From July through the start of September, VLN has been Black Falcon territory. For three races in a row the #6 Black Falcon Team AutoArena Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 reigned supreme at the Nürburgring, scoring a hattrick. While the driver line-up changed throughout the months, there was one constant: Patrick Assenheimer.
The 27-year-old again showed his racing prowess in the 42. RCM DMV Grenzlandrennen as he took on the first two stints where he left Pro drivers such as Frank Stippler and Fabian Schiller far behind in the daunting weather condition the Eifel offered that day. When co-driver Manuel Metzger took over for the final two stints, the Mercedes-AMG GT3 had just inherited the lead from the crashed #911 Manthey Racing Porsche 991.2 GT3R and enjoyed a gap to second place of minutes.
“I didn’t expect this,” Patrick Assenheimer said. “We know that we have a strong line-up, a strong team and a strong car, but you never know here at the Green Hell – you saw today what it means! It’s really nice when you survive a race like this and win.
“The plan was for me to do a double stint and hopefully extend the stint for as long as possible on the rain tyres. Manuel had to drive on the Porsche [991 GT3 Cup MR] which he can drive longer than the GT3. Part of the plan was for Manuel to also win on the Porsche, but that didn’t work out.
“It was really important [to overtake Frank Stippler in the #5 Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3]. The strategy from the team’s side was perfect. They told me before the start that we’d maybe have problems during the first two laps due to the low tyre pressure, but we were thinking, hoping, that it’ll get dry and we could extend the stint on the rain tyres. I indeed really had problems during the first lap and a half, but then the pressure came up and the tyre was there. I first caught Schiller and then Stippler.
“Frank Stippler is one of the fastest drivers here; like Manuel on the Mercedes, he is one of the fastest on the Audi. Also, Kévin Estre on the Porsche was amazing, he was the fastest of all of us. If he hadn’t crashed, they probably would’ve won – although we don’t know what his teammates would’ve done. Either way, his performance was the fastest of us.”
The triple won’t become a quadruple. Come VLN7, Assenheimer will be in Barcelona for the Blancpain GT Endurance Cup season finale where the driver from the German town of Heilbronn will be defending his second place in the Silver Cup.
“[At the start of the season] the plan was for Manuel and me to race most of the races together. You hope to maybe win a race or go to the podium a few times, but you can’t plan for it here. It’s really nice to win three races!
“It’s a shame we can’t try to win the fourth race in a row because we’ll be at the Blancpain GT Endurance Cup in Barcelona during VLN7. But we’ll try it at VLN8 and 9!”