Disappointing end after a strong performance at the 24-hour race
The Frikadelli Racing Team impressed with a strong performance in the 24h race at the Nürburgring and was about to achieve the biggest success in team history. So the cult team from Barweiler was with the # 31 Porsche 911 GT3 R until three hours before the end of the race on an excellent second overall place, before a puncture should burst all dreams. Despite the strong performance, the # 30 Porsche 911 GT3 R also lacked the necessary luck.
"Of course, the disappointment is very big, but you can not blame anyone for this race. We've really done everything right on the team side, but unfortunately the last bit of luck was missing in the final statement. I would like to sincerely thank all my team, who did a great job in the preparation of the cars as well as on the race weekend. Now it is not the heads to hang, but continue to do. We will face some tasks outside of the Nürburgring Nordschleife with the GT3 vehicles this year, "explains Klaus Abbelen.
In front of 230,000 spectators along the Eifel course, the # 31 Porsche 911 GT3 R, which Porsche works drivers Romain Dumas and Sven Müller shared with the two Porsche Young Professionals Mathieu Jaminet and Matt Campbell, was particularly convincing. Jaminet achieved a strong fifth starting position in the top qualifying and brought the team of Klaus Abbelen & Sabine Schmitz in a brilliant starting position for the race.
The driver quartet succeeded here in building on the strong performance and keeping constant in the top 5 of the overall standings. While a few other favorites stumbled, Dumas, Müller, Campbell and Jaminet made no mistakes on the track. Thanks to an impressive consistency, they struggled forward to second overall position. The way to the first podium finish in the 24h race at the Nürburgring since 2008 seemed free for the Frikadelli team. Three hours before the end of the race, however, the # 31 Porsche 911 GT3 R suffered a puncture and had to be shut down a little later in the Quiddelbacher Höhe due to the consequences that followed.
The sister car of Klaus Abbelen, Alex Müller, Robert Renauer and Thomas Preining should also not see the checkered flag after 24 hours despite strong performance. During the weekend, the crew experienced a true roller coaster ride of emotions. So they missed first narrow entry into the top qualifying. However, starting from 34th on the grid, it was already a good start in the early stages of the race. Even before nightfall, the older model of the Porsche 911 GT3 R was in the top 20 of the overall standings. Due to a broken hose connection, however, the catch-up had to be interrupted in the late evening for about an hour.
Nevertheless, Abbelen, Renauer, Müller and Preining gave everything after the repair and offered the fans a great show. From the interim 75th place proved to be a great fighting spirit and was able to drive up again in the top-20. However, when the problem reappeared on Sunday afternoon, they decided to park the car at the pits.
Voices after the race:
Matt Campbell (driver Frikadelli-Porsche 911 GT3 R # 31): "The atmosphere in the team and our drivers is of course very clouded, because we were in a really great position after a perfect race. Now it's time to process what happened, to look forward positively and to try again."
Sven Müller (driver Frikadelli-Porsche 911 GT3 R # 31): "I personally have never experienced such a big disappointment in motorsport before. We were really strong and it would have been so much possible. It is unbelievable a pity that we were not rewarded in the end for our great performance. Thanks a lot to the entire Frikadelli Racing Team, who really gave it their all. The car was a real rocket."
Mathieu Jaminet (driver Frikadelli-Porsche 911 GT3 R # 31): "I'm still missing words after the events. We were extremely well positioned with the second place and even had the chance to win the race due to a later time penalty against the then leading Manthey car. It's a pity, but I hope that we will have another opportunity in the future."
Romain Dumas (driver Frikadelli-Porsche 911 GT3 R # 31): "The whole Frikadelli Racing Team did a great job. I really appreciate the team and Klaus as a person very much. It is extremely bitter that we could not achieve the desired success on the weekend. We were very close, but motorsport can sometimes be so cruel."
Klaus Abbelen (Team Principal / Driver Frikadelli-Porsche 911 GT3 R # 30): "There was just a lot of bad luck this weekend. With our No. 30 the hose, which is best hidden in the Porsche, burst. After the problem reappeared in the final stages of the race, we finally decided to do it."
Alex Müller (driver Frikadelli-Porsche 911 GT3 R # 30): "We actually assumed that our car would be qualified for the subsequent top qualifying after the first practice session. Unfortunately, it was not the case, which is why we lost a lot of ground to the top at the start of the race. On the track itself, we have done very well for it. Too bad that we could not reward ourselves for the great performance in the end."
Robert Renauer (driver Frikadelli-Porsche 911 GT3 R # 30): "If we had not had bad luck twice, it would have been a great weekend for us. Still, I think we can be proud of our performance. Personally, I felt very comfortable with my first assignment for Frikadelli Racing. It is a really funny team with a very good spirit."
Thomas Preining (driver Frikadelli-Porsche 911 GT3 R # 30): "We experienced a constant "up and down"over the weekend. After remaining below our potential in qualifying, we were able to do very well in the race thanks to a perfectly prepared car. It's annoying that we ended up just not lucky."