VLN season opener sees Frikadelli Racing’s two Porsche 911 GT3 R on places 13 and 21
• Having started 22nd on the grid, the Pro Porsche with Klaus Abbelen, Norbert Siedler and Felipe Laser moves up to 13th place in the race
• Alex Müller, Lance David Arnold and Porsche works driver Matt Campbell kept their 21st position from the grid to the chequered flag
• Team principal Klaus Abbelen: “My guys have done a great job over the winter and our Porsche have a lot of potential for the 24-hour race”
Frikadelli Racing ended the first leg of this year’s Endurance Championship Nürburgring (VLN) on positions 13 and 21. The #31 crew with Klaus Abbelen (D), Norbert Siedler (A) and Felipe Laser (D) started from 22nd position on the grid and drove a faultless 4-hour race. With their 510 hp Porsche 911 GT3 R they worked their way up through the field and finished 13th. The #30 sister car driven by Alex Müller (D), Lance David Arnold (D) and Porsche works driver Matt Campbell (AUS) also had a race with few incidents. After a drive-through penalty for Campbell the crew took the flag on position 21.
Due to dense fog, the 90-minute qualifying on Saturday morning started with 30 minutes delay. Once underway, quali went far from perfect for Frikadelli Racing. Several Code 60 zones after incidents on the track spoilt one hot lap after the other. Moreover, the #31 car suffered from fuel pressure problems.
The race in brief
Alex Müller took the #30 Porsche’s wheel for the start stint. He ended the first lap on P18 and gained another position before handing over the car to Lance David Arnold after seven laps. Arnold drove eight laps without major incidents and moved up as high as P7, also taking advantage of competitors’ pit stops. The next driver change after 15 laps saw Porsche Young Professional Matt Campbell take the wheel. After another eight laps the Australian came in for refuelling in P10. In the final stages of the race, he entered the pit lane again, this time due to a drive-through penalty that the race direction had impended for a yellow-flag infringement.
Team principal Klaus Abbelen started the race in the #31 Porsche and drove six laps before handing the 911 GT3 R car over to Norbert Siedler. A minor problem in the pits cost the team several positions. The Austrian joined the race in position 31 and drove eight laps. Then Felipe Laser entered the Porsche. After eight laps he came in for fuel and stayed in the car for the final turn.
Quotes from the drivers
Alexander Müller (driver Frikadelli-Porsche 911 GT3 R #30): “My start stint was ok, just the usual jumble. At the beginning of lap two on the Grand Prix track everyone fought as if for victory in the 24-hor race. I preferred a cautious approach and tried to find my rhythm because once you fall back it’s always extremely hard to catch up. The lapping and the Code 60 zones don’t help, either.”
Lance David Arnold (driver Frikadelli-Porsche 911 GT3 R #30): “Those were nice and important eight laps with fine weather and a dry track. I could tune myself in calmly and felt quite comfortable. There are still a few issues on the car that we have to work on. Anyway, for me it was important to make these steps. That was a good thing. In the infights on the track you also realize very nicely which things we have still have to address. I have a few ideas now that I will discuss with the team. The basis is good and we are heading in the right direction.”
Matt Campbell (driver Frikadelli-Porsche 911 GT3 R #30): “I did around one and a half stints. After refuelling we tried a different Dunlop compound and the Porsche felt very good each time. Unfortunately, I received the drive-through penalty – I still don’t know exactly why. But anyway, the car felt great and obviously the preparation for the season’s highlight – the 24-hour race in a few weeks’ time – is progressing well.”
Klaus Abbelen (team principal and driver Frikadelli-Porsche 911 GT3 R #31): “Qualifying went a little disenchanting: in both our final trials we ran into Code 60 zones. However, I won’t use that as an excuse. We could have done a lap time of below 8.10 minutes but we didn’t do it. My stint in the race went quite well. I managed to defend our position. The Dunlop tyres and our set-up worked well. I’m happy to say that our guys have done a great job during the winter. Our cars showed good potential for the 24-hour race.”
Norbert Siedler (driver Frikadelli-Porsche 911 GT3 R #31): “The Frikadelli Porsche ran really well. At the beginning of my stint I had a little understeer that eventually changed to oversteer. Then again, the car’s balance was fine. My lap times were quite ok but nonetheless we still have to work on the set-up. Seeing as it was the first race of the season we can be reasonably happy. Now we will keep on working to be best prepared for the 24-hour race.”
Felipe Laser (driver Frikadelli-Porsche 911 GT3 R #31): “When starting into my double tint, I had to adapt a little. After that, the Porsche showed nice balance and I found a good pace. I think that if we take some minor steps we will be in good shape for the 24-hour race.”