I hope that the break in racing will not be too long for me and that I can compete in some oversea races. And then the preparations for the new season will start right away. I would really like to do the whole VLN season next year. Up to then, I try to keep myself in shape with fitness and many laps in the simulator.”
Hubert Haupt, too, was happy with position three. “After two victories in this season, third place is perfect to finish the motorsport year”, he said. “We could perhaps have done better today, especially in the qualifying where we lost some time. We thus lost touch with the race leaders right from the beginning.”
Tristan Viidas wins the VLN Junior Trophy
The winner of the VLN Junior Trophy is Tristan Viidas. In the BMW M235i Racing Cup of the Securtal Team Sorg Rennsport, the Estonian beat his rivals Finn Unteroberdörster and Janis Waldow who finally finished second in the rookie classification with their Renault Mégane. The top three were completed by Tobias Müller, Nico Otto and Lars Peucker who shared the wheel in the BMW M235i Racing Cup of Scheid-Honert Motorsport.
A historic success at the 43rd DMV Münsterlandpokal was achieved by Volker Strycek. The long-time Opel Sports Director scored a class win in SP3T together with his children Lena and Robin – which marked his 100th class win in the VLN statistics which has been maintained since 1990. Strycek is the only second driver to accomplish this feat. With 102 class victories, Ralf Schall is currently still the most successful VLN driver.The
triumphant drivers in the VLN will receive their well-deserved awards on 24 November at the big annual prizegiving ceremony in the Bitburger-Event-Center at the Nürburgring. Only one week later, this worldwide biggest grassroots series will be represented at the Essen Motor Show in hall 5, stand 5A10. In addition to the exhibition presentation designed for infotainment with exhibition cars, fan shop and autograph session, the VLN race cars will also show some action in the motorsport arena in hall 4.
The opening race in 2019 will take place on 23 March. The VLN endurance championship Nürburgring will be continuing its unique success story with the 43rd season.