Frikadelli Racing had to wait three years – or, to be more precise, 1,099 days – between wins in the VLN, the locally-based German outfit winning VLN 3 (60th ADAC ACAS H&R), ending its long wait last weekend.
The team’s win – its sixth all time in VLN – was a comfortable one, drivers Lance David Arnold and Felipe Fernàndez Laser’s Porsche 911 GT3 R finishing up 34 seconds ahead of the nearest SP9 rival, the #5 Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS of Frank Stippler and Vincent Kolb.
It was a remarkable effort by the team all round, though the work put in to ensure that the team could take the start was a storyline in itself. After an accident in Qualifying, the Frikadelli mechanics were forced to scramble and repair the car just in time for the race start, the Porsche eventually was readied minutes before the the teams headed to the grid.
“I went off the track at Breidscheid and our mechanics started already on the spot to dismantle the damaged parts. They tried so hard after the end of the session. They contributed to our success significantly,” said Laser after celebrating his second VLN victory.
“Our first place is last but not least balm for my soul, because in recent years, I had come so close to winning this trophy but suffered setbacks.” Arnold added. “Today, I felt very comfortable in the car right from the beginning. So we were in a position to fully attack.”
With second place, Phoenix driver Kolb took a podium position in his first GT3 race at the Nordschleife. He was keen to point out that teammate and mentor Stippler played a very important part in his win.
“This is incredible”, the 23-year-old said. “I am so happy as I would never have expected to be so successful straightaway.
“I learn a lot from him (Stippler). We compared and analysed the data together. There is still room for improvement on my side. But I am very confident after this successful debut.”
Finishing third, making it three marques in the top three, was last year’s winners Georg Weiss, Oliver Kainz and Jochen Krumbach in the first of the Wochenspiegel Ferrari 488 GT3s – the #22.
Before the race Wochenspiegel Team Monschau celebrated a historical result in Qualifying. Christian Menzel, driver of the team’s second Ferrari (the #11) with Leonard Weiss, set the fastest time with 7:58.060 minutes. That put him ahead of teammate Krumbach in the eventual podium-winning car, and scored the pole position in the very last minute by 1.458 seconds.
It meant that for the first time in VLN history, the front-row of the grid was locked out by Ferraris.
“The third race seems to suit me”, said Weiss. “We never expected that fantastic result in the qualifying, it was quite difficult in the beginning to set fast lap times.”
Krumbach added: “I knew exactly where I lost time in the practice. So I was able to accept that he stole the pole from me. Finally, I passed him then quickly in the race.” Menzel / Weiss suffered some technical problems in the race and lost five laps to the leaders as a consequence.
Off the podium, completing the top five was, Alexandre Imperatori and Jens Klingmann in Falken Motorsports BMW M6 GT3, which came home ahead of the second Frikadelli Porsche of Klaus Abbelen, Sabine Schmitz and Alexander Müller.
Jonathan Hirschi, Hunter Abbott and Jordan Tresson in Walkenhorst Motorsport’s M6 GT3 finished sixth, in front of the Steve Jans, Marek Böckmann and Christopher Gerhard GIGASPEED Team GetSpeed Performance Porsche.
It wasn’t a good run for Mercedes teams in the race. The highest finishing AMG GT3 was AutoArena Motorsport’s driven by Patrick Assenheimer and Kenneth Heyer which ended up eighth.
Outside of the SP9 runners battling for the overall win, there were a couple of other notable entries to mention.
In Cup 5, former GTE Am FIA WEC champions Emmanuel Collard and Francois Perrodo steered their Bonk Motorsport BMW M251i to sixth in class with Thomas Leyherr.
Further down the order in the class, ELMS/FIA WEC regular Marvin Dienst was also in action, finishing eighth.
The fourth round of the VLN endurance championship Nürburgring will take place in two weeks’ time: The 49th Adenauer ADAC Rundstrecken-Trophy on July 7th.
Podium and Wochenspiegel Ferrari image courtesy of VLN, Frikadelli Porsche image courtesy of Frikadelli