VLN race, round 6: Rowe Racing triumphs with SLS

Stefan Baldauf /Robert Kah
VLN race, 6th run
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D he sixth round of the VLN endurance championship offered the audience a real rush of time. The four-hour long-distance race developed into a sprint. Pole setter Klaus Graf from Rowe Racing already set a new benchmark in qualifying with a time of 8: 02,804 minutes. Most recently, Bernd Schneider impressed in the successor Mercedes AMG GT with a lap time of 8: 02.897 minutes at VLN 4.

Graf celebrates first VLN victory

Together with his driver colleague Christian Hohenadel, Graf achieved it to convert pole position into victory. At the start Uwe Alzen prevailed in the Haribo-Mercedes, but the Rowe drivers kept a cool head. Alzen collided on the first lap in the Hatzenbach section and retired from the race.

'I'm happy about my first victory in the VLN,' said Klaus Graf. 'We had good conditions in qualifying. The lap was pretty free. At the beginning of the race we preferred the splash stop because Christian had a creeping puncture. Overall, we drove at a high level with constant lap times.'

Thrilling three-way battle for second place

The battle for second place raged behind the Rowe SLS. In the meantime the Black Falcon-SLS, the Falken-Porsche and the Ford GT from Alzen Motorsport wrestled for every meter on the track. In the end, the dark green Mercedes SLS from Black Falcon with Adam Christodoulou, Hubert Haupt and Andreas Simonsen at the wheel crossed the finish line in second place. 'That was an action-packed race,' said Christodoulou, who celebrated his first podium in the VLN. 'Unfortunately, we caught a Code 60 phase twice, otherwise we would have been more likely to fight for victory. All in all, it cost us around 45 seconds.' Teammate Haupt adds: 'It was a total sprint race. We set lap times between 8:15 and 8:20 minutes in traffic.'

Up to the last few meters everything looked like third place would be Hawks go. But Martin Ragginger and Alexandre Imperatori's Porsche was involved in an accident with an Audi TT in which the left rear wheel was damaged. So Frikadelli-Racing unexpectedly inherited a podium place, Falken dragged himself to the finish in fourth place. 'I passed the Wippermann section,' says Sabine Schmitz. 'Before that I saw several cars crash in the courage curve.'

Alzen parked the Ford GT

The Ford GT from Alzen Motorsport had no more say about the podium places. The winner of the previous run was threatened with a 3-minute time penalty for exceeding the speed limit in a Code 60 phase. You didn’t compete, but pushed the car into the pits ahead of time.

The two Porsche works drivers Richard Lietz and Michael Christensen together with Christoph Breuer achieved a remarkable fifth place overall. They also secured class victory in the SP7 with their Porsche from Manthey Racing. The Busch twins landed behind them with the Audi R8. Walkenhorst Motorsport (BMW Z4 GT3) finished the race in seventh place ahead of the Wochenspiegel-Porsche, the sister car from Walkenhorst and the Cup Porsche from Christian Menzel and Marc Hennerici.

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