NEWS: Falken 911 GT3R VLN Podium Success – A Week After A Horrendous Crash!

Three of our favourite things – the Nürburgring  the VLN Championship & Falken's iconic 911 GT3R – all combined in perfect harmony this weekend, to make team history, as Falken nailed its first ever podium in the VLN… only a week after the car was severely damaged in a serious high speed accident at the end of the Nürburgring’s Döttinger Höhe straight one week previously. 
With a severely damaged Falken Porsche GT3R after VLN1 a week ago, the odds were heavily stacked against its race team to return for this weekend's VLN race, just seven days later. But what started as a nightmare ended in a dream as not only did it manage to complete the car repairs and compete, but the Falken drivers Martin Ragginger and Alexandre Imperatori (who was out for the first time in the car), also recorded the team’s first podium finish in the VLN series. Congratulations to these popular Ring regulars! Richly served and boding well for this year's 24-Hour…
A Falken spokesman said: "The recovery process started on Monday: Representatives from Falken’s headquarters in Japan, its European headquarters in Germany, race team manager Sven Schnabl and the Porsche Motorsport department convened to see if it was feasible to field a car in the next race. In the back of everyone’s mind was the need to test new tyres before the 24-hour race. With time running out ahead of the June enduro, everyone agreed all opportunities had to be seized. With insufficient time to repair the existing car, the answer was a fresh chassis from Porsche. By luck a GT3 spec 997 was in stock and after the deal was completed on Tuesday, the Schnabl trailer was dispatched and a new, plain white GT3R was picked up direct from Weissach the following day. The entire Schnabl team toiled all night and by Thursday morning, the ‘stock’ GT3 was transformed into a VLN spec racer, set up for the Nordschleife. Come 12 o’clock on Friday, the car was rolled out in Falken’s iconic colours and incredibly, was ready for qualifying."
"In order to be best prepared for the 24-hour race, we have to go to every possible race. I am therefore pleased that the decision to participate in the second VLN race was taken and then everything came together so quickly," says team manager Sven Schnabl, "Through our good connections with Porsche, we could get a replacement car in no time. This definitely made up for the disappointment the weekend before”.
Takeshi Imakita, chief tyre engineer for the Falken team, adds: "I am appreciative that we have the support of Porsche and that due to the tireless efforts of Schnabl Engineering we’ve been able to race at all this weekend! The disappointment last weekend was immense, but now we can get back on track with our development programme, invigorated by our first podium.
The successful pairing of Martin Ragginger and Alexandre Imperatori will line up again for Falken at the next VLN race in the series, the DMV 4 –hour at the end of the month. And we wish them and all the Falken team well. 
We were lucky enough to get a behind the scenes with Falken at the ADAC Zurich N24 at the Green Hell last year and you can read our N24 Falken story free here. Great team! Best of luck in 2014… 


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