On Saturday it’s the final race day for the VLN, with the 38th Münsterlandpokal closing out the season. In addition to the overall and class victories, the teams are also racing for ham – a long standing tradition of a full ham being handed out to the top finishers in each class at the prize giving. Maybe that’s the reason for the GT Academy Team RJN to field one of their Nissan GT-R GT3s for Alex Buncombe and Lucas Ordonez? Both have prior VLN and Nordschleife experience, but haven’t raced a GT3 car in the Green Hell. But there are also other GT Academy athletes racing in the four hour race, with Peter Pyzera, Wolfgang Reip and Marc Schulzhitskiy sharing a Porsche Cayman fielded by ProSport Performance.
There is also another famous racer making his Nordschleife-debut, with reigning WTCC champion Rob Huff sharing an Audi TT-RS with Rob Holland and Charles Ng in the SP4T class. Huff might be talking of a potential challenge for the overall victory if the weather turns out be bad and, yes, the Audi TT-RS has won a VLN race in 2011, but that was with the much more experienced lineup of Christian Hohenadel, Frank Biela and Michael Ammermüller.
The GT3 class once again has the usual suspects signed up, with Uwe Alzen, Niclas Kentenich and Philipp Wlazik hoping to close out the season with another podium, maybe even a win. Giving the BMW Z4 GT3 definitely a run for its money will be the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 of Rowe Racing, where Jan Seyffarth and Nico Bastian once again hold the spearhead role. The second Rowe SLS sees Marko Hartung and Michael Zehe behind the wheel.
A new driver line-up is taking a seat at Phoenix Racing, where Marc Basseng, Laurens Vanthoor and Christian Mamerow are slated to share an Audi R8 LMS ultra. The second Phoenix R8 sees Johannes and Ferdinand Stuck plus Frank Stippler behind the wheel. The winners of the last race, Marc and Dennis Busch, are back with their Audi R8 LMS ultra hoping for another fine result. At Frikadelli Racing, Henri Moser once again is part of the line up with Klaus Abbelen, Sabine Schmitz and Patrick Huisman. In the lone Manthey-Racing GT3 R Porsche Junior Alex Riberas shares driving duties with Otto Klohs.
Not signed up for the race is the McLaren MP4-12C GT3 of Dörr Motorsport, so the Ford GT of Jürgen Alzen, Artur Deutgen and Dominik Schwager is the only exotic GT3 racer. The 4.4 litre Porsche GT3 RSR of Manthey Racing sees Lucas Luhr, Jochen Krumbach and Nick Tandy behind the wheel.
And now we get to the overall championship battle. Where else in this world would you get get a Renault Clio, Porsche 911 and Audi TT fighting for the crown? Only in the VLN, where points are distributed by the cars you have in your class at each race. With six victories out of eight races, Tim and Dirk Groneck and their Renault Clio are in the prime seat to take home the title on Saturday. The points-gap to the second-placed Wochenspiegel Team Manthey Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Georg Weiss, Michael Jacobs and Oliver Kainz is 4.65. Also holding onto a championship chance is the Audi TT-RS of Elmar Deegener and Christoph Breuer; with their 8.98 points disadvantage, the two have to hope for bad luck for both cars ahead of them. While the Groneck brothers can win the championship with a class victory, the Wochenspiegel Porsche has to win its class and the Groneck Clio has to finish in sixth or worse in order for the 911 to be crowned champion.
The four-hour race is definitely going to be one filled with a lot of drama.
Full entry – here