Jul 2019

Podium at VLN 4


It's been a long break since VLN 3, so a podium in my first run in the SP 9 Pro class is very satisfying and a good platform for the rest of the year.

My last race on the Nordschleife was back in March at VLN 1, where I won the SP 9 Pro Am class. VLN 2 was cancelled due to snow and at VLN 3 my car retired before it was my turn to get behind the wheel, so I was looking forward to getting some laps in - I had been on the entry list for four races in a GT3 car but had only raced in two!

In spite of the best efforts by the team to get me time behind the wheel on Friday, the weather intervened once more after one flying lap. At the beginning of the second lap, rain drops appeared on sections of the 16 mile circuit, while other sections were dry but there was a deluge at the end of the lap and I tiptoed back to the pits. After waiting for the standing water to clear and a change to wets, the sun soon appeared but within a lap and a half the track was dry again

The weather forecast was for possible showers during the four hour race on Saturday but the day began well for us when my team mate put it on pole! There was a long delay during qualifying for barrier damage - this meant the main race was reduced to 3.5 hours. I was in the car for the second stint after a good opening hour by David Pittard. I found myself in P6 after the pit stop and after a couple of rivals pitted was up to P4, then moved past the No 5 Phoenix Racing Audi up to P3 while a rain shower moved across the circuit. Unlike the previous day, the rain was relatively light and only affected a few parts of the circuit. It soon moved on leaving us with a dry track once more. There were yellow flag periods on every one of my laps, including being held up by some drivers who were going some way below the 60 or 120 limit at times, but we were still in contention when I handed the car over to Christian Krognes from P3 for the final stint. Once everyone had completed their stops, Christian closed a 5 second gap to the leading Mercedes and a three car battle raged for the next hour before the final cycle of pit stops interrupted proceedings. Christian pitted from P2, but after a slightly longer pit stop dropped to P3 and ran out of time to close the gap to the second placed car, so he had to settle for third.

My team mates and Walkenhorst Motorsport did a fantastic job - I really enjoyed battling at the front of the field and was immediately comfortable in the car. I'm looking forward to VLN 5 in a few weeks time as it's a six hour race and we can really get our teeth into it!

I'm back at the Nordschleife for VLN 5 on 3 August.