VLN - Rounds 8 & 9
With apologies for the delay – the eight round of the German Endurance Championship took place on September 25. And in this series as well as FIA-GT, the Vitaphone crew’s motto is currently "make or break“, victory or DNF. Their 2004 record in the German Championship is anything but positive: the Porsche 996 GTII has been hampered with tyre problems all year long, and as the season on the Nordschleife goes into its final phase, there are precious few opportunities left to limit the damage.

Things usually work out fine for this team in practice, and practice for the 3.5hr "Barbarossapreis“ on 25 September was no exception. On a partially wet track that dried out in time for the race, the Alien secured its customary pole position, over ten seconds faster than the next qualifier, the Basseng / Simon Porsche. If the Porsche armada was out in full force again, the V8STAR ranks were depleted: only Zakspeed fielded a Roush-powered silhouette racer, the Jaguar-bodied car we have last seen in the 24 Hours, for Dirk Riebensahm and Christopher Gerhard. They qualified in ninth place, while the team’s trusty Viper (Grossmann / Mohr / Huppert-Nieder) lined up in sixth spot. No V8STAR for the Raeder team this time out, they relied on their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII (Price / Deegener).

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Uwe Alzen led the field into lap 1, and then lap 2, and his lap time of 8:17.726, the second-fastest lap of the year, was a clear message to the opposition: barring mechanical trouble, we will win. Behind the 996 Special, the Viper was on the move: Markus Grossmann made up four places and brought it to he head of the chase group, followed by the privateer Opel Astra V8. Grossmann’s “gentleman” team-mates did not match his pace, so the Viper was no longer a factor in the later stages of the race. The Astra got as far as lap 14 when it retired for technical reasons; and at this point it was clear that Alzen / Alzen / Bartels would only lose this race if they made a mistake, or if the car let them down again. But there were no Acts of Fate this time around, and the Vitaphonics made a return visit to the top step of the podium.

Here are the second and third placed cars, at the most easily identifiable part of the track.

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Result Round 8
1. #62 - Jürgen Alzen / Uwe Alzen / Michael Bartels, Porsche 996 GTII, 24 laps, 3:34:24.086
2. #100 - Michael Bäder / Tobias Hagenmeyer, BMW M3, -4:55.151
3. #104 - Marc Gindorf / Dennis Rosteck, Porsche 996 GT3-RSR, -5:46.447
4. #80 - Bert Lambrecht / Wilhelm D. Kern, Porsche 996 GT3-MR, -6:26.759
5. #684 - Dirk Riebensahm / Christopher Gerhard, Jaguar V8STAR, -8:43.198
6. #66 - Markus Grossmann / Dr. Hans-Peter Huppert-Nieder / Werner Mohr, Chrysler Viper GTS-R, -1 lap
7. #618 - Heinz-Josef Bermes / Thomas Koll, Porsche 996 GT3 Cup
8. #702 - Nils Bartels / Harald Jacksties / Frank Lorenzo, Porsche 996 GT3
9. #620 - Paul Hulverscheid / Michael Jacobs / Dieter Schornstein, Porsche 996 GT3 Cup
10. - #621 - Jonathan Paul Baker / Dirk Schoysman, Porsche 996 GT3 Cup

The ninth race of the season happened on the ninth day of October, so maybe 9 was the lucky number on this day? Johannes Scheid and his team were hoping for some more luck for their #99 BMW M3 GTRS after their early exit from the previous race. In qualifying, they got to, no not ninth, but third spot on the grid. Pole position again went to the Alzen Alien, this time shared by Jürgen Alzen and Porsche club racer Thomas Messer; but it was close: Timo Bernhard in the Manthey Porsche came within 0.418 of their time. Notably absent on the track was the Raeder Motorsport V8STAR “Jaguar”, this car has won two races this year, but the Raeder team decided to give both the “Jag” and the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII a rest this time, and brought out the trusty Porsche 996 GT3-RS for Dirk Adorf and Frank Schmickler. With 133 cars starting the race, the grid was somewhat smaller than last time out, but still not exactly deserted.

Adorf was one of the main movers early on, making up three places, and bringing up the rear of a Porsche freight train at the head of the field, led by Bernhard. It had taken the Porsche employee five laps to find his way past Jürgen Alzen, and this is where he stayed - for one lap, before his engine expired. The Opel Astra also retired with a cooked engine, and so the Porsche quota in the Top 10 increased steadily.

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Among them was the Marc Basseng / Frank stippler 996 of Land Motorsport (above), in its distinctive Bilstein livery. Basseng managed to eek out a lap more than the others in his first stint, and so the team found itself in the lead after the first round of pitstops; Stippler then set out to consolidate this advantage.

dailysportscar.comThomas Messer meanwhile came under pressure from Adorf, who was back in the Raeder Porsche after a 6 lap “mini stint” from Schmickler. A small tyre problem on the Alzen Porsche (perhaps the result of a collision with a slower car early on) eventually decided this duel in favour of the Raeder team. In a closely contested race, the podium was an all-Porsche affair; #99 did not have the luck of the numbers on its side, and finished in fourth place.

And the season is still not over yet: there is one more race to come, on 23 October.

With thanks, as always, to our ‘Ringside informers and the official Championship website, www.vln.de
Johannes Gauglica

Result Round 9
1. #95 – Marc Basseng / Frank Stippler, Porsche 996 GT3-RS, 24 laps, 3:33:12.938
2. #75 – Dirk Adorf / Frank Schmickler, Porsche 996 GT3-RS, -1:45.475
3. #62 – Jürgen Alzen / Thomas Messer, Porsche 996 GT II, -3:15.703
4. #99 - Oliver Kainz / Mario Merten / Johannes Scheid, BMW M3 GTRS, -4:29.377
5. #104 – Marc Gindorf / Dennis Rosteck, Porsche 996 GT3-RSR, -4:29.538
6. #100 – Michael Bäder / Tobies Hagenmeyer, BMW M3, -5:00.549
7. #693 - Nils Bartels / Harald Jacksties / Frank Lorenzo, Porsche 996 GT3, -1 lap
8. #618 - Heinz-Josef Bermes / Thomas Koll, Porsche 996 GT3 Cup
9. #620 - Paul Hulverscheid / Michael Jacobs / Dieter Schornstein, Porsche 996 GT3 Cup
10. #130 - Flossbach Dr. Bert / Karl Christian Lück / Kurt Thiim, Porsche 996 GT3

 

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