158 cars were on the starting grid for the 40th RCM DMV Grenzlandrennen, which was Round 6 of this years VLN Championship.
Manthey Racing Porsche #911 started the race from Pole Position ahead of Phoenix Racing Audi #15, who had ended up in an Manthey Racing sandwich with their #12 in P3. Octane 126 AG Ferrari #14 started from 4th position ahead of the best Mercedes-AMG in 5th, in the shape of Haribo Racing Team Mercedes-AMG #8.
The race was started under grey clouds, as you often see in the mountains around Nürburgring.
Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW #100 spun right after the start at turn one, after receiving a bit of help from a competitor. Only two corners later, we saw Haribo Racing Team Mercedes-AMG #8 having to pull off the track, after having no more drive. Really annoying for the team to end the race only a few seconds into a 4 hour race.
There wasn’t as much action up front with the #911 holding position ahead of #15 and #12.
Renault R.S. 01 #55 got a puncture on lap one, and thus lost the touch with the leading group.
At the end of the first lap, we saw Phoenix Racing Audi #15 crossing the line first, having overtaken the #911 somewhere on the circuit.
Octane 126 AG Ferrari #14 lost two spots at the start of lap 3 – firstly to Montaplast by Land Motorsport #28 and then to Manthey Racing Porsche #12.
About the same time, we saw rain falling over parts of the circuit, which gave the drivers even more challenges than all the turns on the Nordschleife already provide by themselves.
After 50 minutes of the race, we had a fight for the lead again, with #911 and #15 switching positions back and forth. The first change was on the Döttinger Höhe, but eventually the #911 made it into the lead.
One hour into the race, it was time for the first pitstop for the leading cars. A battle between the mechanics, saw the #911 being a bit faster than #15, while Falken Motorsports Porsche #4 kept their third place in the race.
The weather gave even more challenges, with more and more of the over 20 kilometer long track getting soaked. With laptimes between 8 and 11 minutes of the cars, a lot could have changed from when the drivers had last been in the same spot. Of course the laptimes would slow down even further due to rain, on top of some Yellow Flag Zones, which is always present around the track. Remember, there is never any Safety Car on the track, but everything is dealt with local slow zones.
Nikolaj Møller Madsen drove the Phoenix Racing Audi #15 into the lead after 100 minutes of running, by overtaking the Manthey Racing Porsche #911 with Romain Dumas behind the wheel.
At the halfway point of the race, we had Phoenix Racing Audi #15 leading ahead of Manthey Racing Porsche #911 in front of Montaplast by Land Motorsport Audi #28. They were followed by Falken Motorsports Porsche #4 and Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG #7. You had to go all the way down to P8 to find the first Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW #100.
BMW had their updated BMW M6 GT# car in the race too, but only competed as a test in the SPX category, and finished well down the field – mainly because they made a lot of adjustments in the pits during the race.
Mercedes-AMG did the same with the Black Falcon and Uwe Alzen Automotive teams and the new Mercedes-AMG GT4, which got its debut last time out in the VLN. Black Falcon #52 only managed two official laps of the race while the Uwe Alzen Automotive #54 only did three hours of the race, before they had to retire. So Mercedes clearly still have a lot to do, before the car will gets its official GT4 debut next year.
Two hours and 10 minutes into the race, it was once again pitstop time for the three leading cars. There weren’t any position changes, but only a few seconds won and lost here and there.
With one hour and a half left of the race, Montaplay by Land Motorsport Audi #28 went into the lead, while the Manthey Racing Porsche #911 was right on the rear bumber of Phoenix Racing Audi #15 too.
Shortly thereafter the #911 also made it past #15 while Falken Motorsports Porsche #4 followed it past the Audi. #911, #4 and #15 was one right after the other for a long time until the two Porsche cars started attacking each other, resulting in the #911 losing positions to both #4 and #15, before the cars went onto the Nordschleife.
Manthey Racing Porsche #911 was the first of the leading cars to go into the pits for its last pitstop, while the three other competitors went on for another lap – in fact two more laps, before they pitted, with 40 minutes left of the race.
Falken Motorsports #4 made it past the #15 during this pitstop, and then instantly started to hunt the #28. #911 had lost a lot of time and was almost one and a half minutes behind the leading group. So their early pitstop gamble didn’t pay off at all.
With 30 minutes left of the race the #28 was leading ahead of #4 and #28. #911 was further unlucky to be caught up with 20 other cars behind a car being towed down the Döttinger Höhe, with the cars unable to overtake due to Yellow Flag Zone. That cost Romain Dumas a lot of time, but the podium was already lost at that point.
Phoenix Racing #15 made it past Falken Motorsports Porsche #4 with 20 minutes to go, and then #15 was able to build a gap to the guys running behind.
With 5 minutes left of the race, the Renault R.S. 01 #55 had a quick spin on the Grand Prix part of the lap, and as a result went all the way back to P10, behind the Frikadelli Racing Team Porsche #31, and finished the race 6 minutes and 42 behind the winners.
When the 4 hours had elapsed, Montaplast by Land Motorsport Audi R8 LMS #28, driven by Connor De Phillippi and Robein Frijns, was the first to cross the line, ahead of Phoenix Racing Audi #15 with Frank Stippler and Nikolaj Møller Madsen, followed by Falken Motorsports #4 piloted by Martin Ragginger and Klaus Bachler.
Manthey Racing Porsche #911 finished fourth, while Mücke Motorsport #26 in their pink Mercedes-AMG GT3 finished right ahead of the brand colleagues in the shape of Black Falcon #7. Best BMW M6 GT3 was in P7 with Walkenhorst Motorsport #100.
The next round of the VLN will be run on Saturday, September 23.