At the ADAC 24h Qualifiers, the dress rehearsal for the big 24h race at the Nürburgring, Falken Motorsports put its first exclamation marks: on both race days, the Japanese tire brand caused a stir, as the two Porsche 911 GT3 R cars mixed at the front and finished in the top-10. On Sunday, Nico Menzel even snatched the pole position, before Tim Heinemann and Martin Ragginger finished on the podium in the race. Nevertheless, the team gathered important and valuable data for the ADAC Total Energies 24h race.
The Falken drivers went straight on the attack at the start of the weekend, snatching the fastest time in free practice and also impressed in the following qualifying for the first race on Saturday evening. The #44 Porsche of Martin Ragginger and Tim Heinemann finished fourth on the grid, while the #33 sister car of Nico Menzel and Joel Eriksson finished seventh.
Heavy rain before the start of the two-hour race on Saturday evening did not help Falken Motorsports in terms of results, but did provide important experience. Because on a wet track and with Falken rain tires, the racing team still missed a few laps this year. Nevertheless, the drivers were able to convince as darkness fell, so that after two hours two important top 10 results were in the books with positions six and nine.
Pole position & podium on Sunday
Sunday also went according to plan for Falken Motorsports. In the top qualifying session, in which the starting grid for the four-hour race was determined, Nico Menzel set the fastest time with a lap time of 8:12.569 minutes and thus also took pole position. Team-mate Tim Heinemann, who was also convincing on his free Nordschleife laps, rounded off the strong team result with a tenth place on the grid.
At the start of the race, which started at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Nico Menzel had to relinquish the lead position, but the two Porsche 911 GT3 R cars from Falken Motorsports maintained contact with the front runners. During the race, which was dominated by exciting duels and changeable weather conditions, the Falken drivers took the lead several times due to different pit strategies.
In the end Martin Ragginger and Tim Heinemann steered their #44 Porsche 911 GT3 R to third place, less than three seconds behind the race winner. Nico Menzel and Joel Eriksson, who turned the wheel in the #33 sister car, were delighted to finish seventh overall.
The ADAC 24h Qualifiers was the final dress rehearsal before the big season highlight, which takes place in four weeks. Falken Motorsports will use the coming weeks to prepare as best as possible for the ADAC Total Energies 24h race (May 18-21, 2023). As in previous years, the Japanese tire brand will be competing with two Porsche 911 GT3 R cars, whose driver line-ups will be published soon.