Porsche returned to its winning ways at the Nürburgring with victory in the third race of the 2019 VLN season. In a race scourged by rain, hail showers and changing track conditions, Manthey Racing Porsche 991.2 GT3R drivers Nick Tandy and Richard Lietz kept their cool and took home a commanding win in the 61. ADAC ACAS H&R-Cup.
The foundation for the number 912 Porsche’s win was laid in the first hour of the race. Starting the race for the 61. ADAC ACAS H&R-Cup at the rainy Nürburgring, polesitter Kévin Estre in the number 911 Manthey Racing Porsche 991.2 GT3R made the costly mistake of shooting off to the green earlier than anyone expected, earning the number 912’s sister car a stop-and-go penalty.
Nick Tandy, however, wasn’t going to wait for Estre to take his penalty and going into the third lap he began to put the pressure on, taking over the lead after a short but fierce fight.
While Estre made his quick visit to the penalty box, rain and hail arrived. Before long the course turned into an ocean. Numerous cars were caught out as they aquaplaned off the track and smashed into the walls at the Hohenrain-Schikane, the first turn and elsewhere around the 24 kilometer race track.
But not Tandy. The Brit pushed on and when the darkest clouds had passed, the number 912 Porsche found itself in a comfortable lead of 1 minute over second-placed Sheldon van der Linde in the number 42 Schnitzer Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 – the South African himself a leader of a 5-car pack.
Amongst the pursuers in the Van der Linde-led group was Dennis Olsen, piloting the number 12 Manthey Racing customer Porsche 991 GT3R owned by co-driver Otto Klohs. Like the others, the young Norwegian had backed off in the midst of the storm. As the rain slowly receded, he broke away from the group and began lapping quicker and quicker even overtaking Estre after seven laps.
Helped by a blistering pace and a shorter pitstop, Olsen grabbed the lead going into the final hour. Knowing Olsen would have to come in for a final pitstop to hand over the car to Klohs and not wanting to risk anything in a direct fight with his team-mate, Lietz sat back and let Olsen guide him through the traffic on the wet and daunting Nordschleife.
At the start of lap 24, with the race time nearly running out, Olsen finally steered his Porsche into the pits. Lietz took back the lead to race towards the chequered flag. The Austrian crossed the finish line with a comfortable margin of over a minute to second place.
With Olsen’s job done, Klohs got in for an exciting formality lap to the finish. For the first time today a dry line appeared which allowed Manthey to send Klohs out on slicks. The gentleman driver couldn’t keep Porsche works driver Estre behind him, but did have just enough of a gap – and just enough luck with Code 60s – to keep number 14 Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3 driver Dirk Müller behind to claim the final step on the podium.
As well as the day began, as disappointingly it ended for Manthey’s number 911 crew. Although Estre recovered from the earlier stop-and-go penalty to bring ‘Grello’ over the finish in second place, it wasn’t to be a Manthey 1-2-3. At the end of Michael Christensen’s stint, the team mistakenly refueled 2.37 liters over the maximum allowed 107 liters. The time-penalty served threw the Porsche back to fourth place and gave second place back to Klohs and Olsen, while Black Falcon with its Mercedes-AMG GT3 driven by Adam Christodoulou, Maro Engel, Manuel Metzger and Dirk Müller moved into third place on the scoring board.
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