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VLN, 36th DMV Münsterlandpokal – Race Report
Audi Wins The Finalé, Black Falcon Takes The Championship

Event Gallery Here - Photography By Soren Herweg

The new champions in the VLN endurance racing championship are Carsten Knechtges, Manuel Metzger and Tim Scheerbarth; the young driver-trio securing the third title for the Black Falcon racing team from Kelberg in the Eifel region. Two further trophies were awarded to the team as, in addition to the championship title, Knechtges, Metzger and Scheerbarth also won the VLN series Production Cup as well as the VLN Junior Trophy.

In bright sunshine, Marc Basseng, Christopher Mies and Michael Ammermüller celebrated the second victory for an Audi R8 LMS. Basseng took the chequered flag 59.225 seconds ahead of second placed Chris Mamerow and Armin Hahne in the SLS AMG GT3 entered by Mamerow-Racing. The top three was completed by Edward Sandström, Nico Bastian and Hendrik Vieth who scored their second podium finish in 2011 for the BMW Z4 GT3 of the team Need for Speed Team Schubert.

With their third triumph, Black Falcon has now caught up to the established VLN team Bonk Motorsport who have also scored three titles so far. “Fantastic,” said team manager Alex Böhm, who was himself racing in the champion teams in 2008 and 2009. “We did of course start the season thinking that we might not be totally without chances in the fight for the championship. That our guys however finally won in such a superior manner – we would never have expected that regarding the high level of competition throughout the year. A fantastic result for Carsten, Manuel and Tim, and for the whole of our team as well of course as they have worked so hard for this result.”

For the three youngsters, the winning of the championship title is a first big milestone in their motorsport career. “It is of utmost importance for me to be on top of the podium at the end of the endurance racing season,” said Scheerbarth, while Metzger added; “We have left behind us quite a number of experienced race drivers, and this at the most beautiful and most demanding track of the world.”

The possibilities which will now open up for the new champions are well demonstrated by the career of Christer Jöns, who won the junior classification with Black Falcon twice in a row. In 2011, Jöns competed in the ADAC GT Masters for the Audi Team Abt Sportsline. “I am looking forward to see how things will now develop,” said Knechtges. “I hope that after this fantastic success, I will be able to find a good cockpit again for next season.”

Having received the symbolic start number 1 from the two VLN managing directors Dietmar Busch and Karl Mauer at the season finalé, Knechtes, Metzger and Scheerbarth will also be awarded their winners’ trophies on 10th December at the Dorint Hotel Nürburgring during the big VLN annual prizegiving ceremony. The two Renault Clio drivers Dominik Brinkmann and Stephan Epp will then also be honoured for their second place in the final championship standings. Last year’s champions, Bonk-Motorsport's Mario Merten and Wolf Silvester, finished third in the championship.

After starting from pole position, the Manthey Porsche of Lucas Luhr and Marc Lieb, which had achieved two victories recently, had to retire after 14 laps; Luhr complaining about a lack of drive. Bastian, in the Schubert Z4, temporarily went into the lead; “It was a great feeling to lead the race in my first participation with a GT3 car,” said the newly-crowned winner of the Mini Challenge. “The Z4 is a really great race car and I had great fun with it at the Nordschleife – and it makes you want more.”

Due to a variation in the pit strategy, the Phoenix Team finally took over the lead which they kept until the four hours race distance had elapsed. “This victory is a true result for Audi”, said Basseng. “Many people have put a lot of energy into this project and they now really deserve to celebrate this success. For me, the race was anything but easy in the end – I had to push very hard.”

The Mamerow SLS was not able to match the pace of the R8. “Another second place at the finalé of the season is fantastic,” said Hahne.

“Of course, we would have liked to finish on top of the podium but the Audi was simply too strong today.” Behind the top three, Mike Stursberg and Richard Westbrook in the Haribo-Porsche salvaged some honour for the Mathey Team. The ROWE-Racing SLS AMG of Alexander Roloff, Hubert Haupt and Roland Rehfeld fifth after 28 race laps.