Last minute call turns into epic four hours drive in mixed conditions! What a weekend and what a race! On Thursday night I was ready to enjoy my weekend off when the phone rang, Bernhard Mühlner on the other side asking me if I was available for the weekend. Few moments later I was in the Mühlner Motorsport trailer getting briefed about the upcoming task, I would be driving the full VLN distance alone with the goal of helping my sister car #979 to win the championship. The car would be the #969 Cayman GT4 Clubsport, slightly different than the MR I normally drive but most importantly driving on completely different tires in the CUP 3 class. This is arguably one of the toughest most competitive classes and on Friday I managed to squeeze just a few kilometres due to mixed weather on the Nordschleife. Saturday came and I basically had to jump into it head first in qualifying trying to do my best. I went out early but the track was not really 100% dry so I had a second attempt later in the session that would put me P3 in class just 2,5 seconds behind P1. Considering I lost almost 4 seconds in traffic it was looking pretty good until the news came that I would be penalised for a yellow flag infringement and I would get a 5 places grid drop. Not the end of the world but less than ideal. When the race started I took it somewhat easy on the first corner and made up only a couple of spots before settling in. The first stint was a short 5 laps dash and by the end of it I was P3 around 15 seconds behind the leader. It was pretty infuriating as I was quicker than the leaders but I kept getting stuck in slow traffic in the Code 60 zones and that costed a lot of time every lap. Still, I kept my head down as we decided to double stint the same set of tires and kept going for it. Now off sequence, I had no clear reference compared to the other guys and just pushed as hard as I could, then it started raining. Together with the team we opted to stay out on slicks despite the track conditions. It would keep raining and stopping and raining again for the next two hours and it was really fun to push the car in such tricky conditions. By the time I had to come in for the last pit-stop the team gave me a quick update of the standings. I was sitting P8 overall, in front of all the Porsche GT3 Cup cars and among the SP9 GT3s with almost a five minutes gap to the second place in class, my sister car #979. The team released me again on track for another couple of laps before I got pulled in the pits to wait for my the sister car to drive by, we then drove the last lap together for a parade finish. I will not lie, I wanted to win the race and I felt I deserved it but the whole point was to help my team mates and so I did. I have to thank again Bernhard and all the guys from Mühlner Motorsport for the chance, the trust and for giving me a great car to drive, I am very happy the team won the CUP 3 championship, fully deserved! It was a lot of fun, hope to do it again! No more VLNs planned, but that’s what I thought after VLN 7 also, so let’s wait and see!
Get all the pictures from the weekend HERE