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Falken Porsche Wins Season Finale

Ragginger survives late Marciello charge to win VLN finale for Falken…

Photo: Porsche

Klaus Bachler and Martin Ragginger gave Falken Motorsports victory in the ninth and final VLN race of the season on the Nurburgring Nordschleife.

Ragginger took the No. 4 Porsche 911 GT3 R, which was competing in its last race with the team, to a narrow 5.334-second win over Raffaele Marciello in the No. 47 HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3.

Marciello, who co-drove the HTP Mercedes with Patrick Assenheimer and Maximilian Goetz, held off the rival Black Falcon Mercedes of Yelmer Buurman, Hubert Haupt and Luca Stolz after a race-long battle between the two cars.

The Italian then broke free from the inter-Mercedes duel before tearing into Ragginger’s advantage at the end of the four-hour contest, while Buurman finished 20 seconds back.

However, a string of quick laps including the fastest of the race wasn’t enough for Marciello to prevent the leading Porsche from taking its second win of the year.

The result means Falken clinches the VLN Speed Trophy title after a poor final weekend for the Frikadelli Racing Porsche crew of Lance David Arnold and Alexander Mueller, which was unable to start following a practice accident.

Falken’s sister BMW M6 GT3 finished 15th, one place behind the new-generation Porsche 911 GT3 R driven by Mathieu Jaminet and Michael Christensen.

Further up the field, Audi’s new-for-2019 R8 LMS GT3 Evo finished seventh in the hands of Land-Motorsport’s Frederic Vervisch and Marcel Fassler, while the Land squad’s current-generation Audi led the opening stanza but retired after picking up a mechanical issue.

That episode promoted the HTP and Black Falcon Mercedes cars into first and second with the Falken Porsche running third, before the eventual winner vaulted to first in the pits.

In fourth was the ROWE Racing BMW of Jesse Krohn and Nicky Catsburg, while the first car to finish outside the lead lap was the SP9 PRE sub-class winning GetSpeed Performance Porsche.

The pole-sitting Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW dropped to third on the opening lap before having its run ended by mechanical problems.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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