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VLN, 59th ADAC Westfalenfahrt – Race Report
BMW Z4 Takes The Win

Race Gallery - Photography by Sören Herweg

In recent years the VLN victories were mainly taken by BMW, Audi and Porsche, but at the 2012 opening round, the 59th ADAC Westfalenfahrt, only one of them saw the chequered flag without any problems. After securing the pole position in the morning qualifying session the Falken-Motorsport Porsche was able to take the lead from the start, with Wolf Henzler heading the pack for the first few laps of the four-hour race.

The works driver was closely followed by fellow Porsche employee Romain Dumas in the pine stripe Manthey-Porsche, and Marco Holzer in the Wochenspiegel Porsche; but all three cars were out of contention after the first round of pit stops, with lengthy stops for problems in the area of the driveshafts.

The Phoenix-Racing Audi R8 LMS of Frank Stippler, Christopher Haase and Markus Winkelhock was able to take the lead, but this didn’t last long as the R8 crashed during sudden rain. The same fate also befell the Phoenix-sister R8 LMS Ultra of René Rast and Oliver Jarvis. After both of the Audis were out of contention, the way was all clear for the BMW Z4 GT3 of BMW Team Schubert, and the team from Oschersleben was able to celebrate their victory much earlier than anticipated - the race being stopped after little more than 160 minutes because of heavy fog.

“We got lucky today, as we changed onto the rain tires early enough,” said a very relieved Jörg Müller after the race. “But in the end the decision to halt the race was the right one - from the GP-track until the Flugplatz section there was almost no visibility!”

The newly-founded Timbuli Racing team was able to finish on the podium in their first VLN-race; the trio of Marc Hennerici, Dennis Busch and Norbert Siedler keeping their Porsche 911 GT3 R out of trouble and thus were able to finish the race; “What a start to our Timbuli Racing project, everyone in the team kept their head cool during these intense minutes,” said a smiling Marc Hennerici after the race. “Even though Norbert didn’t get to drive the Porsche, I have a feeling we are on the right path.”

The third and final place on the podium went to the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup of Manthey-Racing. Up until the red flag only Christian Menzel stayed in the car, which definitely was the key to their success; “Before our second pit stop I decided to stay in the car because I didn’t want to turn the car over to my co-driver Wolfgang [Kohler] in such difficult conditions,” said Menzel. With a Porsche Cup car, to be on the overall podium is quite an achievement.”

The VLN race debut of the new McLaren MP4-12C GT3 wasn’t a success. Chris Goodwin crashed the car on the first lap of the race and the second car was involved in an accident a few laps later. The Vita4One team, which was preparing for a 24 hours assault, had brought two Z4 GT3s to the Nürburgring; one of the cars was taken out in a crash while the other suffered technical problems.

The next round of the VLN takes place on April 14th.

Race result - here

Race Gallery - Photography by Sören Herweg

Sören Herweg