Muhlner Motorsport on the podium again Heinz-Josef Bermes and Jochen Krumbach get a third at the Nurburgring Francorchamps / Nurburgring. The Muhlner Motorsport Team entered two Porsche 997 Cup cars in the 38th ...
Muhlner Motorsport on the podium again
Heinz-Josef Bermes and Jochen Krumbach get a third at the Nurburgring
Francorchamps / Nurburgring. The Muhlner Motorsport Team entered two Porsche 997 Cup cars in the 38th Adenauer Rundstrecken Trophy, the 4th round of the German Endurance Championship. Alongside the Krimskoye Porsche for Jochen Krumbach (Eschweiler) and Heinz-Josef (Juppy) Bermes (Willich) was the blue & black sister car driven by Englishman Clint Bardwell, the Berliner Oliver Freymuth and the Eifeler Joachim Kiesch.
The second crew were using the race as a test: it was Bardwell's first race on the Nordschleife and his first time in a Porsche 997. Freymuth knew the circuit very well from previous races and had driven a Porsche in various Supercup guest starts but the combination of the two was new to him as well. Kiesch, something of a Nordschleife expert, had never raced a Porsche before so for all three the objective was to complete the race without pressure and without taking any risks.
After a wet qualifying session the novices found themselves ahead of the old hands - Oliver Freymuth was the fastest of the five Muhlner pilots and put the 695 car in third place. After their big accident in qualifying two weeks previously, in which the Krimskoye Porsche was too badly damaged to make the start, Juppy Bermes and Jochen Krumbach were taking it easy this time "Today was the first time I had driven a Porsche in the wet so I didn't want to take any risks" explained Krumbach.
At the start of the race, the rain had stopped and the circuit was mainly dry but some sections were still damp and heavy rain clouds made for dark skies over the Eifel region. Team boss Bernhard Muhlner decided to start on slicks, a decision which was subsequently proved to be correct as it stayed dry, at least for this phase of the race. The numerous cars which had started on wets came in after the warm-up lap for slicks. Even the showers which affected parts of the circuit were not heavy enough to justify changing to wets in this early phase.
Freymuth, who did the first stint in the 695 car, handed it over after 8 laps to Kiesch. At this stage Krumbach had already got the Krimskoye car up to 2nd place; he stayed out a lap longer and came in after nine laps as leader to hand over to Bermes. The middle stint was then subject to several heavy showers, making tyre choice something of a lottery and a true challenge for Bermes and Kiesch. First having to cope with slicks on a wet track and later with wets on a drying track, both had numerous "moments" to deal with.
"I got both of them to do an extra lap on slicks to try to avoid an additional pit stop, because the rain had stopped, but just as they passed the pits it started to rain and we lost a lot of time in the following lap as Joachim and Juppy slid their way around a wet track on slicks. After we had then put wets on, a lap too late, the rain stopped again, although the clouds remained. So as to avoid yet another stop in addition to the final driver change, we decided to remain on wets a lap longer than necessary. I made two tyre choices today - the first one at the start was spot-on but the second, in the middle stint, was wrong by one lap, and round here that means 25km" said Bernhard Muhlner, accepting the responsibility.
Krumbach was able to put in fast laps one after the other in the final stint, enough to get the Krimskoye Porsche onto the podium but not enough to repeat the wins of the first two rounds of the championship. Bardwell used the opportunity to get seat time and improved his lap times lap by lap, finally seeing the chequered flag in 8th place.
"Today we were not able to get a win but despite the changeable weather and three new drivers, some of whom knew neither circuit nor car, we were able to complete the race without accidents or technical problems. Furthermore, Jochen got fastest lap, fully 5 seconds quicker than anyone else in the class" summarised team boss Renate Carola Muhlner and continued "furthermore, in two weeks time at the 5th round, everything starts again and we'll be doing all we can to repeat the wins of the first and second rounds."