The Englishman drove the final stint of the four-hour enduro aboard the AMG – Team Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3 after team-mates Maro Engel, Bernd Schneider and Manuel Metzger had completed their stints and was delighted with a second successive VLN podium that leaves the team in high spirits ahead of their biggest race of the season.
Starting from pole after a qualifying session in changeable conditions, Engel found the circuit had dried much faster than anticipated and switched to slicks at the end of Lap One. That put the Mercedes-AMG GT3 into a dogfight with the Phoenix Racing Audi which lasted throughout the first hour, the two cars rarely separated by more than a few seconds.
The two cars were in close attention for the remainder of the race, but a late splash-and-dash as a legacy of the early stop meant Christodoulou was ultimately too far back to capitalise on a final-lap shower that made the Nordschleife resemble a 20.8km ice rink. While several around him found the barriers, Christodoulou was able to bring the car home undamaged, second of 181 starters.
“On the last lap it was pretty interesting – there must’ve been ten different incidents!” reported the official AMG driver. “It was one of those where you were a little unsure how much you could push or what you can get away with – I had a few exciting moments! But you can’t give up, you’ve always got to push because you never know what’s going to happen or whether someone is going to make a mistake.
“In the end I’m very happy with how it went, it’s a good confidence-building result going into the 24 hours,” he continued. “With mixed conditions, setup and strategy are always a gamble and we had to manage it as well as we could as the race went on. It was all about finishing the race, being safe and learning from this race for the 24 hours.
“I’m feeling pretty good for it, I’ve got three fast team-mates, a team that’s won the 24 hours before and a manufacturer that’s supporting us really well and giving us the best opportunity to try and go for the win.”
Christodoulou’s next race is at the Home of British Motorsport, Silverstone, on May 14-15, for the second round of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup.