The final stage of the 50thAdenauer ADAC Rundstrecken-Trophy required strong nerves. Three teams were fighting for the victory with merely seconds separating them – and the decision was only made on the very last metres. The battle was finally won by Patrick Assenheimer and Manuel Metzger in the Mercedes-AMG GT3 of the Black Falcon Team AutoArena Motorsport. With an advance of only 2.023 seconds, the duo took the chequered flag ahead of Marek Böckmann and Philip Ellis in another AMG GT3 entered by GetSpeed Performance. Third place at this fourth round of the VLN endurance championship was gained by Christian Krognes, David Pittard and Jody Fannin in a BMW M6 GT3 of Walkenhorst-Motorsport.
„“We’ve had a run of bad luck at the 24h Race, so the VLN victory now was the well deserved reward”, said Manuel Metzger who took his fifth win in this championship run at the Nordschleife, whilst Assenheimer celebrated his second success. “Patrick completed a very good double stint at the beginning of the race. In the final phase then, I had a tough but always fair battle with Philip (Ellis).” Metzger, the VLN Champion of the year 2011, had to use all of his experience on the Nordschleife to keep his rival at distance. “I concentrated onto what I can do best, to keep focused onto racing safely. I think that Philip took more risks – but in the end, I was in the front.”
Even though left behind, Ellis was happy: “That was a mega battle at the end. We were fighting a hard duel. We had smaller contacts, but it was always fair and respectful. I tried everything but couldn’t resist in the end. Second place is nevertheless a marvellous result for me and the whole team. You should not forget that it was only this year that GetSpeed changed to Mercedes-AMG and that the team competes in the GT3 class only in its second season.”
At the last pit stop two laps before the finish, Walkenhorst-Motorsport lost valuable time and dropped out of the group of potential winners. “It is a big achievement to finish in the top three at the VLN. Even if the victory or second place might have been possible, I am not unhappy”, says Pittard who had gained pole position with a qualifying time of 7:59.711 minutes. “Our pace was perfect and the tyres were working very well – we are fighting in the leading group. In three weeks’ time, we will attack with the same line-up. Let’s see what we can do then.”
24h winner Frank Stippler finished the race together with Vincent Kolb in fourth position in the Audi R8 LMS of Phoenix-Racing. The fastest GT3-Pro-Am car, the Lamborghini Huracan of Konrad-Motorsport, was driven by Axcil Jefferies and Michele Di Martino who finished fifth. “We were facing various problems in the first races, so that is a brilliant success for Franz Konrad and his team”, said Di Martino. “We were finally able to demonstrate the possibilities of the Lambo. We are working in the right direction.”
Seventh place was taken by Marcel Hoppe, Moritz Kranz and Peter Terting in the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup of Mühlner-Motorsport, this being the best result for a Cup vehicle in the current year. Into eighth place followed the fastest car in the SP9 AM category, a BMW M6 GT3, with drivers Henry Walkenhorst, Andreas Ziegler and Jörn Schmidt-Staade.
The decision in the GT4 class was similarly close as the one in the overall classification. Tobias Müller, Tim Scheerbarth and Tristan Viidas crossed the Line in the Mercedes-AMG GT4 of the Black Falcon Team Identica 12.550 seconds in front of Heiko Eichenberg and Erik Johansson who drove a BMW M4 GT4 of the Team AVIA Sorg Rennsport. Third class position went to another Walkenhorst-BMW and the drivers Ben Tuck, Jörg Breuer and Will Tregurtha.
Change in the top of the standings: Adrenalin takes over the championship lead
The second third of the season will start with the Pixum Team Adrenalin Motorsport in the lead of the standings. Yannick Fübrich and David Griessner went into the overall lead after their third class win in the BMW M240i Racing Cup. The so far leading trio of the Team AVIA Sorg Rennsport, Torsten Kratz, Oliver Frisse and Moran Gott, missed another class win in the V4. After their second class position in the race, they are now also shown in second championship position.
The timed practice was interrupted with the red flag after only eight minutes due to an accident at the section Kesselchen involving four cars. The track was blocked so that the following cars could not pass the incident. After having cleared the accident site and the necessary repair on the Armco barriers, the practice was resumed at 10:15hrs and scheduled over a duration of 45 minutes. The start of the race running over 3.5 hours was then given at 12:30hrs.
The results of the 50thAdenauer ADAC Rundstrecken-Trophy will remain suspended due to a routine doping control carried out by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA). Six drivers selected at random were invited to the control.
The highlight of the Nürburgring VLN endurance championship season will take place in three weeks, on the 3rdof August 2019. The ROWE 6h ADAC Ruhr-Pokal-Rennen is the only race on the VLN calendar providing a 50 percent longer distance to the delight of the teams and fans.