Despite Pole Position and Fastest Lap: Frikadelli Racing Misses Podium Place
Patrick Huisman and Norbert Siedler bring the “world’s fastest meatball”, the Porsche 911 GT3 R home in seventh position
• Qualifying surprise: This season’s first pole position for Frikadelli Racing
• Early accident and retirement for Frank Kräling and Christopher Brück
• Janine Hill/John Shoffner/Arno Klasen finish fourth in the Cup2 category
• Another top ten position for Thomas Leyherr and Herbert von Danwitz in the M235i cup
The ninth leg of his year’s Nürburgring Endurance championship (VLN) proved to be a tough challenge for Frikadelli Racing. Despite starting from pole position the team ended up on the seventh place only. Without Klaus Abbelen and Sabine Schmitz at the wheel of the Porsche 911 GT3 R, Patrick Huisman (NL) and Norbert Siedler (A) suffered from rapidly changing track conditions in the four-hour race. Frank Kräling and Christopher Brück had to retire their Porsche 911 GT3 MR after a collision with a lapped competitor. John Shoffner, Janine Hill and Arno Klasen made it to position four in the Cup2 category. Thomas Leyherr and Herbert von Danwitz worked their way up from last to tenth place in the BMW 235i one-make category.
The 90-minute qualifying practice on Saturday morning ended with a nice success for Frikadelli Racing: Siedler and Huisman grabbed the team’s first pole position of the season. The Dutchman was set to take on the first race stint, but had to return to the pits after the warm-up lap in order to change from rain tyres to slicks. In his out-lap, he spun in the exit of turn 1. After nine laps Norbert Siedler took over. The Austrian managed to post the fastest lap of the race with 7:59.858m in lap 15. He visited the pits for refuelling and tyre change after laps 17 and 25 and took the chequered flag after 28 laps in seventh position.
Christopher Brück’s race in the SP7 Porsche by Frikadelli Racing ended early. Lapping a slower competitor in lap 12 the cars collided, leaving the Porsche with a broken suspension. Frank Kräling never took the wheel in the race. Arno Klasen in the Cup2 Porsche 911 GT3 had to change tyres after the warm-up lap as well and handed the car over to Janine Hill after eight laps. The US driver noticed heavy vibrations after 12 laps and had the wheels changed out of schedule. At the end of lap 16 John Shoffner took over for 20 laps before swapping laces with Klasen.
In the rainy qualifying session, Thomas Leyherr (Dillingen) and Herbert von Danwitz (Tönisvorst) only did the mandatory minimum number of laps and started 18th and last in their category. In his initial double stint Leyherr worked his way up to eighth before handing the BMW M235i over to von Danwitz. The duo finished in tenth position.
Quotes after the race
Klaus Abbelen (Barweiler, team owner and driver #30): “All in all I’m very pleased with our Porsche’s performance. We have definitely achieved some improvements but that didn’t translate in positions. We made several small errors which you can’t afford when the top cars are as closely matched as here. A gap of 3:34m to the winners is all right with me.”
Patrick Huisman (NL, driver #30): “In the warm-up lap it looked as though slicks were the better choice than the wets we had fitted on the car. The decision was ok; I would do it again under the circumstances. It’s a shame that we couldn’t take advantage of it. That was in part due to my spin in the out-lap when at first I couldn’t engage reverse. In my fourth lap I lost the car on an oil patch at Pflanzgarten and touched the tyre wall with the car’s flank. Fortunately, nothing broke apart from the mirror. During the next pit stop we slightly adjusted the suspension settings which seemed to have a great effect.”
Norbert Siedler (A, driver #30): “On my pole position lap I even had to overtake a few cars, so I think there was an even better time on the cards. When I took over the car in the race it handled perfectly and I had a lot of fun. I’m proud to have posted the fastest lap. It goes to show that a better result was absolutely within reach.”
Christopher Brück (driver #62): “This was not our day, nothing went our way. Lapping was difficult and several times we had bad luck with the yellow flags. Towards the end of the race a slower car didn’t see me approach Pflanzgarten 2 and hit our right front wheel. That was that.”
Arno Klasen (driver #109): “We had to start last in our class, so I took the chance to enter the pits after the warm-up lap in order to change from wets to slicks. That way I could also avoid traffic while lapping and the pit lane was still relatively calm. In the end I thought I might even reach p3 in our category, but I missed the podium by around 25 seconds. Maybe the race was a lap too short for us… But anyway, the main thing is to finally have finished again.”
Janine Hill (driver #109): “I had a problem with my set of tyres and had to make an unscheduled pit stop after four laps. That cost us time and positions.”
John Shoffner (driver #109): “My stint went perfectly, the car felt great, I am very happy. Even if there were quite a few yellows due to several accidents of other cars.”
Thomas Leyherr (driver #672): “During my two stints I worked my way up from p18 to p8 – do I have to say more? That was real fun. From lap five the track dried and then our chassis set-up worked best. The car handled perfectly.”
Herbert von Danwitz (driver #672): “When the rain came back in the last three laps it became really tricky. I spun on the Grand Prix circuit where it was particularly slippery and lost two places.”