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VLN Endurance Championship Nürburgring - Race Report Round 4
BLACK FALCON has won the fourth round of the VLN Endurance Championship at the Nürburgring. Patrick Assenheimer (GER) and Manuel Metzger (GER) in the #6 Mercedes-AMG GT3 triumphed in an action-packed race. In addition, BLACK FALCON won three classes: Tobias Müller (GER), Tim Scheerbarth (GER) and Tristan Viidas (EST) secured their third consecutive victory in class SP10 with their #162 Mercedes-AMG GT4 in a head-to-head race. In the SP8T class Carlos Rivas (LUX), Ace Robey (USA) and Tobias Wahl (GER) were successful with the #155 AMG GT4. Alexander Akimenkov (RU), Ronny Lethmate (GER) and Vasilii Selivanov (RU) clinched their second VLN season's victory with the #395 Porsche 991 Carrera in the production-based V6 class. In addition Peter Ludwig (USA), "Takis" (CH) and double starter Manuel Metzger contributed another podium place to the almost perfect team result with a second place in the SP7 class in the Porsche 991 GT3 Cup MR II.
After an accident in qualifying, the start of the 50th Adenauer ADAC Rundstrecken-Trophy was postponed by half an hour to 12:30 pm and the race distance was shortened to three and a half hours. Starting from third overall in the BLACK FALCON Team AutoArena Motorsport AMG GT3, Assenheimer drove a strong double stint before handing over to Metzger for the final attack. The car came back onto the track in second place, but had a tactical advantage for the last "splash and dash" pit stop yet to be completed and was therefore in the lead adjusted for the stop. Metzger did not gamble and took the lead with a spectacular overtaking move 40 minutes before the end of the race. After 24 laps he finally crossed the finish line first, securing BLACK FALCON and Mercedes-AMG their first overall VLN victory in 2019.
In the SP10 class of the GT4 cars according to SRO regulations, Müller/Scheerbarth/Viidas in the BLACK FALCON Team IDENTICA Mercedes-AMG GT4 fought an exciting battle with the runner-up BMW M4 over the entire race distance. Starting from pole position, Müller made a strong start into the three-and-a-half-hour race. Scheerbarth was able to gain some ground in the middle stint. As it started to rain in some parts of the track during the third and last stint, the team took no risks. This brought the BWM closer again and a new fight developed, which Viidas finally won. Beside the third victory in a row the trio achieved an outstanding 15th place overall.
Another AMG GT4 succeeded in the SP8T class. The #155 AMG GT4 of Rivas/Robey/Wahl started from grid position two and fought a long-distance duel for class victory with the sister car #152 of the BLACK FALCON Team Knuffi, which had started from pole position. About one hour before the end of the race Mustafa Mehmet Kaya (TUR) and Reinhold Renger (DE) had to retire the Knuffi-AMG GT4 after a technical problem. Thus the team-internal duel for the class victory, which had lined up for the end of the race, was cancelled, and Rivas/Robey/Wahl were waved off as winners.
Akimenkov/Lethmate/Selivanov in the #395 Porsche 991 Carrera of the BLACK FALCON Team TEXTAR achieved their second class victory in this VLN season after starting from pole position into the race. Thanks to a strong performance of all drivers and despite a fuel saving measure to avoid another pit stop, they defended their lead until the end of the race and crossed the finish line with a narrow lead of nine seconds as class winners in the V6. Taking the 24 hours qualifying race and the 24 hours race into account, the trio thus clinched their fourth victory of the season on the Nordschleife in the sixth race.
The fifth place on the podium for BLACK FALCON was taken by Ludwig/Takis/Metzger to round off the extremely successful VLN weekend. The driver trio started the race in the #57 "TEXTAR-Breitbau" Porsche 991 GT3 Cup MR II from second place. In his starting stint Metzger drove the fastest lap of the class, conquered the lead and handed it over to Ludwig, who was able to defend the lead for a long time before a professional racing driver took over the work in the cockpit of the runner-up. Takis secured the team the second place in the SP7 class with a flawless final stint and crossed the finish line as the second-best BLACK FALCON vehicle in 11th place overall.
Comments on the race
Sean Paul Breslin (Team Principal Mercedes-AMG Team BLACK FALCON): "A great team performance was rewarded with the first overall victory of the year. A big compliment to Patrick and Manuel as well as to the whole team. The pace of the competitors was always very good and the fights were hard but fair. That's the kind of racing we'd like to continue at the 6h race in three weeks."
Alexander Böhm (Managing Director BLACK FALCON GmbH & Co. KG): "For us it was an almost perfect VLN weekend. With the exception of SP7, in which we finished second, we won all classes in which we competed. In addition, our GT3 department delivered a great performance at the top of the field and made good publicity for racing on the Nordschleife in the duel for overall victory. The only drawback is the retirement of the Knuffi-AMG GT4, which we will analyse now."
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