Past Sunday the Qualification Race was held at the Nüruburgring. The Event was the last Test before the 24h Race in 5 weeks.
The event took place over two days and started with Training sessions on Saturday. Saturdays Highlight was the first Qualy session that led into the dawn to give a first taste of the conditions for the brave competitors.
After the second Qualifying held on Sunday Morning it was then the 30 fastest cars to start in a single shoot out to make out Pole Position. It was the #6 AMG GT3 from Black Falcon Racing to ensure Pole Position for the local team.
The Race endured six hours and was started at 12:00 o´clock. About 100 Starters went into the race.
Fatal Crash on Saturday
But before the event found its preliminary highlight for Mercedes with the Pole Position there was a shocking moment for the German noble brand on Saturday.
It was Manuel Metzger in his AMG GT3 from Black Falcon to enter a wet track in the training. Approaching the track section “Steilstrecke”, the corner before the famous “Caracciola Karussell”, losing control of his car ending up in the barriers.
The second Driver to arrive was Dominik Baumann, also driving an AMG GT3, who couldn´t react fast enough and crashed into the already beached Merc of Manuel Metzger.
Furthermore, it was a Manthey Porsche which was also involved in the incident. Whilst Kevin Estre could bring back his bolide to the pits, it was not just the Training but the whole weekend being finished for the two Mercedes AMG GT3.
Even worse: Both Drives of the AMGs was brought to the Hospital. Manuel Metzger could leave the Hospital a day later but Dominik Baumann incurred several bone fractures and will stay several days at the Hospital.
Best wishes to both Pilots and have a speedy recovery so that we can see you soon again fighting the Green Hell.
Hard Battles at Sunday
As the race was started the battle for positions immediately rages on. A lot of hard but fair fights took place and left battle scars every now and then at the contender´s cars.
The spectators were able to see narrow manoeuvers especially in the first hours of the race. One of the bravest moves took place at the end of the long Straight “Döttinger Höhe” when the Factory backed Audi from Phonix Racing drove side by side with the #101 BMW M6 from Walkenhorst to overtake him in the “Hohenrain” Chicane closely followed by another M6 of Rowe Racing.
During the first hours, it was hard to follow the advancement of the position fights and it was not easy to tell who was leading the race as it seemed to change constantly.
While Audi led the race in lap one from BMW it was soon after an M6 in the lead and it was clear that the Porsches of Manthey Racing played a big role in the striving for glory. But also the Nissans seemed to have found a good performance at the Green Hell and one can be eager to see what they can do end of June when the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race will take place.
A Comeback was held by Peter Posavac who brought back the BMW Z4 GT3 the first time this year with the support from Walkenhorst Motorsport. Zetti showed himself in an adorable new dress and showed a surprisingly strong performance at the start of the race when it was driven by former BMW Factory Drive Jörg Müller bringing his battle cry to the leading group.
Another, way more surprising Comeback was the return of the Wochenspiegel Team Monschau with 2 Ferrari 488 GT3.
After the short notice at the start of the season that the engine Power of all GT3 Cars had to be reduced from 5% for Safety Reasons, a mandatory measure to receive again FIA approval for the Nordschleife, it was decided by the team to stay away from VLN and the 24h Race originally.
But the wish grew strong within the Team owner to celebrate his Birthday at the very weekend of the 24h Race at the Green Hell and it was decided to enter two Cars for the Qualification Race and the 24h Race itself.
The Future will tell if we will see them at VLN also again.
Glory for BMW
An intense Race found a suitable, unnerving finish. Being close to the end of the six-hour-long race the picture came clear that this was the day of BMW.
With the last pit stops being held only 50 minutes to race end it was then two BMW M6 in the first two positions. The #99 from Rowe Racing, with Jesse Krohn at the Driving Wheel, was leading Christian Krognes in Walkenhorsts M6.
Entering the Track again Christian Krognes started his Hunt for the Rowe M6. He truly showed his naturally speed and expertise at the Green Hell. Being clearly faster, the gap between both melted during the remaining 43 minutes several seconds every lap.
He crowned his hunt eventually as was able to conquer the lead and crossed the finish line as the well-deserved winner.
As the #98 Rowe M6 had to serve a penalty stop in the pits of one minute and thirty eight seconds at the beginning of the last hour it looked like the third podium step would go to Manthey Racing.
But a problem short to race end forced them to stop again at the pits and it was then decided not to go back to the track.
This resulted in a 1-2-3 Victory for the Bavarian brand.
On the fourth place, it was the first Porsche from a Mercedes and the Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus finishing sixth. On the ninth place we can find the best Nissan, showing that they are on the right way for the 24hours at the Nürburgring.
Best Audi was the factory-backed car from Phoenix Racing on Position 8.
The diversity of Brands in the Top 10 leaves the impression that the BOP will ensure a close race in June. And that will only leave us being eager for the Season Highlight coming from the 20th to 23rd of June 2019.