Back-to-back victories

We scored our second straight win last Saturday. For my own part, it was also my second consecutive pole position.

The season has started really fantastic for us in Møller Bil Motorsport with two straight wins and two consecutive pole positions. Some maybe thought that the first win was a coincidence, but we know how good we are at the moment, and therefore it was no surprise for us that we won Saturday’s race also.

I came down to the Nurburgring on Friday and chose to let my team mates do the first test at the GP- track in the morning. The training in the evening went smoothly and we had a good debrief where we made a plan for Saturday and where we also studied some data.

QUALIFYING
I started the qualifying, but both the first two laps got destroyed by double yellows. Then Håkon and Kenneth both drove well and we secured a good lap time. I would, however, make an attempt at the end of qualifying, but again I was unlucky in the first lap with a double yellow. I didn’t have much grip left after three flying laps on the tires, but I tried for one last shot. But it didn’t go very well with a lot of traffic. Therefore I was surprised when I heard the time 08:38 on the radio. It was the same lap time as from the last qualifying, and also this time the lap was good enough for pole position.

I’ve worked with my driving since last race and think it is possible to drive much faster if you are luckier with traffic. Last time I drove to 8:38 on my first lap ever with the qualifying tires, and the data shows that I lost two seconds due to traffic up from Bergwerk. This time I also lost considerable on traffic several places on the track and the tires were quite worn out.

Therefore I believe that it is possible to drive much faster and I have a theory about how fast it is possible to drive the car, so we’ll see how it goes this fall …

Regardless, lap times under 08:40 with a two liter and front wheel drive, is quite fast.

Remember that we are driving the 24,4 km long VLN-loop , which means that a laptime of just the 20,8 km Nordschleife would have been just over seven minutes. I also have the feeling that the level in the top of SP3T is as good as the best in GT3/SP9, and it would have been fun to try a GT3 car one day. I think I could have driven fast…

ph1

RACE
After a rather special start at the last race, I had another plan for the start this time. Last time some of my competitors passed me before the green light, but without any consequences. This time I had a good start, but god passed by Daniela Schmid down to the first corner. The LMS-car is a bit faster than our car on the straights, and it was impossible to pass on the straights. But I came by in a corner, and was in the lead.

Check out the pass for the lead here:

It was difficult to get a gap with a lot of double yellows, but I was in the lead when Håkon took over after the first pit stop. Our mechanics did a great job, and we had the best pit stop in the race. Håkon drove very well, but lost more than 30 seconds when he had to stop (!) because of an accident, but he was still in the lead when Kenneth took over. Kenneth drove a perfect stint and we could celebrate our second victory in a row.

I have to thank the whole team after two fantastic races. Our mechanics are great, both the Norwegians and the help we get from Raeder Motorsport. The hospitality team does a fantastic job with our guests, and is such a joy to be part of a team that works this good.

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NOW WHAT?
After these two races the spring season is over for us, and we will not race again until August. Now that we have started the season so well and is in the “zone”, I would have liked to have raced the next three VLN-races, but we don’t have the budget to do that. On the other hand, it will be good to have some time off with family and after these two victories I will just enjoy summer.

After the first race this year I also got an offer to drive the 24 hour race at the Nürburgring in June. But like most offers in racing it was with a price tag, so I will probably not do the race. I tried to find the money, but didn’t succeed. Basically I decided several years ago not to pay to go racing. I think I’m too good to be a pay driver, to be honest, but this offer for the 24 hour was so interesting that I decided to give the sponsorship hunt a go, but with no success.

I’m still very happy, even though I didn’t succeed finding the money. I will continue with my philosophy of not paying to race, and it was also very flattering to get an offer based on my driving. It’s not easy to get noticed in the VLN because of all the classes and more than 600 other competitors, but this time my speed was noticed by a top team, and that was flattering. Unfortunately I feel that the media coverage of the VLN isn’t very good, especially outside of Germany, and that’s a shame because I think that VLN is one of the strongest racing championships in the world. And that makes it difficult for the best drivers to get noticed.

This spring has nonetheless been a highlight of my career. Two straight wins, two pole positions, two good lap times in qualifying despite far from optimal conditions and a very flattering offer to drive the 24 hour race for a top team is something to smile about all summer. Although I am now going to enjoy the summer, I will still work hard and my aim is to drive even faster and to win even more races this fall.

Atle

Photos: Frank Lenert and Pål Henning Berg

Check out a video about our spring season here:

 

dobbelseierplakat

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