BLACK FALCON scores three podiums at VLN round 2
The second race of the 2017 VLN championship has concluded, with six of Team BLACK FALCON’s seven entries completing the gruelling four-hour event, bringing home three class podiums whilst only just missing out on the overall top three.
The crew of the #6 Mercedes-AMG Team Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3 put in a superlative performance across the four hours and 28 lap race, with a maximum attack attitude that saw them come so close to spraying champagne at race end, and the BLACK FALCON Team TMD Friction V6-class 911s and SP10 Cayman added to the team’s already impressive trophy cabinet.
Ahead of the event there was a minor change in driver line-up for Team BLACK FALCON’s season-long entry, #7, as Abdulaziz Al Faisal (Saudi Arabia) had to drop out of the weekend at the last moment, so the trio of Hubert Haupt (Germany), DTM star Dani Juncadella (Spain) and Luca Stolz (Germany) started that Mercedes. The other two Mercedes-AMG GT3s were entered under the Mercedes-AMG Team Black Falcon banner: #6 comprised Adam Christodoulou (United Kingdom), Manuel Metzger (Germany) and Yelmer Buurman (Netherlands); the trio of Maro Engel (Germany), Thomas Jäger (Germany) and Jan Seyffarth (Germany) would be racing in #9, featuring the iconic Bilstein livery.
Four of BLACK FALCON Team TMD Friction’s Porsches took part in VLN 2. In SP7, the #57 Porsche 991 Cup crew comprised Jürgen Bleul (Germany), ‘Takis’ (Switzerland) and Carsten Knechtges (Germany). Saud Al Faisal (Saudi Arabia), Thomas Bolz (Germany) and Olaf Schlüter (Germany) drove the #394 Porsche Carrera, and they were joined in the V6 class by Mustafa Mehmet Kaya (Turkey) and Gabriele Piana (Italy), who moved across from their regular SP10 Porsche Cayman GT4. That left a solo Cayman entry, #172, featuring Ronny Lethmate (Germany), Aurel Schoeller (Germany) and Alex Toril (Spain).
The chill of the early morning lifted for Qualifying, which was once again held in surprisingly warm conditions, with just a smattering of light cloud covering the Nürburgring area. At the end of the hour and a half session, the highest placed Team BLACK FALCON Mercedes was the #6 crew in 11th overall, just three seconds off pole position, after some excellent laps from Manuel, Adam and Yelmer. Just a couple of tenths of a second behind was #7, lining up 14th, with #9 back in 29th after a challenging session.
As the clock ticked over midday the initial wave of GT3 cars powered through Tiergarten and down to the start-line, spreading out four and five wide down to the tight first corner. Yelmer in #6 made an absolutely stunning start, muscling in amongst the cars ahead as the scrum negotiated the opening arena section, emerging in eighth. Behind him, Hubert and Thomas in other two Mercedes also made good starts, maintaining position around the first lap before taking to the Nordschleife for the first time. Just a minute or so late, the second wave flooded across the start-line, with the BLACK FALCON Team TMD Friction Porsches right in the thick of the action.
With almost 190 cars taking the start, in just two laps Team BLACK FALCON’s Mercedes and the leading GT3s were amongst the back-markers, having to thread the eye of the needle as they battled round the narrow confines of the Nordschleife. The first hour featured the usual breathless action, the drivers having to work non-stop before heading into the pits as the end of the first hour neared. As the stops shook out, all cars were still running strongly: the highlights for the team were that #6 was running in the top 10 overall, #172 was third in the SP10 class and #420 second in V6. As the race headed towards the mid-point, #6 was in the thick of the fight for the podium; the other two Mercedes fighting their way through the top 20 and the team’s Porsches all in strong positions for their respective classes.
The on-board footage from the cars was stunning: the action relentless throughout the four hours. Small incidents around the track occasionally interrupted the flow, bunching up cars and creating even more hazards as the faster cars fought through the slower traffic. As the race came to a close and the chequered flag flew, the #6 crew would claim an excellent seventh place overall, having inexorably battled their way forward from their starting position. The #7 crew crossed the line in 14th, whilst #9 made up 13 places during the race and claimed 16th. Unfortunately the #57 Porsche suffered damage in an incident halfway through the race, so didn’t make the finish, but the other three BLACK FALCON Team TMD Friction Porsches all claimed class podiums. #420 took second in V6, with their sister car #394 just behind in third; in the SP10 category, #172 took a fantastic second place.
The team leave VLN 2 satisfied with the results, but of course wanting more. There will be a slight pause for their VLN campaign, however, as attention now switches to the marathon Nürburgring 24 Hours that takes place next month. The next race will be the Qualifying Race for that event, taking place in two weeks time, ahead of a month-long break to allow for the immense preparation the round-the-clock classic requires.
Work won’t stop for the team or the drivers: you can support Team BLACK FALCON across all social media platforms: follow the team via twitter.com/TeamBlackFalcon, facebook.com/teamblackfalcon/ and instagram.com/teamblackfalcon to get live action updates direct from the tracks, as well as fantastic images of the team in action.
RACE DATES VLN 2017:
VLN 3: 24 June (59. ADAC ACAS H&R-Cup)
VLN 4: 08 July (47. Adenauer ADAC Worldpeace Trophy)
VLN 5: 19 August (ROWE 6 Hour ADAC Ruhr-Pokal-Rennen)
VLN 6: 02 September (40. RCM DMV Grenzlandrennen)
VLN 7: 23 September (57. ADAC Reinoldus-Langstreckenrennen)
VLN 8: 07 October (49. ADAC Barbarossapreis)
VLN 9: 21 October (42. DMV Münsterlandpokal)
Nürburgring 24 Hours
ADAC 6-Hour Qualifying Race: 22-23 April
ADAC Zurich 24-Hour Race: 25-28 May