PODIUM RUN CONTINUES FOR BEN TUCK AFTER SUPERB CHARGE TO 3RD
Ben Tuck’s impressive debut European GT season continued apace at the weekend with yet another podium appearance, the 4th in a row at the Nurburgring Nordschleife in the highly respected German VLN Championship. In a drive reminiscent of his previous stellar comebacks, Ben fought to overcome a huge time deficit after a problematic pitstop, driving from 5th position in the final stint to within 0.2 seconds of 2nd place in the GT4 class after 6 hours of racing.
Round 5 of the notoriously competitive German VLN Championship was a 6-hour race where Tuck formed part of a 4-man crew in his now familiar Total Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M4 GT4.
In typically wet and misty conditions at the legendary 15-mile track deep in Germany’s Eiffel mountains, the crew were able to qualify their BMW M4 GT4 4th in class after a tricky qualifying session which was plagued by accidents and incidents.
The team allocated Tuck to the final stint in the 6-hour race, meaning he watched his teammates as the action got underway in wet conditions. However, the early part of the race didn’t go according to plan as the car dropped away to 5th position in class and a broken wheel stud at a pitstop added a delay of several minutes. By the time Tuck received the #191 car, 90 minutes remained on the clock, and the gap to 4th position was daunting.
However, with characteristic determination he left the pit lane and immediately set fastest sector times to begin reeling in the front runners. After an hour of relentless charging and having set a fastest lap, Ben had made up enough time to take 4th position, which turned into 3rd after the leader pulled out with damage. The hunt continued and on the final lap Ben was attacking for 2nd position, lining up to pounce at the final corner after the 2.8km long straight. Unfortunately, an incident just before they arrived prohibited any passing move and Ben blasted over the finish line just 0.2 seconds behind in 3rd position and less than 30 seconds behind the winner to secure his 4th consecutive podium.
“Nurburgring always throws up a challenge and I’ve had some great races in VLN and the 24hr race, but that was one of the hardest so far, but I’m pleased I was able to run a lot quicker than the leaders through the stint and recover” said Ben. “BMW and Walkenhorst were brilliant as they have been all year and without the problem in the pits and the yellows [flags] at the last corner we might have had the win!”
To recover such a large deficit is clear evidence of Tuck’s ability to sustain a consistent race winning pace over a long stint, a talent crucial in the world of endurance GT and sportscar racing and a sure sign that even greater things are on the horizon.
Ben will next be competing in the VLN Championship at the Nürburgring Nordschleife on 7th September 2019.