Falken Motorsports’ Stef Dusseldorp came close to victory in the 41. RCM DMV Grenzlandrennen—but whatever he tried, it just wasn’t enough for the BMW M6 GT3 driver to defeat his Falken Motorsports Porsche 991 GT3R team-mates. Bad luck with yellow flags had cost the team valuable time, time Dusseldorp and co-driver Alexandre Imperatori were unable to regain. In the end the Dutchman settled for second place and a back-to-back podium finish.
“This of course is a fantastic result for the team,” Stef Dusseldorp says.
“A one-two finish and the first victory for the Falken Porsche, that’s amazing.
“I do feel like there was more than second place in it for us today. We were fast and tried something different with the tactics and that didn’t bring us what we had hoped for. But, then again, second place and so close to the winner, that’s nothing to be ashamed of. I have a bit mixed feeling about it.”
The race began promising for Falken’s BMW squad: at the start Alexandre Imperatori immediately slotted into second place behind the Falken Porsche sister car of Klaus Bachler.
“Alex did the start and I got in for the second stint,” Dusseldorp continues.
“I quickly got to the back of Martin Ragginger in the Porsche and after some interesting Code 60s and 120 kilometre per hour zones with very slow cars in front of us, we lost a lot of our advantage to the Audi. When you’re fighting against the Audi on the long straight, it’s unstoppable. I think, if you look at the whole lap, we’re all equally fast, but you need to be able to overtake and those Audis are easily able to do that on the straight while our BMW isn’t—that’s disappointing.”
Hope to win was still alive when the halfway mark was reached. It was there, at the start of the penultimate stint, that everything changed: Imperatori, going at it on his first lap out of the pits, got caught out by double yellow flags at the fast Döttinger Höhe straight, forcing him to slow down to 120 kilometre per hour and watch how the the Porsche exited the pits seconds in front of him. Although the Swiss managed to take the lead a few laps later, Bachler controlled the gap and profited from a later and therefor shorter final pitstop. Dusseldorp’s push for the lead in the last hour was to no avail: he crossed the finish line close behind the Falken Porsche.
Next race sees Dusseldorp make his final appearance at the Nordschleife in 2018. It’s his last chance this season to repeat his sole VLN victory.
“VLN7 is my last race this season, I’m driving together with Dumbreck.
“Last race we were third, today second, so I hope we go one step higher and win next time. It was very special last year to take the win, and now the Porsche guys have done it as well. Last race was the first time we qualified under 8 minutes and today the Porsche did the quickest race lap time in VLN—it’s going well with the records.”