Last weekend, the official racing season started for the Rinaldi Racing team at the first VLN race at the Nürburgring. Although the forecast did not look so good, the VLN organization decided to open the event. A good decision, because on Saturday the sun was shining at the Nordschleife. The collaboration with the Wochenspiegel Team Monschau continued this year and even extended on two Ferrari 488 GT3.
As in the last year, Georg Weiss, Oliver Kainz, and Jochen Krumbach started on the starting number 22. The second Ferrari with the starting number 11 will be driven by Leonard Weiss, Christian Menzel, and Nico Menzel. A strong driver line-up with a lot of experience, from which even the younger drivers can benefit.
On Saturday morning, the qualifying had to be delayed by 40 minutes due to the fog. As soon as the sun came out, the 180 participants started into the qualifying. With a top lap time, the starting number 22 qualified for the second position overall, just 0.4 seconds were missing from the pole position. The sister car reached the 12th position overall. A good starting base for both Ferrari 488 GT3.
The start of the first VLN race was taken by Oliver Kainz in the #22, and Christian Menzel in the #11. Both drivers could defend their position from the start. Oliver Kainz had a neck-and-neck race with his opponents. Already after the second lap, he had a comfortable gap to the third positioned and maintained the gap to the leader. Christian Menzel overtook his opponents one by one and after three laps, he reached the seventh position. In the seventh lap, on P5, Christian Menzel came into the pits to hand over the car to Leonard Weiss. In the meantime, the Wochenspiegel Ferrari #22 took over the lead. In the eighth lap, it was his turn to pit and passed over the car to Jochen Krumbach. Due to a lot of incidents on the track and therefore resulting code 60 phases, the #11 came back on track on position 23, the #22 came on P5. On the second pit stop, Leonard Weiss handed over the #11 to Nico Menzel. Jochen Krumbach stayed in the car for a double stint. In the last 22 minutes of the 4 hours race, the Ferrari #22 had a collision with another car and damaged his tire. Jochen Krumbach could barely come into the pits with this puncture. The good result was lost. During this stop, Georg Weiss jumped into the car and finished the race as 25th – the sister car #11 reached the 19th position.
Michele Rinaldi: „A mixed race. Both Ferraris were really good and the speed was great. Also, the performance of all drivers was satisfying. Unfortunately, the puncture cost us the race. Now, we focus on the second VLN race in two weeks.“