CLASS PODIUM AT NURBURGRING-NORDSCHLEIFE SIX HOUR FOR OWENS AND WALKENHORST MOTORSPORT
Raoul Owens lifted his second piece of silverware of the 2017 motorsport season at Nurburgring-Nordschleife on Sunday, 23rd April, after racing to a top three Cup5 class finish during his first ever six-hour race with Walkenhorst Motorsport.
Competing with the same squad which runs the British driver in the Nordschleife-based VLN series, Kent racer Owens was joined by compatriots Seb Morris and Hunter Abbott, along with German driver Thomas Hetzer, for the ADAC Qualification Race and the quartet delivered a terrific showing.
Owens was the team’s fastest driver in the evening qualifying session, lapping seventh in class, after choosing to go last in order to gain some experience of night-time running at the Nordschleife prior to next month’s 24 Hour race.
Going on to take the first stint in the race, he progressed nicely into the top four at the wheel of the BMW 235i and during the next two stints – Abbott and Morris – the squad stayed in contention for the podium. Hetzer took the final stint, wrapping-up a richly deserved third place in Cup5, and in the overall classification the Walkenhorst quartet placed 36th out of 100 entries.
Featuring well over a dozen different classes, ranging from the SP9 category with fully-fledged GT3 sportscars from the likes of Audi, Porsche, Mercedes and BMW, to more touring-car style classes such as Cup5, the six-hour is one of the biggest race meetings on the Nordschleife calendar.
As with the VLN contests Owens has raced in so far in 2017, the mileage and experience from the ADAC six hour will count favourably towards his bid for a race permit to ultimately compete at GT3 level in the blue riband 24 Hour race.
“Overall the weekend couldn’t have gone much better”, said the Pembury driver, “In qualifying I got my first experience of night driving, I opted to go last for my stint so I could get a feel of the night and I managed to do our fastest lap which put us seventh on the grid in class.
“For the race I was the first driver in the car and had a very solid run. I had a nice clean start, made up some positions, set quick lap times, had a good battle and brought the car in for my stop from fourth place – overall it was very good. From there my team-mates were nice and consistent which kept us in the hunt.”
He added: “It came down to the last hour where we knew we had a good shot of a podium finish. The last driver in the car, Thomas [Hetzer], did a great job to bring the car home and take a well-deserved third place. It was a great team effort and great to come away with a strong result leading into the 24 hour race. I’m looking forward to taking on an even bigger challenge next time out!”