➤ After two earlier tries, for the first time in 2019 a VLN race ran its full 4-hour distance. Although the 61. ADAC ACAS H&R-Cup was heavily affected by rain and filled with incident and accident, 24 laps were completed on Saturday afternoon.
➤ Click HERE to read the VLN3 race report.
➤ Click HERE for our photo gallery.
➤ Manthey Racing scored a 1-2 victory, with the #912 Porsche 991.2 GT3R piloted by Nick Tandy and Richard Lietz taking the win. Otto Klohs and Dennis Olsen drove the first-generation #12 Porsche 991 GT3R to second place. It was the first podium finish for the Klohs-owned Porsche since 2017.
➤ The race started at 12:20 CET after a delay of 20 minutes to give the teams a chance to change to rain tyres.
➤ Half an hour into the race a hail storm hit the race track. At several places, cars went off and crashed, most notably at the Grand Prix course and in Tiergarten and the Hohenrain-Schikane. Amongst the victims were all three BMW M6 GT3s from Walkenhorst Motorsport (David Pittard, Immanuel Vinke, Hunter Abbott), the #139 Racing one Ferrari 458 (Stephan Köhler), #31 Frikadelli Racing Porsche 991.2 GT3R (Sven Müller), #2 GetSpeed Performance Mercedes-AMG GT3 (Renger van der Zande) and #7 Konrad Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3 (Michele Di Martino). Luca Stolz in the #16 Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3 was one of the lucky few. The German aquaplaned into the gravel trap at the first turn but managed to continue.
➤ Another victim of the rain was Sheldon van der Linde. Approaching the one-hour mark the South African was in second place when he went off track at the Grand Prix course and clipped the wall. The BMW Team Schnitzer M6 GT3 could continue but lost a heap of places, dropping back to ninth. Van der Linde and team-mate Nick Yelloly, in his first race with a GT3 at the Nürburgring, recovered to finish fifth.
➤ While heavy rain and hail was coming down, Nick Tandy kept his cool. “Anything can happen without any warning, at any time,” Tandy described his drive through the rain. “Your level of concentration just has to be so much higher than normal, at all times. This is what experience and practice brings to you.” Click HERE to read the full interview.
➤ The slow pace of the race caused by rain and many Code 60 zones gave teams the unusual option of a two-stop strategy. For the #912 Manthey Porsche with its two drivers it was the winning strategy, whereas the #14 Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3 with four drivers was forced into a three-stopper.
➤ Dennis Olsen took on a monster triple stint of 3 hours and 58 minutes in the #12 Manthey Racing Porsche 991 GT3R, just under 2 minutes shy of the maximum allowed driving time of 4 hours.
➤ Co-driver Otto Klohs completed only a single lap. The gentleman driver was content to watch Dennis Olsen fight with the Porsche works drivers before getting in for the final lap: “It was a very difficult lap, but I was absolutely convinced to catch the podium,” Klohs said. “We changed from rain tyres to slicks. With more speed on the slicks, three Code 60s and two yellow flags, I could keep the gap to the #14 Mercedes with Dirk Müller and stay on the podium.” Click HERE to read the full interview.
➤ For Nick Tandy this was his first VLN victory. Lietz took his third win in the championship and his fourth at the Nordschleife, having also won the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring last year together with Tandy. The Austrian’s first victory came in 2011 when he celebrated the first-ever VLN win for a hybrid car with the Manthey Racing Porsche 997 GT3R Hybrid.
➤ Manthey Racing made use of its all but certain race win by trying out a different tyre pressure for its rain tyres: “We knew it was going to dry up, so we played with the tyre pressure to learn something to survive longer in the dry situation and therefore it was difficult to get the tyres to work in the beginning,” said Richard Lietz. “When they started to work, they lasted longer in the dry situation.” Click HERE to read the full interview.
➤ Manthey’s #911 Porsche 991.2 GT3R of Kévin Estre and Michael Christensen initially finished second. However, a post-race time-penalty was applied for refueling over the maximum permitted 107 litres for the Porsche 991.2 GT3R model. 109.37 litres were added during the team’s second-to-last pitstop earning the car a total of 15 penalty seconds – 5 seconds for every litre too many. This moved the #12 Porsche and the #14 Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Maro Engel, Manuel Metzger, Adam Christodoulou and Dirk Müller up to respectively second and third. Both the new and old model Porsches carry fuel tanks with a capacity of 110 litre to allow for the expansion of gasoline due to higher temperatures.
➤ This wasn’t the only penalty the #911 Manthey Porsche was hit with during the weekend: A jump start already cost Kévin Estre a stop-and-go penalty early on in the race. The Frenchman started the race from pole position after setting the fastest lap (8:05.344) in the qualifying session.
➤ Despite a dominating performance from Porsche, Dennis Olsen doesn’t count himself lucky regarding the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring just yet: “Today it was all about tactics and keeping your head cool, trying to manage the situation as well as possible,” Olsen said. “It had nothing to do with the performance of the car, really, it was about adapting to the situation.” Click HERE to read the full interview.
➤ Watch Nett Motorsport Peugeot 308 Racing Cup TCR driver Bradley Philpot‘s video report from VLN3.
➤ Manuel Metzger returned to racing after sitting out the first two races with a broken leg. “On Friday I still wasn’t 100-percent sure if everything with my leg would be fine, if I could brake properly, how the G-forces in the corners would be,” said Metzger. “But I found out quite quickly that there’s no pain during braking and the cornering was also fine in the beginning. It’s just that with more laps the one muscle on the outside of my leg that’s still a bit sore started to give up a bit. But this wasn’t an issue, it was just a matter of getting used to it.” The Black Falcon and AMG works driver took third place both outright (#14 Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3) and in the SP7 class (#57 Black Falcon Porsche 991 GT3 Cup MR, 21st overall). For good measure, Metzger also set the quickest lap time in the SP7 class and fourth fastest overall on the final lap. Click HERE to read the full interview.
➤ Ride onboard with Manuel Metzger in the #57 Black Falcon Porsche 991 GT3 Cup MR during the last lap of the race as he brings the fight to the #30 Frikadelli Racing Porsche 991 GT3R driven by Klaus Abbelen on the drying track.
➤ Also back at the Nürburgring for the first time this year was Matias Henkola. It was the Finn’s first race since the VLN 6-hour race in August 2018 and his first with the Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo: “Even though the car looks the same as last year’s, it’s a brand-new car,” Henkola said. “The change from the old one to this one was surprisingly big: The old car was quite snappy and nervous and this one feels like a proper ‘Nordschleife GT3’. I hope I’ll have time to do more than just a few races this year.” The last-minute call from Konrad Motorsport to race the Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo came on Thursday. Henkola reunited with long-time co-driver Michele Di Martino but didn’t get to turn a single race lap as the car was one of many to crash in the hailstorm on the fourth lap. Alongside one or more VLN outings later this year, Henkola is also returning to his rally roots in the Finnish national championship with a private-built Mini R4 EVO.
➤ The exit of Wochenspiegel Team Monschau from VLN is slowly turning out to have been a blessing in disguise for Nico Menzel. The local racer returned for the third race weekend with Mühlner Motorsport in the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 CS – winning the Cayman Trophy class with co-driver Moritz Kranz with a margin of nearly 3 minutes and finishing best non-GT3 in 12th place outright. Additionally, the younger Menzel joins his father Christian at KCMG for the Nürburgring 24 Hours. In preparation for the Eifel classic, Nico Menzel raced the Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 with Christer Jöns and Matthieu Vaxivière to 22nd place in VLN3. The team will return for the Nürburgring 24 Hours Qualification Race.
➤ Moritz Kranz also won the 3-car ‘deep’ Porsche Carrera Cup class driving the #123 Mühlner Motorsport Porsche 991 GT3 Cup with Marcel Hoppe and Jörn Schmidt-Staade. The trio finished 14th place outright, making Kranz both the first and second non-GT3 finisher.
➤ In the VLN championship standings, the lead has gone to #706 Sorg Rennsport BMW 325i (V4 class) drivers Torsten Kratz, Oliver Frisse and Moran Gott. The 24-car strong V4 class was one of the largest of the race. With points for their class victory in VLN1 added to their VLN3 win, the trio now stands atop the standings with 19.53 points while also leading the VLN Produktionswagen-Trophäe for production cars. Yannick Fübrich and David Giessner (#650 Team Adrenalin Motorsport BMW M240i Racing Cup, CUP5 class) trail by 0.1 point, having won their BMW M240i Racing Cup class for the second race in a row.
➤ The #912 Manthey Porsche is the new leader in the ROWE Speed-Trophäe, adding 35 points to its 28 points from VLN1’s second place. The team leads with a total of 63 points, with VLN1 race winner #99 Rowe Racing BMW M6 GT3 10 points behind in second.
➤ The next round in the VLN championship will be held on 13 July. The Adenauer ADAC celebrates half a century of the Rundstrecken-Trophy with the 50. Adenauer ADAC Rundstrecken-Trophy. The next race at the Nürburgring-Nordschleife takes place on 19 May when the Qualification Race for the Nürburgring 24 Hours is held, with the ‘N24’ itself in the weekend of 22-23 June.