We finished second for the second race in a row on Saturday. But it was not without drama.
This fall we are doing five VLN races in under three months, so it’s quite busy. But I still managed to squeeze in a trip to Japan in between. I went to Suzuka to announce the Japanese F1 Grand Prix on site for Viasat Motor, and it was a great experience to visit Japan.
Then it was back to Norway and a few days later back to my second home at the Nürburgring in Germany. The VLN race this time was a regular 4 hour race and with the old line up of Håkon Schjærin, Kenneth Østvold and me driving for Møller Bil Motorsport.
The race started very good when Kenneth put us on pole position with the great time of 08.38. I did a 08.42 and Håkon a 08.44. All drivers inside six seconds is good stuff.
I started the race, and had a very good start. Out on the Nordschleife I was already leading by several seconds. But already on the long straight towards Schwedenkreuz I could see that the second place car was getting closer and it’s speed up the hill from Breidscheid and towards Bergwerk was simply too high, and the 303 Audi TT overtook me. I could do nothing with the five cylinder car in the hill towards Steilstrecke, and I lost a couple of seconds right away. But I was hanging in there, and my first five laps were 8.50, 8.46, 8.46, 8.46 and 8.50. Although I didn’t have the same speed as the car with one more cylinder than ours, I didn’t lose more than 2-3 seconds a lap. And considering the speed difference between the two cars, I’m very satisfied with that.
But then I was unlucky with at least two double-yellows that the leading car avoided. The gap between us was not more than around 15 seconds, but when I had to slow down to 60 kph in a double-yellow zone, I could see that the dust was still in the air and that the accident had just happened – and after the leading car had passed the site of the accident. This happened once more, and suddenly I was more than 40 seconds behind the leader. Unlucky, but that’s racing.
The five cylinder car had to go in for fuel at lap eight, but I continued for one more lap. Even though we had lost some time, I was still hoping that we could fight for the victory. But at our first pit stop something wrong happened during the refueling, and we couldn’t get the fuel into the tank. We lost 3,5 minutes on this, and the fight for victory was over. Both Håkon and Kenneth drove well after this, and our second pit stop was perfect. But all we could manage this day was second.
I wasn’t too happy with this result, to be honest. After being one of the biggest classes in VLN with up to 30 cars a couple of years ago, the number of cars in SP3T nowadays is not much to brag about. I don’t think it’s a fair level of competition between the cars in this class today either. And when you also experience technical problems it is quite demotivating.
After all races, but especially after a race like this, it’s so rewarding to come home to the family. I’m never more happy than when I’m with my family, and that makes me forget about racing – and that can be good once in a while. But tonight I have been thinking about racing again, and I’m ready for revenge. We have two more races to go this season and let’s try to finish the season on a high!
Photos: Pål Henning Berg