Christian Krognes has been racing the Nordschleife since 2010, winning his way into the GT3 class where since 2016 he’s raced the Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M6 GT3. The 2018 Nürburgring 24 Hours marks the Norwegian’s first full-pro attack in the twice-around-the-clock, teaming up with former ‘N24’ winner Augusto Farfus, Spa 24 Hours champ Markus Palttala and rising star Fabian Schiller in the Shell-branded, BMW-endorsed M6 GT3. Get the inside scoop from Krognes as he takes you with him into the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring in his daily blogs.
Yesterday was a good one for us, ranking up a solid amount of laps for everyone. In many ways the Thursday sessions are some of the nicest we have during the year. Things are still quite relaxed from a drivers point of view, you’ll have some time to find your groove in the car and the constant partying around the track makes it something really special to do a lap. For the team it’s also a good day to run all their system checks, and generally dig out all those small gremlins that might be in there. Typically you want to go into the Friday sessions strictly for performance-related tests, and that’s what we all work for on Thursday.
For me, the day started a bit so-so, as I have been struggling a bit with food poisoning since last weekend. Just two days ago I was really wondering how this 24-hour race would turn out to be, but luckily I have seemed to heal quicker than what I expected. Hopefully I’ll be in proper shape just in time for the race on Saturday!
Having had sunny weather for three straight weeks, the weather gods of the Eifel decided to send some proper Nordschleife weather in our direction, and surely enough – an hour before our practice session rain hammered down around the whole track. Markus did our first installation laps on the car, before I went in with a couple of fresh slick tires on a half-wet Nordschleife. Usually one would like to keep the car off the track during practice sessions with such weather, simply because you cannot gather a lot of valid data to progress on later – but this time it might actually be pretty relevant for the race. Overall it was a nice experience, and coming out of the car I was P2 among the GT3s. Fabian then took to the track and continued to improve sectors here and there, but as a lot people hammered-in a quick time on a near dry track in the end – we ended up P10 overall.
Shortly after that, focus was changed to my favorite part of the day: the night qualifying. I have to say that even with the monstrous lights of the M6 GT3 – all the small crests make it so challenging to see above hill tops and the likes of it, that all your reference points literally vanishes in darkness many places. Add in that the perception of speed is quite a bit higher in the darkness, and you’ll basically have to learn a lot of areas of the track all over again. This is where it’s important to have a car that you can ‘lean on’ and trust, and so far the team did a fantastic job in that regard. It takes some time, but when you get into the groove – running around corners like Flügplatz and Schwedenkreuz almost flat in the black is quite an experience.
Overall we had a god day ending up P17 after the first qualifying session, but since we already secured the top 30 spot through qualifying third in VLN1, we’re all relaxed about the positions right now. The main focus has been to find a balanced race setup, particularly since we seem to run into typical Nordschleife-weather this weekend with some rain predicted during the night and on Sunday. Tomorrow is however the final qualifying day with the top 30 session in the evening. Augusto will be our man in the car, and we hope that we can bring it right up there with the better end of the field. We’re all super excited and ready to give our absolute best in the days to come!
Do you want to win this Nürburgring 24 Hours cap signed by Christian Krognes? Tag a friend who would like to win this cap as well in our ‘N24’ Facebook posts and we’ll pick the winner on Sunday night.