VLN 2008: 6h-Race Nürburgring

19.07.2008

Both HEICO SPORTIV Volvo not only reached the chequered flag, but achieved this target under difficult weather conditions during the prestigious 6h-ADAC Ruhr Pokal race at Nürburgring last Saturday.

The legendary Nordschleife of the Nürburgring again showed its capricious side. Oil on the track, changing weather conditions and constantly changing road conditions challenged the drivers, as well as the teams. So it was no surprise that only 133 out of 207 starters saw the finish line.

In the game, two Volvo – powered by Bioethanol “BioFormula85” by HEICO SPORTIV. In spite of a one year race absence, last year’s winning HEICO HS4 ODIN (Volvo S40) was handled as a class favourite. But with the HEICO HS3 - for the first time - a Volvo C30 was in the starting grid of this popular German Long Distance Championship.

As early as during qualifying, the HS3 provided excitement by lapping close to the lap times of the fully developed and experienced HEICO HS4 ODIN. Only a yellow-light caution period caused by an accident prevented a better time. Hence the HEICO HS3 with Patrick Brenndörfer, Martin Müller and Ulli Andree qualified for position 99 (3rd place in the class) while the HEICO HS4 ODIN (Brenndörfer/Müller/Eickholt) started the race from position 82, 2nd class position.

The track was wet during the start. Brenndörfer quickly closed the gap to Müller in the HS4 during the first couple of kilometers. In the following laps, both Toyo Tires-fitted Volvo ran through the field in formation. “Within the first 3 laps we could fight over 30 positions ahead of our starting position – that run was really fun and shows how fast the cars are”, Brenndörfer stated enthusiastically after his first stint.

But the forward march was stopped abruptly by a broken gearbox bracket. “A small item that can usually stand easily 300.000 kilometers”, Holger Hedtke, Managing Director of HEICO SPORTIV said in surprise. After a short repair stop, the HS3 ran again like it’s brother, like clock work.
The rest of the race was heavily effected by extreme weather conditions. “Everything from shining sun to torrential rains was included – like a typical summer day in the Eifel”, Martin Müller said. “You have to get used to constantly changing conditions and continually adapting your strategy”.

One of the plenty of victims: the HEICO HS4 ODIN - after a convincing run headed for the podium! Patrick Brenndörfer was hit by unexpectedly heavy rain on the home stretch after just passing the entrance to the pit lane. “That was bad luck. The trip to the pits was a great distance, and took plenty of time”.

At the end, the cars finished 4th and 5th in class, and more importantly for the first run of the C30, both cars finished the race unscathed. “We are satisfied with our first double launch and we have reached our targets. We have provided basic proof that the new Volvo C30 is an appropriate basis for long distance racing, and our concept with Bioethanol engine has a lot of potential. Our run in formation at the beginning of the race has made us lust for lots more”, Holger Hedtke closed.