It proved to be a tough weekend of racing for us at the infamous Nürburgring circuit.
Testing on Friday was just two laps of the 25km track, and qualifying started at the break of dawn on Saturday. Our BMW M3 GT felt good on new tyres, and I completed the first lap in 9 minutes and 11.3 seconds.
That was a quick start, but knew I could improve on that time. I completed my second flying lap in 9:03.5 which secured us a first place in our category (that gave us 40th place on the grid, a situation only possible when there are 200 cars racing at exactly the same time!)
The race started at noon and I was first in the car as I had done qualifying for the team. The start of these races is chaotic as everybody races down to the first corner trying to get ahead and claim an advantage, beginning on the Grand Prix F1 circuit and then moving out onto the Nordschlife.
With many of the Porsches and cars surrounding me having greater power and straight line speed, it was pretty tough trying to hold on to my initial track position as I’d out-qualified a lot of faster cars, but I managed to retain first-in-class for the majority of my opening stint.
It soon was time for new tyres, fuel and a driver change. The pitstop went smoothly; my co-driver was in the hotseat and I was watching our progress when suddenly a car appeared in our team garage. I thought it was our teammates in the other car, but my heart sunk when I realised it was ours. He explained later that he’d had been forced to take evasive action to avoid contact with another car and in the fallout had accidentally clipped the tyre wall in the chicane. Unfortunately this left our car limping into the Outland with steering damage.
The team jumped onto the car to repair it, but it was too badly damaged to continue. The wheel, steering, and the steering pump all were all affected, and we had to retire us from the race just 1.5 hours in to the 6 hour marathon.
It was a real shame that the things had ended so early for us, but we had demonstrated good progress with the car set up, and the whole team had done a great job throughout the weekend.
I’m looking forward to getting back to the track for my third Nürburgring experience in just two weeks time. Although we didn’t get quite the result we were looking for on this trip, I’m confident we will be able to secure a place on the podium in our next race.
The final race before the huge 24 hours challenge around the Nürburgring will be held on the 25th-26th June.
Both the Le Mans Series and the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup head to Belgium this weekend for the 1000kms of Spa. With one car entered in each championship, CRS will run two Ferrari 430s side-by-side for the first time this year in the GTE-Am class.
The No.82 CRS Ferrari of Klaas Hummel, Adam Christodoulou and Phil Quaife was on for an exceptional result at the Paul Ricard LMS round a few weeks ago but hit trouble in the pits when the starter motor faltered. This time out, says Adam Christodoulou, they are gunning for the podium:
“We just missed out on the podium at Ricard,” said Adam. “The team has been working hard since then to solve the starter motor problem and I don’t see any reason why we can’t go to Spa and get a top result. We’ve all raced there before and the team knows it well. We showed we had the pace at Ricard so we’re looking forward to getting out there and getting a good result.”
For the No.62 driving squad of Pierre Ehret, Shaun Lynn and Roger Wills, Spa is the warm up event for the big one in June: the Le Mans 24 Hours. After the recent Le Mans Test Day all three drivers are eager to get back on track and hope to bag some points in Belgium, as Shaun Lynn explains:
“I’m very much looking forward to Spa,” said Shaun. “It’s a track I know well as I have won the six and four-hour historic races there. This is our last event before we head to Le Mans, which is the highlight of the season for us. I think we have a good chance of grabbing a podium if we keep it clean and go strong and steady. It’s going to be a sprint though; it’s never an easy ride at Spa and even though it’s a big track you can quickly run out of room at places like Eau Rouge. It will be good to race the sister CRS car for the first time this year and the fact we can share data will help us all.”
The six-hour race gets underway at 1405hrs on Saturday 7 May. Catch the later stages of the race on Eurosport or listen to the whole race live at www.radiolemans.com.