On Saturday our Milltek Sport team will head out into VLN qualifying with more than just a pole position on our minds. Each of our three drivers will be heading out on to the Nürburgring looking for a pole position that could lead to a championship victory in our first GT86 Cup season.
It’s been quite a battle. After eight VLN races we’ve finished on the steps of the podium six times, winning four of them. Two races were less than ideal, finishing only half way up the points. One time due to an unavoidable contact caused by a freak accident, the second by a mechanical failure.
THROW AWAY REMARKS
And while that points table might look like we’re leading the championship right now (4 wins, no DNFs, and only 1 less pole position than our Swiss rivals) the reality is quite different.
Our championship has a ‘throwaway’ rule; this means you have to take the worst weekend of your season and throw the points away. In theory it’s to give you a chance of contesting the championship without running every single race. In the main VLN championship, they actually throw away 2 rounds!
Our worst result is 10 points (either VLN3 or VLN7). Our Swiss rivals had a DNF, and therefore throwaway only 2 points they won for pole position that round. Which means that 5-point lead you see above is actually a 3-point deficit!
Pole position on Saturday morning is important. Really important. It’s potentially 2 points for us, and 2 points less for Frédéric and Manuel of Toyota Swiss Racing. If they score those points, they’re already 5 points ahead. Points are awarded as follows:
If we get those points, things are simple; we just have to finish ahead of the Swiss to steal the championship.
If they get those points, we have to finish 1st, and they need to finish 3rd or worse. We need a 5-point difference.
To complicate things further, there are three other cars on the grid who have all shown the pace to beat either of us. Ulf Zwickop pushed Luke all the way through the first stint in a hard 2nd place, and Ullrich “Ulli” Packeisen has even led the class before now. Then there’s Olivier in the Haus Pit Lane car, another canny driver capable of doing more than he’s shown this year.
SO WHAT’S NEXT?
We’ve come a long way since our little 192hp Fiesta ST arrived, flaming, into the marshal spot at Brünnchen last year. To enter, and lead, a highly contested championship has been a dream come true.
No matter what happens, we are practically assured of at least a second place in a 9-car championship. A worthy achievement, and one we’d be proud of.
But in the words of Reese Bobby…