Another podium for Muhlner Motorsport
Krimskoye Porsche makes 2nd place in the 6-Hours
Nurburgring / Francorchamps. The Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium based Muhlner Motorsport Team entered two Porsches in the 6-Hours race which was the 7th round of the German Endurance Championship.
The season highlight of Europe's most popular endurance series took place in dry and sunny conditions. There were 210 starters on the grid for the noon start and 46,000 spectators lined the legendary Nordschleife circuit to enjoy the spectacle.
The blue Porsche number 695 was piloted this time by four Nordschleife novices from Sweden, driving in preparation for an entry in the 24 hours in 2008. In the red Krimiskoye Porsche (nr. 696) the regular drivers Heinz-Josef Bermes (Willich) and Jochen Krumbach (Eschweiler) were joined by Jonathan Baker (GB), in his third race for the team, and the Finn Alec Arho Havren who was making his debut with the successful endurance racing team.
In qualifying the team gave all 8 drivers the clear instruction not to take any risks, simply to cover the minimum laps to qualify for the race, as there were over 230 cars on the track. Both cars got through qualifying without any problems and start positions 3 and 8 were more than satisfactory
Hubert Bergh, Manfred Gottschlich, Markus Loennroth and Lars Stugemo (all Sweden) proceeded to drive a mistake-free race. Each used their turn to get used to the Porsche on the Nordschleife and the improving lap times demonstrated that as the number of laps increased, so they were getting more and more used to it and there is every reason to assume that the project "24hours 2008" will be a success.
"I met Bernhard Muhlner and his team in Dubai at the 24hours there. When my friends and I decided to do the 6hours in preparation for entering the 24hrs next year, we turned to Muhlner Motorsport because they've been successfully running on the Nurburgring Nordschleife for twenty years and they are well known for the reliability of their cars on the toughest race circuit in the world" said Hubert Bergh.
"I have congratulated Hubert, Manfred, Markus and Lars on their successful Nordschleife debut. The lap times were getting better and better and, more importantly, they all came through it without putting so much as a scratch on the car. They can all feel proud of themselves" was the judgement of team boss Bernhard Muhlner.
Krumbach did the first stint in the Krimiskoye Porsche and running consistently competitive lap time he stayed in P3. Due to his economical driving style, he was able to stay out a lap longer than one of the cars ahead of him so moved up to P2. When he did pit to hand over to Baker, the Muhlner pit crew were quicker than their competitors allowing Baker to return to the circuit in the lead. On his second lap he had to take avoiding action, locked up his brakes and slid into a gravel trap. As all four tyres were flat-spotted he had to make an extra pit stop and the car fell well down the leader board.
Following the next stints, Krumbach took the 696 car over for the last stint in 5th place and went on the attack. As one quick lap was followed by the next, he quickly closed down the gap and as the cars ahead of him made their final stops he was up to 3rd. He then also had to make a final "splash and dash" stop and dropped back to fourth.
What followed was a true grandstand finale to the race; first of all, the 3rd place car and Krumbach got into a battle for the final podium place and then the pair of them caught the second placed car. Krumbach grabbed the opportunity with both hands and passed both cars in one breath. He then had to fend off the counter attacks as they approached the finish line, a job not made easier by the number of cars cruising slowly on their last lap so as to see the chequered flag and not have to do a further lap. This turned the on-the-limit chase into a slalom race between slower cars and where there was not enough room on the circuit the grass was used as well. With an advantage of just 2.67 tenths, Krumbach was able to hold on to his hard fought 2nd place and ensure another excellent result for the team.
"Jochen has once again driven an excellent race to deliver us a good result. His was a performance from the top-drawer! After we had the unusual situation of technical problems after the Friday testing, and that with both cars, the guys had to work most of the night to get the cars ready. In the race both ran like clockwork, so we're particularly proud of that. The excellent 2nd place for the Krimiskoye Porsche and the respectable 7th place for our Swedish crew are good results" was team boss Renate-Carola Muhlner's summary of the results of an exciting race.