TUCK JOINS LEADERS IN VLN DELUGE!
Ben Tuck well and truly cemented his position as a leading Nurburgring driver in last weekend’s VLN 3 race held on the mighty Nordschleife circuit deep in Germany’s Eiffel mountains. As the 4-hour race was drenched by heavy rain, Ben Tuck took the fight to the leaders across two stints eventually clocking up the second fastest lap of the race in the closing stages.
True to form, the imposing 15-mile-long circuit served up more weather-related chaos causing carnage among the 190 cars on circuit. After Round 1 was cut short by thick fog and Round 2 was cancelled by snow, Ben’s car did not escape damage in this latest rain hit race as one of his co-drivers slid off the circuit damaging the suspension, which cost several laps to fix.
As the rain clouds were already gathering, Ben started only his 3rd Nurburgring qualifying session immediately on front running pace, battling for Pole Position on his first flying lap. That lap stood as the class fastest of the day for the team, good for the very front row and equalled the team’s best class qualifying position claimed by Ben at the previous Round.
Walkenhorst elected to have Ben start the race again and for the second time in as many races he joined the top 3, battling for the lead as the heavens opened and driving conditions again became treacherous. With multiple accidents and incidents to negotiate, Ben stayed at the sharp end, eventually bringing the car safely to the pits in 3rd position after 6 laps.
As the conditions worsened his co-driver in the next stint was not able to halt a slide and collided with the barrier. Although the damage was serious, the car was nursed back to the pits where the team were able to make a repair after around 20 minutes of frantic work.
The 3rd driver was able to prove that the repairs were solid, and the team began to claw back some of the 2-lap deficit. The decision was taken to place Ben back in the car for the final 2 laps of the race and to gamble on slick dry weather tyres. On a damp but drying track Ben surged forward, lapping some 40 seconds faster than the next fastest car who was also on slick tyres. As the race finished, the track was rapidly drying and his fastest lap was snatched away only at the last second by the race winner, after an incident slowed Ben’s pace in the final sector of the race.
Ben was pleased with his performance. “The whole point of this is to challenge myself as a driver and to grow my experience.” He said after the race. “The weather situation has not really been in the plan, but it’s definitely challenged me, and I’m glad to be able to show that I have front running pace amongst the best drivers here in all conditions”.
“There are not many bigger challenges than to battle for the lead at the Nordschleife on slicks in the rain and snow. The car has been solid all weekend and the team did a brilliant job to repair the damage as quick as they did, and it rolled out of the garage spot on.”
Ben still has one eye on his progression. “The weather has not helped the job of getting the right number of laps for the permit to move to GT4 or GT3, but that’s very much still the plan. I can’t thank the team enough, as well as our sponsors and partners, especially Morsons Recruitment who helped support us for this weekend” said Ben.
Ben next races at Nurburgring on 19th May in the 6hr ADAC Qualifying race.