Walkenhorst Motorsport returned to the podium in VLN4. Leading the charge to third place was Christian Krognes, bringing the fight to the leading Mercedes-AMG GT3s in the final hour of the 50. Adenauer ADAC Rundstrecken-Trophy but just coming short of the win.
Taking over the #34 Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 from David Pittard and Jody Fannin for the final 10 laps, Krognes immediately went on the attack. Philip Ellis in the GetSpeed Mercedes-AMG GT3 and the Manuel Metzger-driven Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3 soon found themselves having to contend with the PlayStation BMW as well.
“The last stint was very entertaining,” Christian Krognes said. “I wasn’t expecting to have such a close fight at this race, to be honest, but we were in a position to attack after David and Jody finished their stints. David was very quick in the beginning and also Jody could keep us close to the top guys.
“I was simply given the message to push whenever I could and the guys in front were visible to me already the first time I entered Döttinger Höhe. I felt like I was eking into them just bit by bit. The car felt nice to drive anyway.
“As I saw them come closer and closer I kept pushing and as soon as I caught up to them I realised that we don’t have much straight-line pace in the M6 at the moment. To attack them was very, very hard and I had to try and force them into making a mistake. That was tough with these guys because they know what they are doing so I was just waiting for them to of fight it out.
“I knew Manuel wanted to attack Philip at some point so I was hoping that I could take advantage of that and that kind of worked out, although a little bit later than I thought it would. Philip was attacking Manuel back again after a couple of laps after he had been passed, so I managed to grab that position and followed Manuel into my last pitstop. I was hoping to get close and maybe make a pass at Döttinger Höhe just to the get that good feeling of a pass but just didn’t managed to do it.”
An extended final pitstop going into the penultimate lap to check for possible damage on the PlayStation car—the same car entered for the Spa 24 Hours in two weeks—delayed Krognes for 12 seconds, evaporating any hopes of finishing ahead of Ellis.
Winning, at any rate, wasn’t in the cards, Krognes recons.
“I don’t think it was our race to win, I think the winning car would have won anyway with the strategy advantage that they had over Philip Ellis in the GetSpeed car and myself.
“I would love to have been two steps higher, but today was something we’ll have to be happy with as a team.”
As has been often the case this year, Walkenhorst’s Yokohama tyres again played a pivotal role.
“It was a good run: the Yokahama tyres are amazing, they really make a difference for us and I believe all the work they did together with Walkenhorst over the winter is really paying off now, and similarly it’s quite visible for the guys on the outside as well.
“I really enjoy driving a tyre that feels like we have an advantage over the Michelin guys at the moment. Especially in terms of consistency like the last couple of laps are really good with the Yokahamas, we’ve found the sweet spot there together with a long range of testing of set-ups in the car.
“That’s been very enjoyable, I really enjoy the car on the Nordschleife these days. I’m looking forward to get in the car again at the next VLN.”