The Rowe 6 Stunden ADAC Ruhr-Pokal-Rennen saw the #911 Manthey Racing Porsche 991.2 GT3R of Michael Christensen and Kévin Estre take victory for the second time this season having last won at NLS2. It was also the third win of the season for ‘Grello’ following the car’s victory in the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring.
At the start both of the front row starting Falken Motorsport Porsches lost out early on to the #24 Lionspeed by Car Collection Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT3 with Mattia Drudi behind the wheel, the Italian Audi works driver getting past pole sitter Alessio Picariello in the Mercedes-Arena with Estre taking advantage to take second place from the Belgian in the Porsche. Moritz Kranz (#9 GetSpeed Mercedes-AMG GT3) and David Pittard (#34 Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M6 GT3) pushed the turquoise Porsches even further down the order as they grabbed respectively positions three and four.
At the end of the lap Estre lost a couple of places following a touch from Pittard who got caught out by the heavy braking for a Code 60 zone at Döttinger Höhe. Estre fought back and had regained the places almost immediately whilst tyre damage – possibly caused by debris on the long Döttinger straight – forced Pittard to pit and drop out of the fight for the lead.
Estre took the lead from Drudi on lap 3 and never looked back, controlling the race to the end as both he and co-driver Michael Christensen extended their lead bit by bit over the six hours.
Grello crossed the finish line after 40 laps 19.6 seconds ahead of Neil Verhagen in the #44 BMW Junior Team RMG BMW M6 GT3. Like the green-yellow Porsche, the two-time race winners this season got the to fore in the first stints. A fierce three-way battle between Neil Verhagen, Dennis Olsen in the #4 Falken Motorsports Porsche 991.2 GT3R and Kelvin van der Linde – making his first appearance alongside veteran-junior duo Frank Stippler and Vincent Kolb in the #5 Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 – saw the American slip through into fourth shortly before the pitstops, after which Dan Harper quickly passed Patrick Kolb (Lionspeed Audi) and Janine Shoffner (GetSpeed Mercedes) to settle into third place. A different pitstop strategy for the #4 Falken Porsche gave the youngsters – the trio completed by Max Hesse – second place going into the third hour.
Holding on to until the finish, the RMG team finished second in a sea of Porsches.
Third and fourth place went to Falken Motorsports who had claimed the front two starting positions in the final minutes of qualifying but couldn’t hold on to the advantage in the race. The #4 Falken Motorsports Porsche 991.2 GT3R of Martin Ragginger and Alessio Picariello which started from pole, finished in third place ahead of the #3 sister car piloted by Dennis Olsen and Tobias Müller. Although Olsen led the second hour of the race, this was solely the result of an earlier and therefore shorter first pitstop.
Dinamic Motorsport rounded out the top 5 with their #38 Porsche 991.2 GT3R driven by Romain Dumas and Matteo Cairoli coming home 3 minutes 30 seconds behind the leaders. In just their second race at the Nordschleife, the Italian squad slowly move up through the field from nineteenth on the grid and finish a commendable fifth place.
The top 10 was rounded out by the #35 Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 (Jörg Müller/Mario von Bohlen/Thomas Neubauer/Dennis Fetzer), #24 Lionspeed by Car Collection Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT3 (Lorenzo Rocco/Patrick Kolb/Mattia Drudi), #6 Haupt Racing Team Bilstein Mercedes-AMG GT3 (Hubert Haupt/Patrick Assenheimer/Manuel Metzger), #30 Frikadelli Racing Porsche 991.2 GT3R (Klaus Abbelen/Felipe Fernández Laser/Axcil Jefferies) and #350 Black Falcon Team Textar Porsche 911 GT3 Cup MR (Paul Harkema/Niels Langeveld).
BMW Motorsport, meanwhile, debuted its brand new BMW M4 GT3. Despite all the disadvantages a GT3 prototype entered in the SPX class has to deal with such as starting from the back of the first starting group and additional pitstop time, Philipp Eng and Augusto Farfus were on their way to a promising tenth place finish after a trouble-free day. However, with one lap to go, the car was planned to run out of fuel and ultimately not classified.
Phoenix Racing’s early front-running pace remained unrewarded when Frank Stippler got rear-ended under braking for a Code 60 zone at Döttinger Höhe, heavily damaging the #5 Audi and ending its race.
The penultimate round of the 2021 season takes place on 25 September with the 53rd running of the ADAC Barbarossapreis.
Miguel Bosch contributed to this report.
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