The ROWE 6-hour ADAC Ruhr-Pokal race lived up to its reputation as the season highlight of the VLN endurance championship. The MSC Ruhr-Blitz Bochum race is the longest of the VLN season, and its final phase was marked by an extremely gripping battle for victory. In bright sunshine around the Nürburgring and the legendary Nordschleife, Patrick Pilet and Jörg Bergmeister drove to the first Porsche victory of the season in the Porsche 911 GT3 R from Manthey-Racing. The French and the German set a new distance record for the 6h race: They covered 43 kilometers in 1.047,394 laps.
In second place, Uwe Alzen, Lance David Arnold and Jan Seyffarth, who once again demonstrated the performance of the Mercedes-AMG GT3 from Haribo-Racing after winning the previous race. Jörg Müller, Jesse Krohn, Victor Bouveng and Felipe Fernández Laser celebrated in the BMW M6 GT3 from Walkenhorst Motorsport powered by Dunlop finished fourth. The fastest Audi R8 LMS was driven by Frank Stippler, Anders Fjordbach and Markus Winkelhock from the Phoenix Racing team in fourth place. This is the result: four GT3 sports cars from four German automobile manufacturers in the first four positions.
The final phase of the race turned into a real racing thriller: Manthey-Racing started the last lap just before the end of the distance 8,5 seconds ahead of the Land-Audi. While Pilet was able to get to the finish line with enough fuel, Mies rolled out on the Döttinger Höhe with an empty tank - the land team had refilled too little fuel. “We didn't want to fall behind the Haribo-AMG at our last stop and we didn't count on the petrol,” confessed team principal Wolfgang Land. “Therefore the failure is on my cap. The guys did everything right and set sensational times. We'll attack again next time. ”As a precaution, the Phoenix-Audi made a short refueling stop for the last two laps and thus lost a place on the podium.
"The 6-hour distance came clearly to us today," said Bergmeister at the finish. “We are not the fastest on a lap, but over the distance we can play off our consistency as a strength. In addition, the team laid the foundation for this victory with a perfect strategy and very good pit stops. ”
Arnold will remember the dramatic final phase for a long time. "If I experience something like that a lot, I will definitely get gray hair," he said. “We tried to make life as difficult as possible for Mies, but in the end we didn't have a chance on the track. Luck was on our side today, and we were often unlucky enough. ”
Laser was satisfied with its premiere in the BMW M6 GT3. “I'm very happy to be on the podium right away in my first M6 race,” said the Spaniard. “I had a lot of confidence in the car right away, so I was able to focus quickly.” After his team-mates had done good preparatory work, veteran Müller was able to drive home relatively relaxed on the podium. "I really didn't have to do much anymore, the guys were just perfect," he admitted.
Behind the top quartet, ROWE RACING drove to fifth place in the “home game” - the mineral oil manufacturer accompanies the 6-hour ADAC Ruhr-Pokal race as the title sponsor. Philipp Eng, Stef Dusseldorp and “Iain Wright” prevailed in the BMW M6 GT3 with a lead of almost three minutes against sixth placed “Gerwin”, Yelmer Buurman, Hubert Haupt and Manuel Metzger in the Mercedes-AMG GT3 from Black Falcon. At its premiere in the BMW M6 GT3, the Frikadelli Racing Team with Klaus Abbelen, Sabine Schmitz, Patrick Huisman and Norbert Siedler finished in seventh place.
A record for eternity: Opel Manta is included in the motorsport history book
Olaf Beckmann, Peter Hass, Volker Strycek and Jürgen Schulten drove a historic race at the season highlight. In the 111th VLN operation of the aged Opel Manta, they broke the sound barrier of 22 kilometers on the Nordschleife after 50.000 laps - a record that no other racing car will ever be able to achieve. After 35 laps, they also crossed the finish line as class H2 winners. Still not enough for double starter Strycek: together with his children Lena and Robin, the veteran of Nordschleife also triumphed in the Opel Astra OPC Cup class. "A fantastic race day - more is simply not possible", he stated at the award ceremony.
The championship leaders continue to win: Mies / Schrey cannot be stopped even after six hours
In terms of championship, a preliminary decision was made at the ROWE 6-hour ADAC Ruhr Cup race. What hardly anyone thought possible at the beginning of the season, a walk in the BMW M235i Racing Cup, which is always very busy, is slowly but surely becoming a reality. Alexander Mies and Michael Schrey clinched their seventh class win in race seven for Bonk-Motorsport. Meanwhile, the direct pursuers in the drivers' standings had to keep going. Mies / Schrey is enough another top result in the remaining three races to secure the title.
The eighth round of the VLN Endurance Championship Nürburgring will take place on September 24th. The 48th ADAC Barbarossa Prize takes the usual four hours. SPORT30 will broadcast a 1-minute summary of the seventh run on September 10th at 12:30 p.m.
All photos: SB-Medien, Stefan Baldauf, Guido ten Brink