Five races, five winners – ROWE RACING triumphing

That was a brilliant start of the second half of the season, five classified races with five different winners. The 2015 season of the VLN endurance racing championship Nürburgring continues to provide excitement at its best. At the 38th RCM DMV Grenzlandrennen, Klaus Graf and Christian Hohenadel took the chequered flag with their Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 of ROWE RACING as the winners at the end of the 4:03:09.479 hours race time. At the four previous races, the winning cars were an Audi R8 LMS, a Porsche 911 GT3 R, a BMW Z4 GT4 and a Ford GT respectively. This was the eleventh VLN win since 2010 for the spectacular gullwing Mercedes-Benz. And whilst Hohenadel celebrated his fourth triumph, Graf was delighted about making his debut on top of the VLN podium. The Team Black Flacon made the 1-2-win of the cars with the star all perfect at this race weekend in bright sunshine. Hubert Haupt, Adam Christodoulou and Andreas Simonsen crossed the finish line in second place with a gap of 1:11.682 minutes. Into third place finished Klaus Abbelen, Sabine Schmitz and Patrick Huisman in their Porsche 911 GT3 R of Frikadelli-Racing. A 30 minutes summary of the sixth VLN race will be shown in channel Sport 1 on 29th August at 16h25.

“I am absolutely delighted about my first VLN win”, said Graf after the race. The experienced long distance race driver had already caught a lot of attention in the morning during the timed practice session when he completed the fastest lap with 8:02.804 minutes and gained pole position for ROWE RACING. His time was 93 hundredth of a second faster than Bernd Schneider who had held the record so far in the current year with his time set at the fourth VLN round and at the first participation of the SLS successor Mercedes-AMG GT3. “Our victory is an incredible success for the ROWE team considering that we’ve had quite a lot of bad luck this year, in particular at the Spa-Francorchamps 24h race where the win had been so close. Now we are all the more looking forward to the 6h race in two weeks’ time.” The basis for the success was in particular the driver team itself as they were convincing with constant fast lap times.

In the very first part of the race, the Black-Falcon-Team was in the lead but then lost valuable time after their first pit stop. “We lost about one minute due to some sections under yellow flags”, said former DTM driver Haupt. “We were not able to make up this time over the distance.” Haupt who lives in Munich also then had to experience a moment of shock in the last lap. “There was an accident right in front of me but fortunately I managed to pass it without being involved.”

Even though they did not gain their result on the podium under their own power as the previously third-placed Falken-Porsche suffered a tyre damage in the last lap, the Frikadelli team was pretty much excited. “I passed the nine-eleven in the Wippermann section”, said Schmitz. “I am definitely sorry for the Falken team, but we are of course very happy about our own success. That was the maximum we were able to achieve today, the competition is simply too strong.”

The Falken-Porsche driven by Martin Ragginger and Alexandre Imperatori finally finished in fourth position ahead of the fast Manthey-Porsche with drivers Christoph Breuer, Richard Lietz and Michael Christensen. The fastest BMW Z4 GT3 was driven by Michela Cerruti, Felipe Fernández Laser and Jesse Krohn, finishing sixth. Dennis and Marc Busch together with Marc Basseng shared the cockpit in the best-placed Audi R8 LMS ultra.

The competition in many classes was extremely close at the 38th RCM DMV Grenzlandrennen. The advance of the Porsche Cayman S of Mathol Racing ahead of the second-placed nine-eleven of the team aesthetic racing in class V6 for example was only 3.326 seconds. The situation in class V3 was similar where the Peugeot 306 S16 entered by Bonk-Motorsport finished only 5.035 seconds ahead of its rivals. The two ex-champions Heinz-Otto and Jürgen Fritzsche together with Hannu Luostarinen, too, had no chance to take their lead easy. The driver trio of the team TI-Tarvike Racing took the chequered flag with a gap of 6.229 seconds ahead of their cup colleagues of Lubner-Motorsport. So Heinz-Otto Fritzsche scored his 80th class win and caught up with Andreas Schall, a VLN institution in the ranking since 1990. And his son Ralf, who is leading the statistics, now himself has an advance of only two class wins.

With their fifth victory of the Renault Clio in class SP3, Dirk and Tim Groneck were able to defend their lead in the championship. Into second position are still Arne Hoffmeister and Fabian Wrabetz who celebrated another win in the TMG GT86 Cup. After five classified rounds, Stefan van Campenhoudt from the Netherlands is in third place and in the lead of the VLN Production Car Trophy.

The highlight of the season in the VLN endurance racing championship Nürburgring will now take place on 5th September with the Opel 6h ADAC Ruhr-Pokal-Rennen. The race organised by the MSC Ruhrblitz Bochum is the only race in the calendar of this unique racing series at the Nordschleife to run over a six hours’ duration. It thus provides 50 percent more exciting motorsport at the ‘Green Hell’ both for drivers and fans.