Sharpe and Smith win the VLN Series at the Nurburgring
28 Oct 2013
Taunton entrepreneur and professional race driver Adam Sharpe, together with Rob Smith, scored their fifth season win on Saturday at the Nurburgring, also clinching them and the Green Recycling Team the VLN SP6 class title in the Championship. With five wins over the eight rounds that they competed in, the team asserted their dominance on the 23 km Nurburgring circuit set in the Eifel mountains near Bonn.
The last round didn’t go without its problems, though. The team only required a fourth place finish if their nearest rival were to win the class. Rob set out for qualifying and put their BMW on pole by a huge margin, but on his second qualifying lap, he got caught out by the slippery conditions at the challenging Adenau corner - the car touched the barrier, damaging the track rod. Team mechanics raced by road to the stricken race car - and managed to repair the BMW on the side of the circuit! The car returned to the pit lane with only ten minutes remaining for Adam to get in the car and complete his qualifying lap! He made it with a few minutes to spare, enabling him to take part in the race itself.
With only an hour to prepare the car for the race, the team worked hard to ensure the car was strong for the 4 hour race. At midday, with a damp, cold and misty circuit, Rob started the race for his stint where he was due to put in consistent laps and stay ahead of the team's main rival, the #199 BMW. However, with the Autumn leaf fall, a number of cars collected a smothering of leaves in their front bumpers, which started to increase the M3s' engine and gearbox temperatures to a point where Rob had to control the temperatures by running in clear air and short shifting to keep the high revs off the engine. As the circuit dried, the team decided to pit a few laps early to switch to slick tyres and put Adam in the car.
Adam left the pit lane after a rapid pit stop on new slick tyres with a drying circuit. Adam was up to pace as quickly as possible but, with numerous caution yellow flag zones, it was hard to post a quick lap time in order to catch the leader of the class. Adam kept chipping away at the lead and, on his sixth lap, he took the lead away from the very fast #202 Porsche. Adam then managed to pull a 40 second lead before pitting for Rob to bring the car home.
Rob still had to push hard to beat the #202 Porsche, which had taken first place during the pitstop. The Porsche then pitted, allowing Rob to catch up again. As the Porsche exited the pit lane, Rob was neck and neck with him on the circuit. The race was on and Rob kept a calm head, pulling an impressive gap of over one minute during his final stint and bringing the car back for the final race win of the season.
This race win increased the team's points to confirm that they are the 2013 VLN SP6 class series winners.
"This season has been made possible by the support of so many people - Green Recycling, Cardstream, ICUK.net, Hoyer and Notaro Care Homes. Without them, we wouldn’t have been able to compete at every round and finish up with this tremendous victory!" commented a jubilant Sharpe.
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