One week after the test and set-up runs at the Nürburgring, the Wochenspiegel Team Monschau went to the opening race of the VLN.

The team, which is supported by Rinaldi Racing, started with a Ferrari 488 GT3 and a Porsche Cayman GT4.

Georg Weiss, Oliver Kainz and Jochen Krumbach shared the steering wheel work on the Wochenspiegel-branded Ferrari with start number 22. The Porsche Cayman with start number 169 was driven by Rene Offermann and Dirk Riebensahm.

On Friday, two test and set-up runs took place on the Nürburgring/Nordschleife. The team used this opportunity to work on the cars and to optimise the set-up. This also gave the drivers the opportunity to gain more driving experience on the cars.

On Saturday morning, in bright sunshine, the qualifying started for the more than 190 participants. In the end, the Ferrari 488 GT3 achieved a good 23rd place in the strongly occupied GT3 class. The Porsche Cayman reached fifth place in the SP10 class.

The first VLN race started punctually at 12.00 noon. Oliver Kainz took over the start and was able to keep his place. Kainz became faster and faster in his second half of the stint and was able to steadily improve his lap times. At the pit stop, Georg Weiss took over the steering wheel work and came back on the track in 24th position. But then, on Georg Weiss’ first lap, disaster struck. At Pflanzgarten 2, a double yellow was shown, which caused Weiss to brake. Unfortunately, the BMW behind him did not notice this and crashed into the rear of the Ferrari. In the process, the Ferrari hit the front and had to abandon the race heavily damaged.

The Porsche Cayman with starting driver Dirk Riebensahm also had a good start and was able to take over fourth place in class after only a few laps. The first pit stop went smoothly and Riebensahm was able to start his second stint. But after a few laps, the team received a radio message that there was a puncture. A competitor had hit the rim of the Porsche, so Riebensahm had to come back to the pits to change the wheel. After just over two hours of total driving time, Riebensahm handed over the Porsche Cayman to Rene Offermann. He brought the Cayman across the finish line in fourth place in class.

Michele Rinaldi: “Of course, this is not how we had imagined the first VLN race. It’s a real shame that the accident with the Ferrari happened. The drivers did a really good job until then and felt comfortable in the car. Now we have to rebuild the Ferrari and in a fortnight we will continue with the second VLN round. The Cayman came through well, except for the puncture incident. Both drivers adjusted well to the Porsche and can improve in the next rounds.”

For Rinaldi Racing, it’s off to Misano, Italy this weekend for the first round of the Blancpain Sprint Series. There the team will start with the Ferrari 488 GT3 with Alexander Mattschull and Daniel Keilwitz.