VLN - DMV-4-Stunden-Rennen
The sun still shines over the Eifel. In pleasant spring weather,
the Lords of the Ring reconvened to match their skills for the second
time of the season, in the 29th running of the DMV-4-Stunden-Rennen.
In front of some 20,000
spectators, the race would be between the privateers that are the
lifeblood of this championship. No factory teams were present, with
Audi and Opel on DTM duty in Hockenheim, and BMW Team Schnitzer
in action in the ETCC. Others were doing double duty: the Alzen
Vitaphone team rolled out its Porsche 996, looking for a "double"
on the weekend. With Uwe Alzen and Michael Bartels busy at that
other little race in Spain, Jürgen Alzen and Arno Klasen were
the drivers of the turbocharged Porsche, which in the entry list
is called the "GTII" (they dare not call it "GT2"),
but affectionately known to everyone as the "Alien".
so distinctive it has been awarded a nickname by the Nordschleife
punters is the "Diva", Dolate Motorsport's BMW M3, an
E30-series car with a history that goes back to the early 1990s.
This veteran of many battles was on its way to the mortuary, but
the team instead decided for a heart transplant: a 4l V8 engine,
in the same old ex-DTM chassis. This brings the car into a different
category, where the minimum weight is almost 300kgs higher than
what they have been running so far. A hefty penalty to pay for the
additional power, torque, and, so they hope, reliability. Regular
driver Artur Deutgen would share this rejuvenated car with Marc
Hennerici and Werner Fischer. Deutgen's promising career in touring
car racing in the early '80s was effectively ruined by a foray into
Formula 3, where he could not match the speed of people like Bernd
Schneider and Volker Weidler, and missed the move into the booming
DTM. Another man whose career has not gone according to plan is
Marc Basseng, a former Porsche Junior who has found competitive
drives hard to come by in the years since his departure from the
Stuttgart marque. In his debut in the championship, he undertook
to drive this four hour race on his own, in the 996 GT3-RS of Land
The Alzen Porsche claimed
pole position and led the 147 car field across the line and into
the race, the immaculately turned-out, Jaguar-bodied V8STAR car
never far behind and comfortably matching its pace, and the private
Opel Astra V8 of Andreas and Ralf Schall in third. These three remained
out in front throughout the early part of the race; behind them,
positions were swapped and swapped again until the top six presented
themselves in the same running order as they had been at the start.
It was at this
point that things started to liven up a bit. First, a tyre blew
on the leading Alzen Porsche. Damage to the right front corner led
to a lengthy repair stop, but the car would rejoin. The first round
of regular pit stops reshuffled the leaderboard a bit, and the Schall
Opel took the lead of a race for the first time. Then the power
steering on this car failed, and they decided to try and sort out
the problem, rather than rely on an "intermittent" power
steering on this twisty track, and so lost over an hour in the pits.
Still, they took with them the knowledge that their car has race-winning
At the halfway mark,
the V8STAR Jaguar of Dirk Adorf, Ulrich Galladé, and Hermann
"Hairpin" Tilke was in control, with the V8-powered Scheid
BMW (Oliver Kainz / Johannes Scheid / Mario Merten) in second place,
and the 996 "MR" of Kern / Lambrecht / Renger in third.
The Porsche was one of several cars in this race campaigned by Olaf
Manthey, who has sold his turbocharged 996 to a Belcar team and
is instead concentrating on the development of a normally aspirated
"Special" for the 24 Hours. That car is not yet ready
to race, but the Manthey Racing customers defended their team's
honour admirably. The 996 entered unter the KDW banner then came
under pressure from the Zakspeed Viper driven by Nordschleife instructor
Markus Grossmann. In the mean time, the "Diva" had long
since retired to her dressing room with an electronics-related engine
went from bad to worse for the Alzen crew as the turbo Porsche,
with Arno Klasen at the wheel, made contact with a retaining wall
at Breidscheid, not far from the spot of Niki Lauda's fiery 1976
crash. It seems that again, a tyre let go. The Alzen car has a new
tyre supplier this year, which also happens to be the series' main
sponsor. Klasen at least managed to perform a "controlled crash";
and so thankfully, the Porsche was the only one to sustain injuries,
along perhaps with the tyre manufacturer's pride. Together with
their early exit at Valencia, it all adds up to an entirely forgettable
weekend for the Alzens.
The V8STAR Jag then came
in for an early stop, and let the others do some leading. Scheid
and KDW were out in front; the BMW lost the lead after its pit stop
but now found the Jaguar breathing down its neck. Johannes Scheid
was nursing an injured arm, and therefore returned to the pits after
one statutory lap, and handed the car back to Merten. It was probably
at this point that the Scheid team lost the race.
Zakspeed Viper fell off the pace somewhat and was out of the immediate
hunt for the win; the new drivers on the team still don't quite
match the pace of Zakspeed employee Grossmann, but they are improving
all the time. As the last round of pit stops went by, with some
cars on a different fuel stategy than others, and some out of sync.
after earlier repairs, the race became increasingly difficult to
call. The V8STARs then made their last driver change, and put their
strongest driver in the car for the final charge. In fifth place
now, Dirk Adorf took on Merten in the BMW, marathon man Basseng
in his GT3-RS (flown over from the United States for this race,
and working exceptionally well), the KDW Porsche and another Porsche
996, the Weiland Racing GT3-RS of owner / driver Matthias Weiland
and "Bugs Bunny".
let the name fool you, it was not the popular screen performer driving;
the alias hides the true identity of an experienced Nordschleife
racer. They had quietly worked their way up from 22nd on the grid
to P1 at this point; Weiland was in the car for the last stint.
But they, as well as Basseng, had their last scheduled stop still
ahead of them. The BMW then fell by the wayside (for the moment)
when Merten had to have a gear selection problem fixed. So he, too,
was on a mission when he rejoined in seventh place.
Three laps from
the end, the KDW Porsche led the race by some 10 seconds from the
Jaguar, which was rapidly closing in. The early stage of the race
had shown it could match the pace of the fastest cars in the series;
now Dirk Adorf felt it an appropriate moment to tap some of the
car's hidden potential. Meanwhile, Mario Merten did the same a few
kilometers up the road, picking off his opponents one by one, and
homing in on the last podium spot. On the penultimate lap, Adorf
took the lead, and eked out a 14 second advantage for a well deserved
race win for the Raeder Motorsport team.
The KDW Porsche
was out of reach for the hard-charging Merten; two more Manthey
cars finished inside the top 10, with Jacobs / Schornstein / Hulverscheid
in fifth and winning the Porsche Cup class, and JP Baker / Marc
Peters in ninth and third of the Cup Porsches. Merten took third
place for the Scheid BMW team, and Marc Basseng will be pleased
with fourth place in his first race in this championship. Missing
from the top 20 was the NGK / Weiland 996 which on the very last
lap, and in fourth position at the time, came to a halt out on the
circuit ("That's All Folks"); it was eventually classified
in 22nd place. After four hours of competition that got ever more
intense as the race wore on, no less than eleven cars finished the
race on the same lap as the leader. Who needs factory teams?
The next race will be
another 4 hour event, on May 1.
With thanks, as always,
to www.vln.de for results and images.
1. Dirk Adorf / Hermann
Tilke / Ullrich Galladé, Jaguar V8STAR, 26 laps
2. Wilhelm Dieter Kern / Bert Lambrecht / Reinhold Renger, Porsche
996 GT3 MR, -14.455 sec.
3. Johannes Scheid / Mario Merten / Oliver Kainz, BMW M3 GTRS, -1:45.921
4. Marc Basseng, Porsche 996 GT3 RS, -3:02.729 min.
5. Michael Jacobs / Dieter Schornstein / Paul Hulverscheid, Porsche
911 GT3 Cup, -3:04.581 min.
6. Dr. Hans-Peter Huppert-Nieder / Werner Mohr / Markus Großmann,
Viper GTS-R, -3:10.625 min.
7. Michael Tischner / Matthias Tischner, BMW M3 GTR, -3:39.026 min.
8. Heinz-Josef Bermes / Thomas Koll, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, -4:39.381
9. John Paul Baker / Marc Peters, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, -6:02.874
10. Reik Kleinherbers / Christian Behling, BMW M3 GTR, -8:17.935