Firsts on the top step
Unlike the last VLN round, which was hit by heavy rain and fog, the seventh round of the championship was run under the most beautiful weather, sun and chilly temperatures. 164 cars found the way to the Nürburgring and in Qualifying it was once again Uwe Alzen putting the hammer down, lowering his lap record, set earlier this season, to a 8:01.069 minutes. Now its just a question, when will someone break into the 7 minutes area. A distant second, just over three seconds back, it was the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Manthey-Racing, Lucas Luhr burned the lap into the Nordschleifen tarmac. In third it was another 911, this time the GT3 R of Frikadelli Racing, ahead of the Marc VDS Racing BMW Z4 GT3 of Nick Catsburg and Maxime Martin.
At the start of the race it was Jochen Krumbach in the Manthey-RSR able to get by Uwe Alzen in the Z4. Alzen lost another spot on the GP-circuit to Patrick Huisman in the Frikadelli-911. During the opening lap both Huisman and Alzen were able to slip by Krumbach and from behind Jan Seyffarth was charging towards the front.
Following in Seyffarth’s slipstream it was Henri Moser in the second Marc VDS Z4, both were able to get by Krumbach on lap two. Because Krumbach’s soft tires were starting to go down, he dived for the pitlane after lap two and turned the car over to Lucas Luhr.
Before the first round of pit stops was completed a crash in the Eschbach area took out Uwe Alzen in his own Z4 and Bas Leinders in one of the Marc VDS Z4. Additionally Michael Illbruck in the Pinta GT3-R was also one of the five cars involved in the crash. Once everyone pitted it was Lucas Luhr finding himself in the front, ahead of Jan Seyffarth in the Rowe-Racing Mercedes Benz SLS AMG GT3.
A strong battled brewed between Nick Catsburg in the last standing VDS Z4 and Sabine Schmitz in the Frikadelli-Racing Porsche. The traded their places multiple times, an impressive showing from Catsburg, considering he only did his first Nordschleifen laps the week prior to the race.
At the next rounds of pit stops Michael Zehe took over the second placed Rowe-SLS, thus leading to the gullwinged car slipping down on the timing screens. A puncture didn’t help their cause either. But the second Rowe-SLS, shared by Lance-David Arnold and Jan Seyffarth, was still a force to be reckoned with. But an hour from the race finish, the two got a lap deduction for a yellow flag infringement.
Because of the different pit stop strategy of Manthey-Racing, the lead changed multiple times between the VDS-Z4 of the flying Maxime Martin, the Manthey-911 and the Frikadelli-Porsche. But once everyone had finished of his pit stop it became clear that Manthey had an advantage of about 30 – 50 seconds over second place. But in the second to last lap it was Lucas Luhr having to stop the car with a problem in the wheel/ driveshaft area. This handed the lead to Maxime Martin and Nick Catsburg, who took their first VLN victory after 28 laps.
The fight for second place went down to the wire, the TwinBusch Motorsport Audi R8 LMS ultra got himself into contention by doing one less pit stop was ahead of the Frikadelli-Racing Porsche. Bumper to bumper the hit the Nordschleife for the last lap, and Patrick Huisman was able to get by the R8 at Schwalbenschwanz. Brining home another fine result for Frikadelli-Racing and its drivers Klaus Abbelen, Sabine Schmitz and Patrick Huisman.
The final meters proofed to be drama for the TwinBusch car, as it ran out of fuel at the Hohenrain Schikane, less than half a kilometre from the finish line. This gave third to the McLaren MP4-12C GT3 of Dörr Motorsport, a feel good result for the team that has been hampered by technical glitches all season long.
Fourth went to the Ford GT of Jürgen Alzen and Artur Deutgen, ahead of the GT Corse Ferrari F458 GT3 of Alexander Mattschull and Pierre Ehret. Best Cup-Porsche was the one of Christian Menzel and Wolfang Kohler, scoring their second class victory in a row. Markus Palttala, finally got to drive in a VLN race, after his Cup Porsche crashed out of the last races each time before the Finn could climb aboard. For Paltalla, Hendrik Still and Stefan Landmann it was a second class place in the end. Sportscar stalwart Adam Sharpe took the class victory in the SP6 class, sharing a BMW M3 with Rob Smith.
The next round of the VLN takes place on October 12th.