MECHANICAL WOES MAR NLS5
For the next 4 race meetings it’s all about the Nurburgring for Ben Tuck. From this weekend’s NLS Round 5 until his appearance at the world renowned 24H of Nurburgring in late September, Ben will visit the imposing German track no less than 4 times in 5 weeks. He could be forgiven then, for looking to start off this stretch at the Eiffel looking for good omens. However, motorsport can be a cruel master for a pro driver and Ben had to dig deep to work with the cards that fate dealt him this weekend after a series of mechanical problems.
NLS 5 delivered the challenge of an extra 2 hours of racing to the championship regulars, with the 6-hour race also adding a fourth driver to the crew roster for the Walkenhorst team. A popular rehearsal for the 24H of Nurburgring, the NLS5 grid was particularly full this weekend as it kicked off under cold and windy conditions for Friday Practice.
However, almost immediately, Bens BMW M4 GT4 suffered a power problem which kept the team guessing all weekend. The issue clouded practice day for the crew as the team struggled to get to grips with the trouble – a resolution still evading the team by the end of the day.
Qualifying early the next morning only compounded the issue when an oil leak fully occupied the team for the entire session. Despite maximum effort from the pit crew, the car was not able to roll out for the qualifying, consigning the ailing BMW to last on the grid.
With a mountain to climb again Ben took the starting stint of the 6-hour race, deftly avoiding a messy first lap, determined to make as many gains as possible before the performance deficit began to make itself felt. By the end of the opening lap he was up to 4th and closing on 3rd position. By lap 3 he’d taken 3rd and was beginning to give chase to the leaders. When Tuck pitted as planned on lap 7 he’d turned a seemingly hopeless situation into a potential podium position.
As his teammates took over the fight, another mechanical issue shot down the hopes of the crew of the #191 car. This time a troubled turbo let the car down and it limped back to the pits for repairs. After a huge effort by the team, the car was back out 25 minutes later, more than 2 laps down. Despite a valiant effort, the crew brought the car home to finish at the back of the field.
“We’ve been unusually affected by reliability so far this year” explained Ben. “Everyone worked so hard to get the performance back in the car and it’s such a shame that the efforts of all of us were not able to be rewarded. But there’s no doubt that a lot of work will be done to make sure we have a good car for the next race”.
Ben next visits the Nurburgring on 12/13th and 19/20th September for back to back weekends with the DTM Trophy before his second appearance at the legendary 24H of Nurburgring around the Nordschleife on 26/27th September.