165 cars were at the start of the 7th round of the VLN Championship race at Nürburgring, for the so called 57. ADAC Reinoldus-Langstreckenrennen.
The Haribo Racing Team Mercedes – AMG #8 started from Pole Position ahead of Renault R.S. 01 #55 and Manthey Racing #911.
The drama already started on the formation lap, when the Wochenspiegel Team Monschau Ferrari #22 went straight back to the pits. They had so many technical issues with the car, that they never got to drive in the race.
#8 kept the lead at the start ahead of #911, while #55 fell back through the field. Markus Palttala in BMW Team Schnitzer #53 and their new 2018 version of the BMW M6 GT3 had come off to a good start and was all the way up in third. While #8 and #911 participated in the SP9 category, both #55 and #53 were part of the SPX category, which is for cars that isn’t homologated but still allowed to enter the race.
Michael Christensen in #911 was pushing Lance David Arnold in the #8 very hard during the first part of the race. The Porsche works colleague of Christensen, but opposition for this race, Romain Dumas, was part of the Falken Motorsports Porsche #4, but had some contact with another car on the first lap and fell back in the field.
40 minutes into the race we saw the 4 cars split into two groups of two. #8 was leading the #911 while #55 started to fight with the new version of the Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 #23, which at the same time was for the lead of SPX.
6 laps into the race we saw the leading Haribo Racing Team Mercedes – AMG #8 go for the pits as the first of the leaders, handing the lead to Manthey Racing #911.
They could do two more laps before Christensen pitted at handed the car over to Estre. They lost the lead to the #8 again, who had gained a lot by their shorter pitstop.
An hour and seven minutes into the race we saw the Renault R.S.01 #55 driving into the pits with a left rear puncture. It cost them a bit extra coming into the pits, but was about at the time of their pitstop anyway.
Kevin Estre in #911 was flying, and after 90 minutes of running, he had caught the #8 again, with the gap ebbing and flowing depending on the traffic.
They both pitted at the same time, and this time it was the #8 with the 8 lap stint, and having to be stationary for longer, compared to the #911 who had only done 6 laps. That way the Porsche could leave the pits much sooner than the Mercedes.
Renault R.S. 01 #55 had plenty of speed, and was actually leading the race, until they had to take their second pitstop. Just as they dived into the pits, they were overtaken by the #911, so they effectively had lost the time equivalent to a pitstop with the puncture.
With 50 minutes left of the race, we saw both #911 and #8 go in for their final stops of the race, but with the #911 having an approximately 90 seconds lead.
With 26 minutes left of the race, it was red flagged, and the race result was taken a few laps back.
The reason for the stoppage was the H&R Spezialfedern GmbH & Co. KG #970, Marco Ferrano VW Polo #632, VW Pioneer Fast #624 and rent2drive-FAMILIA-racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup #202 had an accident between Fuchsröhre and Adenauer Forst. Fortunately there weren’t any injuries, but with mud and debris from the cars spread all over the track, Race Control decided to stop the race.
The results were then taken at Lap 21, which didn’t change anything for the overall positions, but in some of the classes, which wasn’t to everybody’s liking. Manthey Racing Porsche #911 took the 4th VLN win of the year, but the first for the driver combination Kevin Estre/Michael Christensen ahead of Haribo Racing Team Mercedes – AMG #8 and Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW #100.
Manthey Racing #911 claimed the 2017 VLN-Speed-Trophäe, which is like a Teams Championship for the fastest cars. With only 50 points left, and a 65 points lead, they can’t be caught anymore.
None of the 6 other championships have been decided yet.
The penultimate round of this years Championship will be held on Saturday, October 7.