Germany’s Marc Hennerici, joined by Marc Goossens (BEL) and Xavier Maassen (NLD) in the ProSpeed Competition Porsche No.75 won a thrilling Blancpain Endurance Series fifth round at the Nürburgring today.
Goossens fended off a persistent challenge from Dutchman Jeroen Bleekemolen in the Black Falcon Mercedes No.18 to win by just 0.521s, the closest winning margin in the history of the championship.
Hennerici started the ProSpeed Competition Porsche 911 GT3 R from seventh on the grid but dived up the inside of the pack at the first corner chased by China’s Cheng Congfu in the Black Falcon Mercedes.
Hennerici led to the first round of pit stops where the Porsche was jumped by the Black Falcon Mercedes who got Mike Parisy (FRA) into the race ahead of Maassen.
Behind was drama as the championship-leading Marc VDS Racing BMW No.3 with Finland’s Markus Palttala at the wheel, was hit by Frenchman Dino Lunardi in the Sainteloc Racing Audi R8 LMS ultra No.40 and speared off into the barrier. With chassis damage the car was out on the spot.
"What can I say, I'm gutted for the whole team. We had the pace to win here today and we were in a pretty good position to do exactly that,” a disappointed Palttala said.
“At the chicane I was defending my position when I felt the hit from behind; the next thing I know I'm in the tyre wall and we're out of the race. I haven't seen the footage, so I don't know exactly what happened, but for us it is the worst case scenario.
“We leave here with no points, which means we face an even tougher battle for the championship next time out at Navarra."
ProSpeed got its car back ahead on the last round of pit stops with Goossens ahead of Bleekemolen, who relentlessly chipped away at the gap over the final 45 minutes.
For the last 20 minutes the cars were less than a second apart, but with his front tyres deteriorating, Bleekemolen could never quite find an opportunity to pass Goossens.
Hennerici, who also played a major part in the organization of the event, was delighted with the result. “I am so pleased, in the previous sessions yesterday it was going badly and I was thinking last night that it was going to go badly today but we’ve done really well. The team set up the car nicely and it was a pleasure to drive,” he said.
Maassen added: “The race was tough but our start was incredible, Marc put the car from seventh to first, unbelievable. So he put the pressure on and when the Safety Car was out we lost a bit of time but it was OK.
“We’ve been pushing so hard all year in the championship but at some tracks we’ve been unlucky but today it’s great to see our hard work pay off. We’re going to celebrate for sure.”
Parisy paid tribute to co-driver Congfu Cheng for his lightning start in the No.18 Mercedes. “Great job from the team, great job from the Mercedes. It was a great result,” he said.
“Like the ProSpeed team, we had a great start from our Chinese rocket. Congfu put us in a good position and a good place to fight for victory.”
Third place went to the Vita4One BMW No.66 trio of Frank Kechele (DEU) Mathias Lauda (AUT) and Greg Franchi (BEL).
The Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi R8 LMS ultra No.1 of Stephane Ortelli (MON), Christopher Mies (DEU) Christopher Haase (DEU) was fourth to move to within three points of their Marc VDS No.3 rivals in the championship.
It was a successful all-round weekend for Black Falcon with victory in the PRO-AM class courtesy of Britons Sean Edwards and Oliver Morley and Luxembourg’s Steve Jans in the No.19 Mercedes.
Edwards grabbed the lead of the class half an hour from home to secure their maiden win.
The final moments of the race played havoc with Morley’s nerves. “This was the best win of my career and it was an amazing experience. I was so nervous by the end of the race when Sean [Edwards] was in the car that I actually went and hid in the truck,” he said.
“It’s been a long season for us and to be here now on the podium is special, we’ve really dragged the car up and learnt a lot. All the teams and all the drivers are very talented and it’s brilliant to be involved in this great series.”
Second was the No.34 PRO GT by Almeras Porsche of Frenchmen Henry Hassid and Anthony Beltoise.
Duncan Tappy (GBR) and Gregoire Demoustier (FRA) took third in the ART Grand Prix McLaren No.12.
Valentino Rossi, making his second appearance in the Blancpain Endurance, finished ninth in class in the Kessel Racing Ferrari along with compatriots Alessio Salucci and Andrea Ceccato.
Rossi drove the first stint but spent some of it behind the Safety Car after an incident involving the pole-sitting Blancpain Reiter Lamborghini No.24.
Nonetheless the nine-time motorcycle world champion proved his growing GT pedigree by mixing it at the front of the pack.
“I enjoyed the race a lot. I had to slow down for the Safety Car so I was hoping for some more racing time but I intend to do more in the future,” he said.
“We will try to organize do some more races next season if we can fit it in the schedule. I really want to thank Kessel Racing for all their help.”
In the Gentlemen Trophy, the Exagon Engineering Porsche of Christian Kelders (BEL) Daniel Desbrueres (FRA) scored their second win on the season.
The early exit of the Marc VDS BMW No.3 means that both championships will go to the wire at Navarra, Spain on 13 October.
About Blancpain: Over 275 years of tradition in motion
Founded in 1735 by Jehan-Jacques Blancpain, the watch brand bearing is name is the oldest in the world. Blancpain is currently engaged in a long-term commitment to the renewal of mechanical watchmaking and to passing on exceptional expertise from one generation to the next through constant investment in human resources, production facilities and research.
From the creation of components through to watch design, Blancpain is distinguished by its ability to develop exceptional movements. Over the past seven years, the Manufacture in Le Brassus has indeed developed no less than 22 new calibres.
Through its various models, Blancpain preserves its heritage of precision and elegance, while also displaying an innovative and occasionally provocative spirit. Its range encompasses the daring L-evolution line, the legendary Fifty Fathoms diver’s watch, as well as the classic Villeret collection and the Blancpain Women models.
The sports enthusiasts’ watch: Chronographe Flyback à Rattrapante Grande Date
While remaining loyal to its fundamental values, Blancpain quite naturally associates with the world of fine automotive mechanical engineering, since the key values of precision, reliability and sturdiness are required and shared by both cars and watches.
The bezel, caseback, dial and even the cap of the folding clasp are all made of carbon fibre and represent technical accomplishments vividly reflecting Blancpain’s innovative strength. To highlight the sporting nature of the new L-evolutionR, a digital font displays the large date as well as the 3 and 9 o’clock numerals, while the shape of the pushpiece at 8 o’clock resembles a fuel tank cap.
When the chronograph is in action, the movement with its column wheel and vertical coupling-clutch ensures excellent precision. Two major horological complications offer additionally useful functions: the split-second chronograph enables a split-time read-off, while the flyback function serves to instantly reset and restart the chronograph.
The black alcanatara strap is equipped with carbon fibre inserts evoking the latest technological evolutions in racing car design.
Nurburgring FIA, Length: 5148 m
Blancpain Endurance Series
BLANCPAIN Timing www.blancpain-endurance-series.com
Air temperature: 12.7°C
Track temperature: 14.0°C
Weather condition: Dry
Sunday 23.9.2012 14:30
started : 46 classified : 38 not classified : 8
1 75 PRO Goossens/Maassen/Hennerici Prospeed Competition(BEL) Porsche 997 GT3 R 86 3:01:00.965 146,7 1:59.765 58
2 18 PRO Cheng/Parisy/Bleekemolen Black Falcon(DEU) Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 86 3:01:01.486 0.521 146,7 1:59.472 62
3 66 PRO Franchi/Lauda/Kechele Vita4one Racing Team(DEU) BMW Z4 86 3:01:19.877 18.912 146,5 1:59.732 60
4 1 PRO Haase/Mies/Ortelli Belgian Audi Club Team WRT(BELA)udi R8 LMS Ultra 86 3:01:35.888 34.923 146,3 2:00.312 61
5 40 PRO Hirschi/Guilvert/Lunardi Sainteloc Racing(FRA) Audi R8 LMS Ultra 86 3:01:38.471 37.506 146,2 1:59.785 31
6 19 PAM Morley/Jans/Edwards Black Falcon(DEU) Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 86 3:01:53.569 52.604 146,0 1:59.190 58
7 2 PRO Bonanomi/Sandstroem/Vanthoor Belgian Audi Club Team WRT(BELA)udi R8 LMS Ultra 86 3:01:58.303 57.338 146,0 2:00.096 55
8 4 PRO Longin/Hezemans/Moser Marc VDS Racing Team(BEL) BMW Z4 86 3:02:33.344 1:32.379 145,5 2:00.299 59
9 34 PAM Hassid/Beltoise Pro GT by Almeras(FRA) Porsche 997 GT3 R 86 3:02:42.106 1:41.141 145,4 1:59.585 56
10 5 PRO Ara/Verdonck/Franchitti Boutsen-Ginion Racing(BEL) McLaren MP4-12C 86 3:02:49.990 1:49.025 145,3 2:00.625 68
11 12 PAM Demoustier/Tappy ART Grand Prix(FRA) McLaren MP4-12C 86 3:02:57.087 1:56.122 145,2 1:59.921 59
12 20 PAM Goueslard/Beaubelique/Badey SOFREV ASP(FRA) Ferrari 458 Italia 86 3:03:04.212 2:03.247 145,1 1:59.627 54
13 13 PRO Ludwig/Primat/Rast Phoenix Racing(DEU) Audi R8 LMS Ultra 85 3:01:02.056 1 LAP 145,0 1:58.659 54
14 74 PAM Derdaele/van Splunteren/Soulet Prospeed Competition(BEL) Porsche 997 GT3 R 85 3:01:13.133 1 LAP 144,9 2:00.092 30
15 89 PRO Latinne/Dupont/Verbergt GPR Racing(BEL) Aston Martin V12 Vantage 85 3:02:01.073 1 LAP 144,2 2:01.066 61
16 37 PAM Habets/Danyliw/Knap DB Motorsport(NLD) BMW Z4 85 3:02:12.511 1 LAP 144,1 2:00.668 9
17 30 PAM Belshaw/Wilkins/Christodoulou GT3 Racing(GBR) Audi R8 LMS 85 3:02:22.402 1 LAP 144,0 2:00.919 61
18 21 PAM Cameron/Griffin MTech Motor Sport(GBR) Ferrari 458 Italia 85 3:02:25.167 1 LAP 143,9 2:00.082 26
19 46 PAM Salucci/Ceccato/Rossi Kessel Racing(CHE) Ferrari 458 Italia 85 3:02:30.345 1 LAP 143,9 2:01.494 7
20 79 PAM Smith/Twyman/Millroy Ecurie Ecosse(GBR) BMW Z4 85 3:02:31.316 1 LAP 143,8 2:00.240 63
21 17 PAM Andersen/Jensen Insight Racing(USA) Ferrari 458 Italia 85 3:02:53.034 1 LAP 143,6 2:01.050 52
22 8 PAM Riegel/Stursberg/Westbrook Haribo Racing Team(DEU) Porsche 997 GT3 R 85 3:02:59.312 1 LAP 143,5 2:00.094 53
23 33 PAM Dermont/Tuchbant/Leclerc Pro GT by Almeras(FRA) Porsche 997 GT3 R 84 3:01:14.958 2LAPS 143,2 2:00.992 27
24 42 PAM Lanchere/O Brien/Despinasse Sport Garage(FRA) Ferrari 458 Italia 84 3:02:21.466 2LAPS 142,3 2:01.137 57
25 51 PAM Ardagna Perez/Brown/Ciro AF Corse(ITA) Ferrari 458 Italia 84 3:03:01.698 2LAPS 141,8 2:01.576 30
26 72 PAM Bruneau/Gosselin/Rostan Kessel Racing(CHE) Ferrari 458 Italia 84 3:03:06.766 2LAPS 141,7 2:02.488 30
27 15 PAM Mondron/Thiry Boutsen-Ginion Racing(BEL) McLaren MP4-12C 83 3:01:24.965 3LAPS 141,3 2:00.772 26
28 60 PAM Draper/Draper/Jelley Von Ryan Racing(GBR) McLaren MP4-12C 83 3:01:38.953 3LAPS 141,1 2:00.500 54
29 49 PAM Mallegol/Blank/Bachelier AF Corse(ITA) Ferrari 458 Italia 82 3:01:14.758 4LAPS 139,7 2:02.421 30
30 69 PAM Goethe/Hall Gulf Racing UK(GBR) McLaren MP4-12C 82 3:01:41.250 4LAPS 139,4 2:00.880 54
31 9 PAM Wainwright/Bell Gulf Racing UK(GBR) McLaren MP4-12C 82 3:02:12.138 4LAPS 139,0 1:59.768 7
32 83 PRO Clement/Pla/Armindo SMG Challenge(FRA) Porsche 997 GT3 R 81 2:52:14.400 5LAPS 145,3 1:59.748 57
33 71 PRO Rigon/Gattuso/Zampieri Kessel Racing(CHE) Ferrari 458 Italia 81 3:01:05.020 5LAPS 138,2 1:59.295 57
34 58 GTR Desbrueres/Kelders Exagon Engineering(BEL) Porsche 997 GT3 R 81 3:03:00.232 5LAPS 136,7 2:05.232 39
35 88 PAM Price/Groger/Barff Von Ryan Racing(GBR) McLaren MP4-12C 75 2:59:39.448 11LAPS 128,9 2:01.216 8
36 31 GTR Cabannes/Michal/Thuner Ruffier Racing(FRA) Lamborghini LP520+ 70 2:38:38.060 16LAPS 136,3 2:03.600 56
37 10 PAM Ricci/Balthazard/Policand SOFREV ASP(FRA) Ferrari 458 Italia 69 2:32:49.525 17LAPS 139,5 2:00.693 60
38 50 PAM Gerber/Ide/Cioci AF Corse(ITA) Ferrari 458 Italia 67 3:02:12.771 19LAPS 113,6 2:01.134 52
98 GTR Brunstedt/Bender/Roos JB Motorsport(SWE) Audi R8 LMS 56 3:01:51.475 30LAPS 95,1 2:02.902 8
90 PAM Jones/Jones Preci-Spark(GBR) Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 51 1:52:19.113 35LAPS 140,3 2:02.085 30
41 GTR Hissom/Hirschi/Giauque Sainteloc Racing(FRA) Audi R8 LMS 48 1:52:55.862 38LAPS 131,3 2:05.857 30
52 PAM Hommerson/Machiels/Bertolini AF Corse(ITA) Ferrari 458 Italia 40 1:37:45.912 46LAPS 126,4 2:01.760 7
3 PRO Leinders/Palttala/Martin Marc VDS Racing Team(BEL) BMW Z4 36 1:18:44.726 50LAPS 141,2 2:00.636 4
36 PAM Garofano/Bastian/den Boer DB Motorsport(NLD) BMW Z4 32 1:10:36.017 54LAPS 140,0 2:00.929 28
24 PAM Hayek/Kox Blancpain - Reiter(DEU) Lamborghini Gallardo LP600+ 15 30:55.425 71LAPS 149,8 2:01.917 12
57 PAM Amos/Petrobelli/Bonacini Vita4one Team Italy(ITA) Ferrari 458 Italia 10 21:05.530 76LAPS 146,4 2:00.372 6
Fastest lap of the race. Car 13 driver Rast on lap 54. Time 1:58.659, average speed 156,2 km/h.
Cameron Kelleher Media Delegate.
Photos: © Markus Berns / SRO