With a car carrying the scars of its morning accident, Lance David Arnold arrived on the grid for the third VLN race of the season just in time for the formation lap. The Frikadelli Racing Porsche 991 GT3R looked battered and bruised and the steering had been off-centre since the accident, but none of that was going to stop Arnold from trying. Frikadelli Racing took up the challenge and went on to win the 60. ADAC ACAS H&R-Cup at the Nürburgring.
“Yesterday was the first time after the ‘24 Hours’ that I was back in the Porsche,” says Lance David Arnold.
“The confidence was there after the second lap. As a driver it’s important to me to have the speed.
“This morning in qualifying we had a little issue—we had to bring the car back to the pits to repair it and it was really tight. In the end we made it: it was 25 seconds until the light at the end of the pits went red—which is very tight. The steering was slightly to the right, but the car was fine.”
A bare piece of carbon as a result of the repair distinguished the number 31 Porsche from its sister car driven by Alexander Müller as the two pilots were joined by Frank Stippler in the Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 on their march to the front. The trio breached the top 3 within laps after the start and continued to trade places until the first round of pitstops. Where the others gradually lost sight of the leading Wochenspiegel Team Monschau Ferrari 488 GT3, Arnold and his co-driver Felipe Fernández Laser continued their early-race form in the Dunlop-shod Porsche and took the lead with half an hour to go.
“We went all-in, all the time,” Arnold continues.
“I did the start from eleventh place on the grid and brought the car back for the first pitstop in fourth or fifth. We knew that on the soft tyres we’d have the speed. In combination with the KW suspension it’s working very well.
“It was a quick race: 8:03, 8:04, such lap times. The key was to stay safe and not make contact during the race, we had to try and be consistent. In the end, Georg was in the car and off course he’s a bit off the pace which was good for us.”
When Laser brought the car over the finish line for the final time it marked Frikadelli’s long-awaited sixth victory as well as the Pro car’s first win since it made its debut one year ago.
“I’m so happy—for myself, sure—but also for the team. After the team spirit we showed in the 24-hour race and those special moments, and the great work of the mechanics between qualifying and the race to bring the car back into the race—it’s great for the whole crew and especially for Klaus Abbelen and Sabine Schmitz, it makes me happy.
“The plan was to win this season. Klaus rebuilt the whole team for this season and got the support of Porsche, so for sure we are aiming for the win this year. No one is really talking about it, but we’re trying. It wasn’t all that easy before the 24 Hours, but there we saw that in dry conditions we are there regarding the speed. And then the race after the 24 Hours, we won. It was perfect.”
The first step of Abbelen to bring his team back to fighting strength has been taken, but without the works teams at VLN3, there’s still one unanswered question: can Frikadelli Racing bring the fight to the factory teams?
“This wasn’t the big competition as compared to the 24-hour race or Qualification Race, that is true, but when you look at the lap times, it was still a fast race. I don’t know what can be possible when all the Michelin teams are here.
“It’s hard to say if we can win again—we’re certainly fighting for the podium, that must be the goal for every race. And hopefully take another win.”