VLN: Marino Franchitti Nordschleife race report

Win for Marino on the famous Nordschleife The Nordschleife, quite often described as the most beautiful race track on earth, was the scene for the 2nd round of the VLN Championship today. A 4- hour race, with a start grid of 210 cars, run on the...

Win for Marino on the famous Nordschleife

The Nordschleife, quite often described as the most beautiful race track on earth, was the scene for the 2nd round of the VLN Championship today. A 4- hour race, with a start grid of 210 cars, run on the old Nurburgring circuit (the Nordschleife) and the shorter Grand Prix track which together have a combined single lap distance of 24.433kms.

As a precursor to the famous 24 Hour race that is staged on this track next month, the team and one of the drivers that Marino Franchitti will be competing with in that event came together today for the VLN race. Marino was partnering Frank Stippler in the #131 Porsche 997 GT3 RSR newly acquired and entered by HISAQ Competition.

With just one practice session yesterday, Marino watched as co-driver Frank Stippler qualified their car on pole early this morning with a lap time of 8:19.798 minutes almost 2.3 seconds ahead of the Porsche works' team, Manthey Racing GmbH, with Porsche works' driver, Romain Dumas, at the wheel. "Frank did an incredible job this morning to put the car on pole, especially as we had some niggling electrical problems yesterday which the team worked well into the night to fix, so all credit to them both on a fantastic achievement" said Marino.

Just after midday the 210 cars departed the grid in 3 groups and, as pole sitter, Frank lead the first group as the race got underway. Dumas quickly took the lead, only to have it taken away from him some 12 minutes later when the #131 Porsche overtook Dumas under braking. Dumas was later to run into trouble, but the #131 Porsche continued in the lead dicing back and forth in the early stages with the Zakspeed Viper. Frank pitted at 1.15pm handing the car over to Marino who continued to hold the lead during his stint. At the pitstop Frank took the car back to finish the race, but during his final stint had to make an unscheduled stop due to recurring electrical problems. Despite the setback the #131 car finished the race almost one-and-a-half minutes ahead of its closest rival.

"It hasn't really sunk in yet" said an excited, but bemused Marino after the race. "Standing on the podium with a wreath of golden leaves around my neck made me think of all the old pictures I've seen in the past of my heroes doing exactly the same. This is an incredible track, and Porsche have done it again, this is my first time driving the 997 and it's a fantastic car. For both the team's efforts last night and Frank's outstanding qualifying lap this morning, my thanks go to all of them. It was a huge amount of fun being part of it and I can't wait to get back here next month".

-credit: marinofranchitti.com

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About this article
Series Endurance
Drivers Marino Franchitti , Romain Dumas , Frank Stippler
Teams Team Zakspeed