The #13 Auto Arena AMG squad took a seemingly unlikely win in VLN8 on Saturday, the 50th running of the Barbarossapreis.
The four hour race was packed with incident and action from the off with polesitter Augusto Farfus, planning for a solo run in the #42 Schnitzer Motorsport BMW M6 GT3, powered off into a early lead that looked convincing but disappeared with an unplanned stop at the end of the opening lap, the Brazilian left to fight back from there on in, setting the fastest lap of the race as he did so (8:871), but two further unscheduled stops ruined their day.
The BMW was actually third fastest in qualifying, both the new and debuting Aston Martin Vantage GT3 (in the hands of Maxime Martin), and the similarly un-raced Audi R8 LMS Evo (Christopher Mies) bettered the M6 quallifying time, both though are as yet un-homologated and ran in SPX, despite their times then they would start from the back of group 1, around 50 cars deep, and would have a mandatory pit stop time 20 seconds longer than their SP9 (GT3) forebears.
The SPX pair would enjoy a race long battle, back up into the top 10 by the midpoint of the race, Martin and Mies passing the cars over to Darren Turner and Jamie Green, Turner would have the best of the running in the second half after the Audi led much of the first. With good pace from both, and bad luck for others the SPX cars would finish an excellent 4th and 5th overall, well within striking distance of the podium were it not for their starting grid disadvantage and additional pit stop time.
The Wochenspiegel Ferrari threat waned with first a substantial accident for the #11 which had led the race, then later with a broken shock absorber for the sister #22 shortly after it had taken the lead for the second time.
There were woes too for the #47 HTP Mann Filters AMG (double puncture after L2 contact and a late retirement), the Konrad Lamborghini, engine woes after a repair to fix crash damage from qualifying, the #9 Phoenix Audi and #12 Manthey Porsche were both out after mutual contact too.
There were mixed fortunes for the pair of Frikadelli Porsches, the #31 out early but the #30 looking to be in contention for a podium, that was until the final 30 minutes when the car was dealt substantial stop and hold for a slow zone infringement, Klaus Abbelen left to fight a losing battle against the charging SPX cars for fourth overall. He’d be passed by Jamie Green on the final lap in the Car Collection-run EVO Audi and would come home a disappointed 6th, albeit still winning in SP9 Premium.
All of that left two front-running SP9s in the mix for the win, both Mercedes, the #13 Auto Arena AMG GT3 for Dominic Baumann and Patrick Assenheimer and the #10 SPS automotive car of Eduardo Mortara and Renger van der Zande.
Mortara was the quickest in the early running, leading well after Farfus pitted, but in the final run to the flag it was Baumann working to fend off a late charge from van der Zande, this after the sps car seved a late stop and go. He’d bring it home just 3.6 seconds clear.
The final podium position went to Walkenhorst Motorsport and their #35 BMW M6 GT3, Hunter Abbot coming through the chaos to score a lonely third spot in the car he shared with Jonathan Hirschi and ex Nissan GT Academy winner Jordan Tresson.
In the classes Fabian Schiller brought home the #101 Get Speed Porsche that he shared with Americans Janine Hill and John Shofner home in 9th overall to win Cup2 a minute ahead of the SP7 winning #66 Porsche.
Cup 3 was a fantastic last lap battle between the #959 Schmickler and #940 GetSpeed GT4 Caymans that ended with the winning car mounting an active and spirited defence right to the line, the gap just three tenths at the flag.
The top three in class came just ahead of a gaggle of class winners outside the top 20, the SP8, Cup X, SP10 and TCR class winners in line astern with the #139 Racing One Ferrari 458, #929 scoring an eighth consecutive class win, Teichmann KTM, #163 Black Falcon AMG GT4 and #806 mathilda racing SEAT
Of the other major classes the Cup 5 win went to the #650 Pixum team Adrenalin BMW M235i Racing, V5 went to the #444 Pixum team Adrenalin Porsche Cayman, V6 to the #421 Zimmermann Caymanand V4 to the #492 Manheller BMW 325i.
Nick Yelloly finished well in the #696 BMW M235i Racing, 51st overall whilst Alex Brundle and Michele Beretta had a good run in their #462 ProSport Cayman to fifth in V5 on their VLN debuts.