Frikadelli Racing returns to the podium in the seventh VLN race
• Second place for Frikadelli-Porsche 911 GT3 R with Norbert Siedler and Lance David Arnold at the wheel
• Alex Müller, Felipe Laser and Team Principal Klaus Abbelen take the flag in fifth place after a strong performance in the four-hour race
• Klaus Abbelen: “We have successfully reversed the trend. Second and fifth place is an impeccable result”
Frikadelli Racing has returned to the great shape that the team had shown during the summer. In the seventh leg of this year’s Endurance Championship Nürburgring (VLN) the Porsche customer team from Barweiler near the “Ring” took second place in the four-hour race with the #31 Porsche 911 GT3 R driven by Norbert Siedler (A) and Lance David Arnold (Duisburg, D). The #30 sister car with Team Principal Klaus Abbelen (Barweiler, D), Alex Müller (Rees, D) and Felipe Laser (Leipzig, D) at the wheel saw the chequered flag in fifth place.
The 90-minute qualifying, held in friendly autumn weather, proved to allow exceptionally fast lap times. Frikadelli Racing placed both cars on the fourth row of the grid. Alex Müller posted a 7,57.705 min lap that was good enough for seventh place. Nearly as fast was Norbert Siedler whose 7,58.965 min on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife put him on eighth starting position.
In the first race lap, hard pushing starting drivers Siedler and Müller improved to positions four and five. Half an hour later and after intensive fighting for positions, the Austrian was already in second place in a Ferrari sandwich. At the beginning of the eighth lap he handed the car over to Lance David Arnold, who returned to the track in sixth place and also reeled off a problem-free stint. When Siedler re-entered the #31 car after the 14th lap, he found himself in the lead. With regard to the rivals’ pit stop strategy, however, this equalled fifth position directly behind the sister car. 90 minutes before the end of the race, both Frikadelli Porsche swapped positions. A little later, in the 20th lap, Siedler took second place from Peter Dumbreck and continued on this position even after his final pit stop. Albeit significantly faster than the leading car, he wasn’t able to catch it. Due to a Code-60 phase the race ended one lap earlier than calculated so that the leading crew took the chequered flag in first place instead of pitting for their scheduled final refuelling.
Alex Müller handed the #30 Frikadelli Porsche over to Felipe Laser after six laps in fifth position. Due to this early pit stop Laser moved up into third position before Müller stepped in again after the 13th lap. He rejoined in fourth position and around 2:30 p.m let team-mate Siedler pass. At 3.10 p.m. after 22 laps, team principal Klaus Abbelen took the wheel and brought the 911 GT3 R home in fifth place.
Quotes after the race
Klaus Abbelen (Team Principal and driver Porsche 911 #30): “I had a good final stint and didn’t experience any problems. Fifth place is absolutely fine. Second place for our Pro car is an impeccable result, too, even if I would have preferred a win. We have now successfully reversed the trend and are looking forward to the final races in an optimistic mood.”
Alex Müller (driver Porsche 911 #30): “Qualifying went quite good; I even kept Norbert Siedler behind me which is not bad for an old man like me (laughs). However, it was real close. It’s amazing when seven cars are able to post lap times below eight minutes. My race stints were okay. Norbert could go a little faster during the race, that’s why I let him pass. His car was set up a little differently. I am happy because it was a good day for me.”
Felipe Laser (driver Porsche 911 #30): “From an external point of view, my stint must have looked like a lot of fun. For me, it was hard work but ultimately successful. We had a small issue with the car balance; the car tended to oversteer a bit. When that was fixed we could attack again.”
Norbert Siedler (driver Porsche 911 #31): “That was hard work. Qualifying started well and we held on to first place during the opening hour. But I was always aware that lap times would consequently drop. We ended up seventh on the grid – maybe we should have gone out again towards the end of the session. In the race, our lap times deteriorated towards the end of the first stint. In the second and third stint, the car stayed more consistent. We still have to analyze the reasons for that. All in all we can be happy. We will keep on working and trying to go the next step. A big thank you goes to the whole crew and of course to Lance. Together we did a great ob.”
Lance David Arnold (driver Porsche 911 #31): “My stint developed according to plan and without any issues. I had a good position in the race, the car worked well and I was able to show a good pace. In the final minutes of the race, our competitors had a lot of luck with the Code-60 phase. If that hadn’t happened, they would have had to put in a splash and dash and we would have been in front. But sometimes you grab the wrong end of the stick.”
In 2018, the Langstreckenmeisterschaft Nürburgring (German for “endurance championship”) again consists of nine legs and started on March 24. The 4-hour races are held on Saturdays on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife plus the Grand Prix track’s short circuit that together form a 24.358 kilometre lap. The race on August, 18 was this year’s only six-hour event. The season will end on October, 20. The 24-hour race on May, 12 and 13 was the undisputed highlight of the season although it does not count towards the VLN championship. Competitors tackled a lap of 25.378 kilometres that consists of the Nordschleife plus the Grand Prix circuit without the stadium section.