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VLN race, run 9: Black Falcon wins with the Mercedes SLS

Stefan Baldauf
VLN race, 9th run
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I Winter has arrived in the Eifel. In icy single-digit temperatures, the die-hard VLN fans around the Nordschleife froze at the ninth round of the season. For the third time, they saw a Mercedes SLS cross the finish line first - if you only count the rated races and leave out the interrupted opening race.

Bad luck for Rowe Racing

After four Hubert Haupt, Adam Christoudoulou, Manuel Metzger and Yelmer Buurman from the Black Falcon team cheered for hours. Their victory never seemed to be in jeopardy. The quartet already underscored with the pole position in qualifying (8: 01.443 minutes) that they belong to the circle of favorites and also grabbed the fastest race lap. In the race they chose a different strategy than the pursuers from Rowe Racing and came to the pits very early. That paid off.

'We fought in the middle of the race because it got a bit tight,' said Adam Christodoulou. 'At the last stop we were very fast and therefore had a head start. Because of the Code 60 phase, you never know exactly how it will end in the end. On the last lap, the fuel was also a bit scarce.'

But you could finally take the pressure off, because the second-placed Mercedes SLS from Rowe Racing had to retire 18 minutes before the end of the race with a defective wheel bearing. The team had bad luck the day before. The car was badly damaged when it slipped on an oil trail.

This pushed the Busch twins up to second place. The winners of the previous race drove the latest generation Audi R8 LMS for the first time and were once again supported by Audi works driver Marc Basseng.

'It's really a great car and easier to drive than its predecessor ', praised Marc Busch, for whom it was the third consecutive podium with brother Dennis. Basseng blows in the same direction: 'This is really a top result. The car has been much more drivable since the 24-hour race.' After Dennis Busch took over the start, he made up one position on the Rowe-Mercedes, but later lost time again because he was stopped behind a group of Cup-BMWs.

Porsche 911 GT3 R on debut on the podium

For the Manthey Racing and Porsche team, third place was probably a surprise. Because the first race of the Porsche 911 GT3 R was intended as a test run in which you mainly participateCustomer tires instead of vignette tires. The fact that a podium result jumped out was something that was gladly taken away. 'We had no expectations,' said Porsche works driver Fred Makowiecki. 'When you have tested on normal tracks for a long time, the Nordschleife is always a surprise. We have made some adjustments and made good progress since yesterday.'

Another Manthey car, the Wochenspiegel-Porsche, was fourth the finish line. Behind them the Frikadelli-Porsche landed in front of the second Rowe-SLS from Kenneth Heyer, Stef Dusseldorp and Lance-David Arnold. At Walkenhorst, the slightly weaker BMW Z4 GT3 of Matias Henkola, Michele di Martino and Henry Walkenhorst held the flags high. The sister car, which already celebrated a win of the season, had to give up after an accident. Positions eight and nine went to the Cup Porsches from Landgraf Motorsport and Harald Hennes, Thomas Gerling, Thomas Kappeler and Peter Scharmach. The Glickenhaus racer from Thomas Mutsch, Jeff Westphal and Jethro Bovingdon completed the top ten.

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