Manthey Racing won the opening VLN race of the season on Saturday afternoon with its No. 911 Porsche 911 GT3 R driven by Kevin Estre, Laurens Vanthoor and Earl Bamber.
The car started from pole position but didn’t lead the entire four-hour race on the Nordschleife, facing challenges from other teams including Mercedes-AMG Team HTP and Wochenspiegel Team Monschau.
Nevertheless, the winners did manage to stay within sight of the lead for most of the 28 laps which were relatively incident-free.
Audi Sport Team BWT managed to finish second despite starting the final lap from fourth, with its Audi R8 LMS GT3 driven by Markus Winkelhock and Nico Mueller coming home 51.8 seconds behind the leader.
It finished ahead of Falken Motorsports’ Porsche driven by Sven Mueller and Klaus Bachler which had been set to give Porsche a 1-2 finish until it was passed by the BWT Audi soon before the end of the race.
While the No. 47 HTP Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Renger van der Zande, Dominik Baumann and Edoardo Mortara did lead for a while in the first half, it could only manage a fifth-place finish behind Audi Sport Team Land’s car driven by Christopher Mies and brothers Kelvin and Sheldon van der Linde.
Black Falcon took the SP10 class honors in the category reserved for GT4-spec cars with its Mercedes-AMG GT4 driven by Nico Bastian, Stefan Karg, Fidel Leib and Moritz Oberheim.
The start of the race was pushed back by 40 minutes following heavy weather including fog which delayed qualifying earlier in the day.
Despite this, the race itself was run under bright, clear conditions.