New ‘reduced odour natural rubber’ offers pioneering, ‘greener’ solution for tyre factories
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Falken experienced mixed emotions during last Sunday’s ADAC Qualifying Race for the 24h Race at the Nürburgring. Following a superlative show during the early phase of the 6h Race, the BMW M6 GT3 had to depart prematurely from the dress rehearsal for the 24h Race. The Porsche 911 GT3, by contrast, passed the finishing line in 15th position after a nail-biting race to catch up.
As is so often the case, the ever-changing weather conditions at the Green Hell played havoc, placing huge demands on the contestants, and already transforming the Top 30 qualifying session into a lottery. The result: 16th starting position for Alexandre Imperatori, Peter Dumbreck and Stef Dusseldorp in the BMW M6 GT3 (#33), and 17th starting position for Martin Ragginger, Dirk Werner and Jörg Bergmeister in the Porsche 911 GT3 R (#44).
Just as the race was about to begin, the surface started to dry off again, making the right choice of tyres even more a matter of luck. Falken decided to go for a dual strategy, sending the vehicles on their journeys with different tyre configurations.
Stef Dusseldorp stole the show in the initial phase. The Flying Dutchman had his BMW fitted with Falken Intermediates, which he was thankful for after an excellent performance. Already on the second lap, he took the lead, clocking up an 8:31.629 minute lap time – the fastest up to that point. So successful was Dusseldorp, in fact, that he was occasionally as much as five seconds ahead of the competition, letting him notch up his lead to over 50 seconds. Peter Dumbreck, who relieved Dusseldorp at the wheel, also kept up this remorseless pace. Alas, the #33 BMW was prematurely ejected from the race following a technical defect which caused it to contact the crash barrier in the Wehrseifen section of the track.
It was an entirely different story for the #44 Porsche, where the team originally went for rain tyres, switching to treadless slicks immediately after the warm-up lap. This decision proved itself to be absolutely right, the Porsche ploughing its way through the field with fast lap times. The experienced driver trio mastered the additional challenge with flying colours, finishing the race in overall 15th position.
Falken’s next race appearance will be at the season’s highlight: the ADAC TOTAL 24h Race at the Nürburgring from 20 - 23 June 2019.