After 7 years of trying, Sven Müller won his first VLN Nürburgring Endurance Series (NLS) race. In the Rowe 6 Stunden ADAC Ruhr-Pokal-Rennen, the German turned a strong performance into victory with the #3 Falken Motorsports Porsche 991.2 GT3R.
Together with GT3 debutant Joel Eriksson, Müller raced to first place in a race that saw the Porsche have excellent pace but also receive a good dose of luck when the first three cars crashed at Adenauer Forst.
“I don’t know how many years I have been waiting for it – since 2015 I tried, today was the first time I was on top of the podium,” Sven Müller reflects on NLS5.
“Together with Falken, it’s a big success. Also, to be driving with my new teammate Joel, it was his first time here with a GT3 car. Three years ago, he was in a Cayman, so his progress today was massive, was really good. He was up to speed in the second stint. On Friday I did some coaching with him to really improve everything.
“Today, the team nailed everything: the tyres were really good from the first to the last lap of the stint, really consistent. We also had a lot of luck because in my opening stint I started from eighth, went up to P2, and I touched the barrier once or twice. You have to take some risks in overtaking and if you don’t want to lose too much time you brake later to pass a car quicker. In the big jump in Pflanzgarten II he moved to the right and I lost the car a bit and were lucky to hit the barrier with the side so nothing happened – only the side mirror is somewhere in the forest, maybe we can find it later!
“We had good luck today and the team also… This year was not easy for us, we had some bad luck and crashes in the first two races, and now we are finally on the top of the podium. It’s a great success for Falken, I’m really happy for the guys and the team, the mechanics, and everyone involved.”
While the first four cars all fell victim to a cooling liquid spill at Adenauer Forst, with the three leading cars either retiring with sustained damage or dropping down the order, the #3 Falken Motorsports stayed – mostly – out of trouble and grabbed the lead on the following lap.
Describing that eerie moment at Adenauer Forst, Müller admits it was a handful for himself as well.
“I arrived at Adenauer Forst and had some oversteer, some big moment. I saw two cars in the barrier and one had a slow puncture, so I thought, OK, I’ll slow down a bit. It saved me for sure, if you arrive at full speed and don’t see anything, you crash for sure.”
Müller agrees that despite this lucky break, the speed was there from the get-go.
“In the opening stint you saw we could really catch up to the front, catch up with first and second place. Then at the end we let the sister car pass because it seemed they were a little bit quicker at one point, but at the end they weren’t. So, we were one of the quickest cars and managed to make almost zero mistakes, that is the key to success.”
From there on, the Schnabl Engineering-run team built a gap big enough to cruise home on the final lap – however, it didn’t, and instead Müller kept going to cross the final line with 40 seconds to go for another lap around the Nordschleife.
“You are always pushing – it is such a nice track and you need to enjoy it – so you push for sure,” the Porsche works driver explains.
“The team told me we had a one-and-a-half-minute gap to second, so you take less risk in overtaking in traffic, that makes the whole race saver.”
After the summer holidays, NLS returns with its first 12-hour race. Falken Motorsports will be there for it, especially with an eye on next year’s tyre regulations.
“Next year we’ll have a new regulation that says we need to double stint the tyres. We will take the time now to develop tyres for next year to double stint them and the Friday test is always really helpful because you have the competition there. For sure we want to compete in the next race and see if we can repeat our victory, let’s see!”
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