➤ The second VLN race of 2019 was red-flagged after just one lap due to a snow storm. Near-freezing temperatures meant the track could not dry up sufficiently when the sun returned and with another snowstorm on the way, the 44. DMV 4-Stunden-Rennen was cancelled altogether. This was the second in as many races to be affected by weather, as the season-opener had already been shortened due to a fog delay.
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➤ At the time of the red flag Martin Tomczyk in the BMW Team Schnitzer BMW M6 GT3 was leading the race. Tomczyk started from fourth place but by the time the field arrived at Eiskurve on the opening lap he had already overtaken Jens Klingmann for the lead.
➤ At 8 o’clock in the morning, 20 minutes before qualifying was scheduled to start, the thermometer was still pointing at 0 degrees Celsius.
➤ Audi and Lamborghini were most affected by pre-race Balance of Performance adjustments as both cars had significant weight added (15 and 10 kilogram respectively). Despite the BoP downgrade between VLN1 and 2, Audi still managed to grab pole position. Christopher Mies set a time of 8:00.076 early on in the session. The German, co-driving the Audi Sport Team Land R8 LMS GT3 with René Rast, could not maintain the lead at the start as he struggled for grip.
➤ A snow flurry between qualifying and the race pushed the start back to 12:15 to allow for an extra inspection lap at 11:30 when normally the formation lap is scheduled to start.
➤ Watch Bradley Philpot‘s video report from VLN2.
VIDEO: B.TV Episode 2
➤ Nürburgring veteran Christian Menzel called it a day before the race even began. The KCMG Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 pilot brought the car into the pits after the formation lap reporting treacherous track condition: “We didn’t want to race, this is just a test,” the normally fearless Menzel said on TV. “Before the race we decided that if the conditions get tricky in any kind, we won’t drive or continue later if the conditions improve again. The whole problem is: You can’t see if the track is dry or wet. The track looks good, but it isn’t. You’re driving the formation lap and try to brake when you suddenly notice it’s extremely slippery. You can’t see if the track has grip or not, and that was only during the formation lap.” Team-mate Philipp Wlazik did start the race in the sister car but entered the pits at the end of the first lap.
➤ Lance David Arnold was another driver to voluntarily retire due to the weather, steering his HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 into the pits as well. Team-manager Günter Aberer explained on TV: “Our weather forecast said after 12:20 there will be really heavy snowfall and Lance then called us saying that the snow is getting worse. We decided for safety reasons to go into pit lane and now you see why. Later the red flag was shown, but I believe that should have happened earlier and perhaps they should have started as a wet race. But right now it’s undriveable and that’s why we came in. We didn’t want to take any risk.“
➤ Several accidents did indeed occur during the short-lived race. Amongst the GT3s that sustained damage were the IronForce Racing Porsche 991.2 GT3R (crash at Adenauer Forst), number 30 Frikadelli Racing Porsche 991 GT3R (crash at Mutkurve), number 2 GetSpeed Performance Mercedes-AMG GT3 (low-speed spin at Lauda Links), and both the number 35 and 36 Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M6 GT3s.
➤ Ride into the snow storm with BMW Team Schnitzer BMW M6 GT3 driver Martin Tomczyk as he works his way from fourth to first on the opening lap. Video by VLN-Fanpage.
➤ A view from further down the field. Onboard with Adrenalin Motorsport BMW M240i Racing Cup driver Francesco Merlini.
➤ Although Falken Motorsports didn’t race its Porsche 991.2 GT3R — the result of a busy race weekend worldwide for Porsche — the car did make an appearance during the test session on Friday as part of the ongoing preparation for the Nürburgring 24 Hours. Five-time Nürburgring 24 Hours winner Timo Bernhard got behind the wheel of the 2019-spec Porsche to provide feedback to the Schnabl Engineering-run team.
➤ Black Falcon entered a single Mercedes-AMG GT3 for drivers Adam Christodoulou, Dominik Baumann and Thomas Jäger as the other GT3s were over in Monza for the Blancpain GT race. The AMG was entered in the SPX class to test unhomologated parts.
➤ Aston Martin has presented its Nürburgring 24 Hours squad this week. Nürburgring-based AMR Performance Centre will be running a pair of Aston Martin Vantage GT4s in SP10/GT4 and SP8T. The SP10/GT4-classed Vantage will be piloted by 2015 British GT4 champions Jamie Chadwick and Ross Gunn, Peter Cate and Alex Brundle, while Darren Turner, Chris Goodwin, Chris Harris and Christian Gebhardt take on the Eifel classic in the SP8T class.
➤ Jordan Tresson got a late call-up on Thursday before the race to drive the number 34 Walkenhorst BMW M6 GT3, replacing fellow GT Academy graduate Lucas Ordóñez in the PlayStation-sponsored car. The Frenchman has been a regular at Walkenhorst since 2016 and will race the Nürburgring 24 Hours and Qualifying Race on the team’s number 35 Total-branded BMW. Ordóñez rejoins the PlayStation BMW with Christian Krognes and David Pittard at VLN3 to prepare for the Nürburgring 24 Hours.
VIDEO: Interview Jordan Tresson
➤ Mercedes-AMG announced a total of 18 drivers for its 2019 campaigns that include the Nürburgring 24 Hours, Blancpain GT championships, Intercontinental GT Challenge, IMSA, ADAC GT Masters and the FIA GT World Cup. Dominik Baumann, Maximilian Buhk, Yelmer Buurman, Adam Christodoulou, Maro Engel, Maximilian Götz, Christian Hohenadel, Thomas Jäger, Raffaele Marciello, Edoardo Mortara, Dirk Müller, Gary Paffett, Jan Seyffarth, Tristan Vautier and Renger van der Zande have all been retained, while Lance David Arnold is back with the brand from Stuttgart after leaving for Bentley in 2015. Rising stars Luca Stolz and Gabriele Piana are newcomers on the roster, having proven their worth in VLN and Blancpain GT racing the Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3.
➤ The next round in the VLN championship will be held on 27 April with the. This is the last VLN race until July with the Nürburgring 24 Hours and the Qualification Race in the months between.
Additional reporting by JP Wagner.