Hitchcock couldn't have staged the final race of the 2013 VLN season better. At the same time, the last run of the season was a gripping example of the fascination that this racing series exudes. Thanks to a point system that is not particularly simple [see below], the overall winner of the season is not necessarily the one who also finishes the races as overall first. The VLN divides all participants into classes. This is the only way to ensure a really fair motorsport between “amateurs” and “professionals” and that is the only way what happened again this year - the championship was won by two brothers who do not contest motorsport in the Eifel on a large budget. But now first of all:
38. DMV Münsterland Cup
Nasty morning fog and light rain showers were still responsible for the fact that the race started as a “wet race” during training. But the Eifel was rather pleasantly friendly towards the racing community on this October Saturday. At times there were real gaps in the clouds, on the whole it could be described as “warm” with 15-17 °.
The pole position secured as once again one of the top racers from the SP9 class (more on that later, see below). The Phoenix squad with the Audi R8 LMS ultra and Marc Basseng, Christian Mamerow and Laurens Vanthoor were on pole position with a 9: 34.934. Behind them the BMW Z4 GT3, which is getting better and better towards the end of the season, with the mention of H&R Spezialfedern and a certain Uwe Alzen at the wheel. Niclas Kentenich and Philipp Wlazik took a seat in the steering wheel of starting number 2.
In third place on the grid, another Audi R8 from Phoenix Racing. Here the two Stuck brothers and Frank Stippler turned the steering wheel. The fastest meatball in the world secured fourth place on the grid.
But none of these Top4 had anything to do with the outcome of the championship.
On this Saturday the decision should be made and three teams could become VLN champions. The starting number # 331, an Audi TT RS from the SP3-T class, with Elmar Deegener and Christoph Breuer at the wheel, the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR from the “Wochenspiegel-Manthey” team and Michael Jacobs, Oliver Kainz and Georg Weiss in the cockpit. And then there were the Groneck brothers, Tim and Dirk, who competed in a Renault Cup Clio in the “CUP3” class. After the pair of brothers was rated throughout the year, they were helped above all by the number of participants in their starter class. Because the more participants, the more points you get for your own placements in the racing classes. (More in a separate article)
The race promised a lot of excitement - at the front the GT racers of the top teams stormed into their first lap, before the first corner Nick Tandy sprinted in the “fat” of Team Manthey from position 6 to 2 after a brilliant start. Behind it, the “raging meatball” with Huismann at the wheel, and the R8 with the Stuck brothers ride in.
At this time, the weather conditions on the Nordschleife were extremely difficult. Sliced slicks? Intermediates? Rain tires? Some of the teams were playing with the tire choice at the start. Including the SLS of the ROWE team but then came after the first round to the pits to switch to intermediates.
Further without luck, the Ford GT of Jürgen Alzen (#777) a spin in the first round made for a wide pass in the field behind.
And who thought the “fat one” of the Manthey team would make another race win for the successful troop around Olaf Manthey 20 was confronted with the sobering message of an accident in the Kesselchen area just minutes after the start. The racing end for the fat.
After half an hour it was clear that the meatball team's tire poker was spot on. The start on intermediates paid off and they were in the lead in front of the Nissan GT-R.
Godzilla in the rain
The start number #17, a Nissan GT-R GT3 with Lucas Ordonez and Alex Buncombe at the wheel burned down fireworks. Up to a contact with a lapped after 2 hours in the race, the Japanese GT impressed with incredible lap times and the full grip of the voluminous racer even led professionals to assume the GT-R would be in the VLN with four-wheel drive. But according to FIA GT3 regulations established customer sport GT-R burned the fastest laps in the Eifel circuit for a long time - and that with pure rear-wheel drive.
The decision in the championship
A fifth place overall would be enough for the Cup-Clio of the Groneck brothers. The brothers and sisters impressed with reliability throughout the season. Each of the nine runs this year was finished “in classification”. The first crash barrier contact shortly after the start of the race caused the first “crackling” in the pits. But after just 90 minutes, the tension was raised to a new level. Was it a sign of fate? Shouldn't it be? If the Clio were to fail in this race of all times, the Manthey team with the Wochenspiegel Porsche would be on course for the championship. The contact with the Scheid-BMW ensured that there was an initial break in repairs. The front bumper was removed professionally - without tools - and a large amount of racetape was used in its place.
After this first break for repairs, the Clio went back on the track - but from the rear left it was now sending smoke signals in corners, these indicated a grinding tire. Another pit stop is necessary. In the meantime the team in the box has grown new hands. The spirit of motorsport in the Eifel has awakened and is feeling the pit lane. Every hand helps! Fair motorsport.
After the lost time in the pits, the brothers are in seventh place in their class. That would not be good enough - it would have to be fifth in order to secure the “start number 1” for 2014. The Clio flies through the Eifel forests. Within a few laps he nibbles off his deficit second by second.
After 15 racing laps, the Cup-Clio is in 5th place in its class - that would be the championship for the two brothers. Half an hour before the end of the race, the Cup Clio # 679 was canceled - the brothers moved up to fourth place.
At 16:08 the time had come - the VLN has a new master:
The Phoenix troop won the 38th DMV Münsterland Cup with the Audi R8 LMS # 37, in second place another success for the troop around Klaus Abbelen, Schmitz, Huismann and Moser. And on three at the finish line - the “Alzen BMW”.
After the race, Uwe Alzen blustered that this would be a conciliatory end for the 2013 season - “but for 2014 it could not be that a“ raging meatball ”will be relegated to the places”. 😉
We will see what 2014 brings.
Coming soon on the blog, the big VLN special for the 2013 season - all results and much more information on the backgrounds of this legendary racing series.
..stay tuned ..
The VLN regulations in detail [Coming soon]
How is this regulated with the points award? Who drives in which class? What brands are to be seen? Many questions and more answers, soon here in the blog.
[The photos are from the VLN press, except for the Nissan GT-R. Further galleries follow.]