|On Saturday November 5th 2005 the second edition of "Les Neuf Heures du Vikings" (or rather Vikings Scaleracing Club’s 9 hour endurance race for modern Le Mans cars) took place in Frederiksund Danmark. On behalf of Vikings Scaleracing Club I would like to thank the 8 participating teams. Thanks for an exciting and fair fight, which all through the day was going back and forth. The fight was very, very close through all ‘9’ hours.
A report by Pål Hanson
Last year the race was a frontrunner for the DMCA Le Mans Cup, which ran over 4 races through out the year with great success. The first edition was a 6 hour race where GreyGold Racing, Høfler Racing and Team GoPich took up the fight against Racing for Holland with their extremely fast Dome S101 LMP car. Where in 2004 the Dutch came, saw and victored, this year Henrik’s (2H) level of ambition was higher – we should have a 9 hours race and.... preferably a Danish winner.
Saturday morning 8 AM the event started in earnest, while some racers headed straight for the breakfast table (sponsored by ZenIT Consult www.zenit.dk) others were were busy testing, changing setups, cursing about lack of speed or trying to sort out whatever problem they needed to resolve.
By 09:30 RfH and what was left of the Virage Team entered the Vikings Scaleracing Club. They had drivin trough the night, arriving 05:30 on 2H's doorstep. With just a few hours of sleep Rfh headed straight for breakfast and coffee. Gert Klinge, having lost his team members somewhere between Belgium and Danmark set out to find a seat with some of the other teams. As it turned out he managed to find some spare drivers and even a spare car.
So with 8 complet teams the competition was to be fierce.
These were the teams, cars and drivers that took to the start :
[b]HMC Racing,[/b]Audi R8 GFK, Plafit Excel Full Racing: Jørgen Shooter Rigtrup, Steen STP Petersen, Robert Castella, and Michael Klarskov.
[b]Høfler Racing, [/b]Audi R8, MoMo SW2: Gorm Nørgaard, Christian Høfler, Keld Høfler.
[b]Racing for Odder, [/b]Nissan 350Z-GT, PlaFit Excel Pro Racing: Erik Mathiasen, Per Dyrholm.
[b]Jutland Junited,[/b] R390GT1, PlaFit Excel Pro Racing: Jakob Andersen, Henning Smed, KOF, Ole Andersen.
[b]Team Virage,[/b](RfH) Chrysler Viper GTS, PlaFit Excel Pro Racing: Søren Henriksen, Jan Vegenfeldt, Rasmus Johansen, Gert Klinge.
[b]Racing for Holland, [/b]Ferrari 575 GTS, PlaFit SideWinder Pro: Nick de Wachter, Gabriel Inhäbit, Tamar Nelwan.
[b]Stoneloose Fast Boyz, [/b]Audi R8, Metris MKI: Benjamin Ackerman, Kasper Riedel, Rolf Næhr, Peter Christiansen, Jens Peter Andreasen.
[b]White Mouse Racing,[/b] Panoz Roadster LMP 900, PlaFit Excel Pro Racing: Peter Lind, Jørn Birkebæk, Henrik Hasager, Pål Hanson.
Tech Control opened at 10 AM, but as usual none of the teams turned their cars in before 10:45 – 15 minutes before closing.
All cars were to use PlaFit Bison motors, which were the BYO (bring your own) variety. Hand out wheels were were supplied by the organisation being Monza rims shod with GP Speedtires 45shore jap sponge tyres. Unfortunately we had to conclude that although the Monza rims really look great (with the built-in photoetched brakediscs), if the quality of the about 50 rims we received is the standard, the producers need to improve. All of the holes were less than 3mm. This cost us big problems, not only as organizers, but also for all the teams. We will be using KAI rims in the future.
There were a couple of cars which passed TC without a thorough check. Jutland Junited and HMC had to adjust the spurwidth on their cars. Jutland was 87mm wide, while HMC were only 1mm too wide. The rulebook says 83mm – oops….
At 11:45 AM the concourse started, it was won by Racing for Holland with their extremely nice Ferrari 575 GTS. A car, built in carbonfibre by Tamar Nelwan, painted in the Coming Soon team’s matt black colorscheme, full interior, gearshirt, fireextinquisher, complete driver and many, many more exquisite details.
A little late we got the qualification started at 12:10 PM. The teams were to start in alphabetical order, and Høfler tried to change their team name in the last minute – they qualified first, and for some obscure reason, that has yet to be discovered, the car was limping and stalling and was not even able to make one full lap. All agreed that they could work on the car before the race to try to find the error. Top Qualifier was White Mouse Racing / Pål Hanson with 6,240 seconds – a super laptime about 2/10 better than 2nd qualifier…
The first 3 hours, which were in daylight, started at 12:30 PM. RfH were in yellow/3, and were the favourites. It became, however, quickly clear that at least 4 other teams had a chance to give the Flying Dutchmen some resistance this year, Høfler Racing, Jylland Junited, Team Virage, and White Mouse Racing with HMC as an outsider.
White Mouse drove the first stint in lane green/1 and lost only one lap to RfH in lane yellow/3. RfH clearly had problems to get the car running the way they wanted, and not even Nick de Wachter’s great talent and skills could save it. Actually RfH slowly but seadily fell down to 4th place during the first hours. It wasn’t until Jørn Birkebæk of White Mouse Racing offered to prepare at set of tires for them that they started to gain control of the car. The Ferrari was so stiff, that the relatively high grip of the Vikings track was not enough. This meant that the fight started to intensify. Jylland Junited, Høfler Racing and Virages fought extremely hard over the placements with each other and against RfH. In the lead was White Mouse Racing pretty much from the start. Stoneloose Fast Boyz had their share of accidents and deslottings in the first hours and their car began to drive worse and worse, so they lost a lot of terrain. Racing for Odder drove a nice and quiet race, where they tried to find their own rhythm witout getting too much in the way of the faster cars. I have to mention that everyone drove extremely nice and clean. Everyone knew that it was a 9 hour race and that crew and equipment would be put to the extreme test. We saw an incredible sportsmanship from all, no ‘on-purpose’ deslotting of other cars and no nasty tricks, and for instance RfO were very aware of the faster cars, and I have tremendous respect for Erik and Per and the way they did their best to stay away from the fights in the top. If there were a fairplay award as in football, it would go to Erik Mathiasen. In the same way the Rookie of The Year Award would go to Jacob Andersen, who is just 11 years old. He was driving faster than many of the older, experienced drivers. He was concentrated and focused. It will be fun to see how his talent delveops.
[b]After 3 hours:[/b]
1 White Mouse Racing 1592 laps 6,903 sec average
2 Racing for Holland 1562 laps 7,067 sec avg
3 Team Virage 1559 laps 7,046 sec avg
4 Høfler Racing 1555 laps 6,937 sec avg
5 Jylland Junited 1528 laps 7,487 sec avg
6 HMC 1455 laps 7,356 sec avg
7 Stoneloose Fast Boyz 1351 laps 7,738 sec avg
8 Racing for Odder 1183 laps 7,363 sec avg
Here comes the night section. Tamar had gotten more and more frustrated with the RfH car and his own driving, so control had been given over to Nick and Gabriel. Without the helping hand from Jørn Birkebæk with new tires they would definitely have stayed in 4th place.
I did the Worlds most lousy stint in lane 6 in the night section and lost no less than 17 laps. If it was the pressure of finally having a White Mouse car performing great or if it quite simply was nerves, I don't know, not even Peter Lind's soothing coaching helped me. I repeated the same mistake lap after lap!! In the meantime Høfler and Virage were going faster and faster, while HMC lost terrain after their car had gotten hit hard and had broken so the repair required several meters of tape.
The three other drivers of White Mouse Racing made sure to regain control of the situation. Peter pulled 10 laps in lane yellow/3, Jørn pulled 5 laps in white/4 and Henrik pulled another 5 laps in lane purple/5. This meant that I could drive much more securely and fast in lane green/1, so much that I managed to addl another 9 laps to our lead. We were now 39 laps ahead of RfH.
The team with the biggest problems during the night section were Høfler, loosing maybe 50 laps on a problem they thought to be the car, but proved to be a faulty controller - too bad because they had been very close to thirs place and Team Virages.
[b]After 6 hours:[/b]
1 White Mouse Racing 3156 laps
2 Racing for Holland 3117 laps
3 Team Virage 3080 laps
4 Høfler Racing 3036 laps
5 Jylland Junited 2980 laps
6 HMC 2898 laps
7 Stoneloose Fast Boyz 2687 laps
8 Racing for Odder 2438 laps
Due to numerous computer problems and a cut of the power to the track and computers during the first 6 hours, we were now one hour behind schedule, and it was decided to set the driving time for the last day section down to 2 hours, so we could end on schedule at 2:30 AM. White Mouse Racing was doing the safe race now, we just needed to keep the distance to RfH and not run into technical problems. Rfh was on the hunt, amd both Nick and Gabriel drove like cats out of hell to try and catch the White Mice. In third place Vireage was secure until they had to change wheels and mounted a set which were not really round - by this they lost important laps because Høfler was gaining laps on them constantly - the rest of the field was status quo.
Everybody were getting tired now, and it was obious that the concentration levels fell, and more and more stupid, unnecessary TRACK calls came. The last 20 minutes were really intense. I was sitting on needles, were White Mouse really going to win a race and then over such hard opponents, domestic and foreign. Yes we were. The "Bad Boys" Leader Panoz LMP900 #13, driven excellently by Jørn Birkebæk, Peter Lind and Henrik Hasager, and so so by myself to a fantastic wonderful victory.
1. White Mouse Racing, Panoz LMP, Difalco DD232-15 controller, Jørn Birkebæk, Peter Lind, Henrik Hasager, Pål Hanson: 4.223 omg (Top Qualifier)
2. Racing for Holland, Ferrari 575GTS, Tamar Nelwan, Gabriel Inhäbit, Nick de Wachter: 4.194 omg.
3. Høfler Racing, Audi R8, Gorm Nørgaard, Christian Høfler og Keld Høfler: 4.079 omg.
4. Team Virage, Chrysler Viper GTS, Rasmus Johansen, Søren Henriksen, Jan Vegenfeldt, Gert Klinge: 4.065 omg.
5. Jylland Junited, Nissan R390GT1, Jakob Andersen, Henning Smed KOF, Morten, Ole Andersen: 3.981 omg.
6. HMC Racing, Audi R8, Jørgen Rigtrup, Steen STP Pedersen, Robert Castella, Michael Klarskov: 3.879 omg.
7. Stoneloose FB, Audi R8, Benjamin Ackerman, Rolf Næhr, Kasper Riedel, Peter Christiansen, Jens Peter A.: 3.579 omg.
8. Racing for Odder, Nissan 350Z GTS, Erik Mathiasen, Kasper Riedel, Per Dyrholm: 3.287 omg.
Thanks to all, also the many spectators who found their way to our track, the local newspapers and last but certainly not least our guests from abroad, who had driven almost 900 km through the night to participate for the second time.