TOP TWELVE FOR TEAM VIP PETFOODS IN PERILOUS NÜRBURGRING SHOWDOWN
All of the Nurburgring's might has not been enough to halt Team VIP Petfoods' Tony and Klark Quinn, Craig Baird and Kevin Bell aboard the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (Type 997), with the quartet stampeding ahead to a top 12 finish in today's great race.
The Nurburgring is known for its notorious twists and turns, treacherous conditions and general unpredictability -- and for the past 24 hours it has ensured each and every driver to lay rubber on its legendary bitumen did not forget it - with even Australia's Team VIP Petfoods unable to escape its wrath.
The weather did all it could to dampen the spirits of the competitors even before the green flag fell - delaying the start for almost two hours with heavy rain.
However this was just an entree to what Mother Nature really had in store -- with heavy fog seeing the race suspended just before the half-way mark, putting the action on hold for an incredible five hours.
Even without these remarkable weather conditions -- which saw intermittent downpours threaten competitors following the restart - race carnage was expected, and was convincingly delivered - with only 156 of the original 220 entries actually making it to the finish line.
Team VIP Petfoods' fielded two of those 220 -- returning this year with not only the Porsche 996 (#27) which brought them to outright ninth and international recognition on debut in 2006, but also Australia's only Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (Type 997) (#26).
As luck would have it, whilst the Team VIP Petfoods #26 Porsche RSR triumphed over both the conditions and a race collision overnight to claim 12th outright after qualifying 13th, the Team VIP Petfoods #27 Porsche 996 was to join those with a tragic story to tell only 30 minutes from the finish line.
A fatal clutch failure saw the applaudable run of Shaun Juniper, Max Twigg, Paul Kelly and John Teulan come to a premature end -- truly heartbreaking for the entire Team VIP Petfoods camp after the four placed as high as 32nd at times within the competitive field.
"I believe we have experienced the true Nurburgring this year," mused team owner Tony Quinn following the race.
"All week the weather here has been fine, and then five minutes before the first outing it just came down and didn't stop.
"In response to the weather the wet tyres were employed, which went on to lead to all types of incidents - one of which involved ourselves and a BMW, resulting in 45 minutes in the pits to address radiator and body panel damage.
"We then traveled through the night working our way up until the fog caused the red flag to be flown, closing the circuit for five hours.
"On the restart we went about climbing through the traffic again, experiencing only one other mechanical difficulty in the RSR which saw a small engine bay fire cause a pit stop delay for us, but thankfully no major damage.
"The 996 on the other hand was not so lucky, which was really disappointing for the whole team and the boys aboard.
"They (Juniper, Twigg, Kelly and Teulan) really gave it their all and just put down strong and consistent results, until they were plagued by clutch problems.
"The first saw the car pitted for two and a half hours, and then when it rejoined in the closing hour of the race, all seemed fine until with just 30 minutes remaining it failed again, putting the car out of the race so close and yet so far from the finish line.
"Even with this bad luck, how all our drivers and crew have handled this weekend has been a credit to them, with so many curve balls thrown at all the competitors over its duration, and I am very happy with how the team has performed."
With the great race now run and won, Team VIP Petfoods will prepare to head home to Australia -- with Tony and Klark Quinn, Craig Baird, Shaun Juniper and Max Twigg all readying themselves for Darwin's upcoming Carrera Cup round in less than two weeks.
The #1 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR entry of Bernhard Timo, Lieb Marc, Dumas Romain and Tiemann Marcel took the race win after leading for the majority of the event.
-credit: team vip