First Pole Position for Mario Farnbacher and Lexus in the VLN

For Mario Farnbacher, the six hour season highlight of the VLN Endurance Championship Nürburgring was an emotional rollercoaster. Together with his brother Dominik Farnbacher and Hiroki Yoshimoto, he made first grid position with the Farnbacher Racing Team’s new Lexus RC-F GT3 and continued the fast car’s successful development series. Despite bad weather conditions in the early stages, the trio held their ground in a field of 160 competitors. However, after four hours, a technical defect prevented them crossing the finish line.

The Farnbacher team came up with a big surprise in the seventh VLN race qualifying. Only a few weeks after Mario Farnbacher had celebrated the Lexus RC-F GT3’s first podium position with second place, brother Dominik followed up with a first pole position. On a slippery road surface, Farnbacher needed 8:19 minutes for the Nordschleife 24,433 kilometres. “It was a fantastic feeling being on pole position in the VLN. During qualifying, we had the right tyres on at the right time and at the end we had a five second lead.”

At the beginning of the race, the Farnbacher team decided to use grooved slicks. Start driver Dominik Farnbacher was at a considerable disadvantage to teams equipped with proper rain tyres and over the first laps, he fell way back to 42nd position. But it rapidly became apparent, that the decision was the right one. When the track started drying off, the cars with rain tyres slowed down and then made pit stops to change to slicks.

As a result, rankings changed rapidly – in favour of the Farnbacher brothers. Dominik Farnbacher inherited one position after another and after five laps, soon found himself in 17th position. Where the other competitors had needed a tyre change, the Farnbacher Lexus drove the first hour of the race without one.

At half-time, weather conditions in the Eifel had completely changed for the better and the driver trio progressed with fast and error-free laps into the top ten. But at 3:57 pm, a technical defect in the Quiddelbacher Höhe area forced the Lexus RC-F GT3 to leave the race and all hopes of a good result were dashed. “We didn’t have power anymore”, explained Mario Farnbacher and added: “Now we have to analyse what happened and what exactly caused the failure. The parts will be taken to Japan and Lexus will be helping with the analysis. However, this pole position has shown everyone how good we are with the new car. All in all, we have taken a big step forward.”

In two weeks’ time (16th – 18th September), Mario Farnbacher will be driving the Porsche 911 GT America at the start of the American Tudor United SportsCar Championship. Together with his team mate Ian James, the young man from Lichtenau aims to clock up valuable points in the fight for the championship.

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