Frikadelli racing continued their good form from last time out, with Norbert Siedler securing pole position for a very warm fourth VLN round of the year, the front row to himself as the #35 BMW M6 would be disqualified from qualifying.
136 cars set a time in qualifying, but with a slimmed down SP9/GT3 class, the opportunity was there for some of the lower class cars to get a good showing.
The opening couple of corners saw contact between the Konrad Lamboghini & Phoenix Audi while the Wochenspiegel Ferraris leapt into 2nd and 3rd, into Flugplatz and the #11 of Christian Menzel passed into the lead but would get leapfrogged by the second Frikadelli Porschre at Kesselchen.
It would all be for nought as by the time the cars came round to complete lap 1, Siedler would be back at the front of the queue.
Group two took the start and the Kremer K3 was instantly fighting with Ralf Schall’s Porsche 997.
One of the TCR class cars was left pointing in the wrong direction & a Pixum motorsport Cayman had to tour round with a puncture.
#69 bought the first slow zone out on the opening lap – into the barriers at Klostertal; shortly after the recovering KTM X-bow would come to a halt at Wippermann.
The Seat Cupra #806 was the next to fall, taken behind the fence at Aremberg.
The early running saw a good outing for some of the less fancied runners – Michele Di Martino in the Lamborghini, managing to split the Ferraris on lap 2, while #55 Renault RS01 was fighting into the top 6 with the fastest lap of the opening salvos.
It wouldn’t take long for normal service to be resumed though, the Lambo not even making 30 minutes before coming into the pits with contact damage.
Krämer racing #978 with a puncture caused a few issues at Brünnchen getting in the way of several faster cars as the driver tried to get back on three wheels.
A large section of the track was under code 60 – Wippermann through to the exit of Pflanzgarten, the Renault RS01 would lost several seconds as the flags came out but was still able to hold 6th.
Lap 4 would see another attack from the Ferraris, Kainz briefly into the lead before the #31 Porsche snuck back past at Hatzenbach.
45 minutes into the race, and on pace alone, the group 2 leaders had got into the top 20; Kremer an inch ahead of the #588 Porsche – these two battling for the entire opening stint.
Next time by, the leader would be into the pits and the Ferraris would sweep past to run 1-2; once again the counter intuitive fuel saving ability of the Ferrari giving an early advantage.
The first corner would see a coming together between Steve Jans & Janine Hill, running in different classes but both under the Gigaspeed banner – Hill beached and in need of a tow rope.
The H&R sponsored #124 Porsche cup car was off into the wall in a big way at Ex-Mühle, another slow zone as a result – lap times now 90 seconds off the pace.
Björn Simon was finally able to get out of the pits over an hour late, but would only make it as far as the Hatzenbach before pulling his Cayman off to the side.
There was a risky decision made by the driver of #123 who made contact with a slower car in the final corner which resulted in tyre smoke; but the Porsche was taken out onto the Nordschleife.
Fabian Finck was having a troubled afternoon, his #458 production class Cayman battle scarred and facing the wrong way several times.
Rüdiger Schicht on the other hand was flying, his #435 was the leading production car and running in the top 50 overall.
Through the slow zone, the pack of BMW cup cars was 5-6 wide resulting in a nightmare for the lead Porsche trying to get through as they came onto the Döttinger Höhe, several of the SP9 cars seen overtaking before the green flag – and this would result in investigations after the race, meaning the results today would be provisional.
Half distance approached and there was a big off for the #57, the car actually getting airborne and clattering the barriers and out of the SP7 class lead.
#979 Cayman was a sorry sight in the pit lane, the front left totally destroyed.
So with two hours remaining, the leaders were
#31 Frikadelli Porsche 911 Norbert Siedler
#11 Wochenspiegel Ferrari 488 Christian Menzel
#22 Wochenspiegel Ferrari 488 Jochen Krumbach
#13 AutoArena Mercedes AMG Christian Hohenadel
#5 Phoenix Audi R8 Frank Stippler
Through the field, the Kremer challenge had dropped off and although the #600 was still inside the top 20, Ralf Schall’s #588 was a minute ahead and lapping faster.
The Racing One #139 Ferrari led SP8 by 4 minutes, Avia racing’s Aston Martin was ahead in SP10 & the TCR lead belonged to Mathilda racing’s Cupra.
Tragedy for the #666 BMW cup, crashing out of the lead at Hohe Acht; a lengthy slow zone needed to rescue the car.
Through hour three, the lead cars carried on at a steady pace, only the Renault #55 having a significant change – falling down to 8th.
Stippler was absolutely flying in the #5 Audi, with a top 3 not out of the question.
The Opel Manta, once again would be a non-finisher – the car really struggling for reliability this year.
Hohe Acht nearly claimed another victim as the final hour neared with #387 Mini having an issue, but able to continue.
#960 came into the pits in a slightly uncontrolled fashion, kicking dirt up on drivers left before diving to the right and onto pit lane.
An unseen incident with the #492 BMW saw the driver having to come back slowly to the pits with the bonnet flapping, windscreen shattered and a dented roof.
With half an hour remaining, the three way battle for 5th was being contested between Stippler, Hohendal & Laser (Audi, Mercedes, Porsche); The Mercedes hanging on for dear life for a couple of laps but eventually Laser would take a questionable move to secure the position.
After all planned stops were complete, it was the #22 Ferrari in the lead but Norbert Siedler would be chasing hard & quickly past.
The SP8 class #140 BMW was into the barriers at Döttinger Höhe, bringing out the final slow zone of the race & was returned to safety by an intervention vehicle.
Then just as the clock was running out, Stippler would dive past the #30 Porsche for fourth, drastically unlucky as on pace would have got the podium if they had just one more lap of the GP circuit, never mind the full track.
The earlier yellow flag infractions have not been fully investigated at this time, so the race results remain very provisional – noting that the stewards this weekend have been quite stern in their decisions.
#31 Frikadelli Porsche 911 Norbert Siedler / Lance David Arnold
#11 Wochenspiegel Ferrari 488 Leonard Weiss / Christian Menzel / Nico Menzel
#22 Wochenspiegel Ferrari 488 Georg Weiss / Oliver Kainz / Jochen Krumbach
#5 Phoenix Audi R8 Vincent Kolb / Frank Stippler
#30 Frikadelli Porsche 911 Klaus Abbelen / Sabine Schmitz / Felipe Laser