Christensen / Estre take fourth Manthey victory in 2017

Manthey Racing celebrates a fourth victory in the current season at the 57th ADAC Reynolds Langstreckenrennen. Michael Christensen and Kévin Ester finished the race in the Porsche 911 GT3 R after 21 laps in first place. For safety reasons, this seventh race of season of the the endurance championship Nurburgring was stopped before the completion of the scheduled race distance. Into second place finished Lance David Arnold, Mario Farnbacher and Daniel Juncadella in the Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Haribo Racing. The top theee were completed by Christian Krognes, Michele Di Martino and Matias Henkola in a BMW M6 GT3 of Walkenhorst Motorsport.

The red flag at the seventh round of the endurance championship at the Nurburgring came out early. At 15:33 hours and 27 minutes before the scheduled race distance of 4 hours had elapsed, Race Direction decided to stop the race for safety reasons. An accident in which 4 cars were involved had happened at the section after the Fuchsrohre. No one of the drivers involved was injured but there was a lot of dirt and debris on the track. The final classification was based on the result after 21 laps.

There was a tough battle about the victory in this seventh VLN race. The Matthey Team completed two short stints, one of those was unscheduled but necessary due to a tyre damage. Shorter minimum stop times at the pit stop were thus applied which, together with the strong performance of Christensen and Ester, were finally decisive. “At the moment of the shopping of the race, we had a comfortable advance so we deserved sour victory. That is fantastic!” said a delighted Christensen.

The Haribo driver trio took benefit from the shopping of the race as Krognes on the Walkenhorst BMW closed up the gap to the Mercedes AMG GT3 running in front lap by lap. “I saw the gap going down and down”, said the Norwegian. “It is difficult to say whether we would have been able to still catch the Mercedes but it all looked very well for us.”

Even though they finally did not succeed in taking the first Mercedes victory in the current season, the drivers of the Haribo team were happy with the race result. “It was fantastic finally to be back again at the Nordschleife”, said Farnbacher who contested his first VLN race in a Mercedes AMG. “The car was really fantastic at this challenging circuit.” Juncadella from Spain celebrated his first GT3 top three result ever. “I would never have expected to succeed with this at the Nordschleife”, he said happily. “That was a great race at a fantastic track.”

Behind the top three, the Renault R.S.01 of “Dieter Schmidtmann”, Heiko Hammel and Felipe Fernandez Laser missed the podium for the second time by a narrow margin. The driver trio had attracted a lot of attention after the timed practice which they finished in second position (lap time of 7:58.833 minutes). They lost a lot of time in the race due to a tyre damage. The Renault team finally missed third place by 1:23.960 minutes.

Into fifth place finished the Falken-Porsche, followed by Jordan Tresson and Henry Walkenhorst in sixth place who, at the same time, were fastest Pro-AM drivers in class GT3. Within this classification, the Walkenhorst duo dominated the Landgraf Mercedes and the Schubert BMW who finished seventh and eighth respectively. The fastest Porsche in SP7 was driven by Frank Kräling, Marc Gindorf and Christopher Brück who finished ninth. Their team mates in the Gigaspeed Team GetSpeed Performance, Alexander Mies, Tim Scheerbarth and Steve Jans, in the Porsche 911 GT3 were classified as fastest Cup vehicle.

Change in the championship lead after round seven
The result in the class of VLN production cars was very close. Marcel Manheller and Carsten Knechtges in the BMW 325 entered by the MSC Adenau took the checkered flag 1.737 seconds ahead of the BMW of Hofracing. With 17 participants starting in class V4 and their third class win of the season, Manheller scored 9,71 points for their victory and thus went into the lead of the championship. Their advance ahead of the second place before the last two races, however, is only a close lead of 0.04 points.

The previous championship leaders, too, Moritz Kranz, Mamza Owega and Alex Schulz, won their class with a tight gap of only 0.393 seconds, but they gained only 9.5 points for their victory in the Cayman GT4 Trophy by Manthey Racing. Contrary to Manheller and Knechtges, they left only nine competitors behind. The Muhlner trio was nevertheless celebrating their result because, after seven races, they have already secured their title in the Trophy classification in advance.

The first competitors have secured their title in the VLN 2017
With a fourth win of the season, the first title in the VLN series is determined. After seven races, no one will be able to still catch up with start number 911 of Manthey Racing in the VLN Speed Trophy. The maximum of 50 points can still be scored in the remaining two races, but the advance ahead of start number 28 of Montaplast by Land-Motorsport is 65 points. Following the FIA allocation of points, the ten best cars in the overall classification can score points.

The penultimate race of the VLN endurance championship Nurburgring will take place already in two weeks’ time. The 49. ADAC Barbarossapreis organised by the MSC Sinzig on 7th of October 2017 will run over the traditional VLN distance of four hours.