Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and BMW on the podium
At the 36th DMV 4 Hour Race, Chris Mamerow (Castrop-Rauxel/ Germany) and Armin Hahne (Wimbach/ Germany) were able to celebrate the first Mercedes Benz victory of the 2011 season. After 28 race laps, the two race drivers in the SLS AMG GT3 had achieved an advance of 33.604 seconds ahead of second placed Timo Bernhard (Dittweiler/ Germany), Lucas Luhr and Romain Dumas (both from Switzerland) in the Porsche 911 GT3 R of the team Manthey-Racing. Into top three finished also the crew of BMW Motorsport. Dirk Müller (Switzerland), Dirk Werner (Würzburg/ Germany) and Dirk Adorf (Michelbach/ Germany) driving a BMW M3 GT completed the podium with the razor-thin gap of 0.614 seconds ahead of Lance David Arnold (Duisburg/ Germany), Christopher Brück (Cologne/ Germany) and Christian Frankenhout (Netherlands) in the SLS AMG GT3 entered by Heico-Motorsport. The team into fourth place however scored fastest race lap with 8:18.927 minutes. The sun was shining when the total of 203 race cars took the start of the DMV 4 Hour Race organised by the Renngemeinschaft Düren. For former DTM driver Armin Hahne, this result represented the first victory at a VLN race ever and it was the 38th success for a race car of the make Mercedes-Benz. A 30 minutes summary of the season launch will be shown in channel Sport1 on 5 May at 6 p.m.
Before the race already it was clear that anyone wishing to win would first have to beat the Mamerow team. With 8:13.730 minutes, Chris Mamerow set fastest time in practice. The SLS AMG GT3 started the race from pole position and dominated the race. “Even though it might have looked easy – that was not a relaxed victory”, said Mamerow. “We had to push very hard each moment during the four hours race time because our aim is to score victories.” His experienced team mate Hahne added: “Our efforts in the team have paid out. We have completed a six hour test on Friday and made great progress regarding suspension and brakes.”
After the fail of the Manthey spearhead at the VLN opening round, Bernhard was reasonably satisfied with position two: “That was a good race for us today. It was very important that we did not encounter any problem at all in the four hours. It was not simply possible to beat Manthey today.” Adorf was more than happy after his second stint: “I was extremely happy to be able to defend my position in the last lap when the Heico SLS was attacking. I had to push very hard in the last laps to secure our result on the podium.” The second BMW M3 GT with drivers Jörg Müller (Monaco), Augusto Farfus (Brazil) and Pedro Lamy (Portugal) took the chequered flag in place five. The fastest Audi R8 LMS was driven by Phoenix-Piloten Marc Basseng (Leutenbach/ Germany), Frank Stippler (Bad Münstereifel/ Germany) and Marcel Fässler (Switzerland) of the Phoenix team and finished into position six.
Hans-Joachim Stuck finished his first race in a team with his two sons Johannes and Ferdinand (all from Austria) as well as Frank Kechele (Laufen/ Germany) in 28th place. “For us, priority was given to gain experience”, said the ex-champion. “We did therefore not really attack today.” The family Stuck completed 26 laps in a Lamborghini Gallardo entered by Reiter Engineering. The new Golf24 of Volkswagen, too, completed the first test successfully. Fredrik Ekblom (Sweden), Peter Terting (Börwang/ Germany) and Franck Mailleux (France) finally finished 20th overall. “We have been able to collect first experience under race conditions”, informed Terting. “We will now carry on with the test sessions in preparation of the 24 Hour Race.”
Successful race debut for the further-developed Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid, too: ‘Version 2.0’ of the innovative Hybrid race car from Weissach with the driver team made up of Porsche works driver Jörg Bergmeister (Langenfeld/ Germany), Marco Holzer (Lochau/ Germany) and Patrick Long (USA) became eleventh. “We’ve made good progress with the version 2011”, said Hartmut Kristen, Head of Porsche Motorsport. “We will collect further valuable data at another race of the VLN Langstreckenmeisterschaft Nürburgring.”
With is second win in the very strong class of VLN Specials up to 2000cc cubic capacity with turbo engines, Maik Rosenberg (Attendorn/ Germany) has now moved into the Championship lead. He was driving the Volkswagen Scirocco of the team LMS Engineering together with Peter Terting. Into second championship position after two of ten races are Carsten Knechtges (Mayen/ Germany), Manuel Metzger (Rickenbach-Hütten/ Germany) and Tim Scheerbarth (Dormagen/ Germany), who on their part dominated the class of VLN standard production cars up to 3000cc cylinder capacity with their BMW Z4 of Black Falcon for the second time now.
With the 42nd Adenauer ADAC Rundstrecken-Trophy race in two weeks time, the first of two 6 Hour Races of the season is on the calendar. So on 14th May, the successful story of the most popular endurance racing championship will continue.
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