Andreas Pfister with a hard-fought 4th place at his home race at the Nürburgring Nordschleife
Nürburgring Nordschleife. Following the first two race weekends of the season on the traditional racing circuits, the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza and the Hungaroring, the European Touring Car Championship (FIA ETCC) arrived at this year’s season highlight, the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife. From the 24th to the 27th of May 2017, Europe’s best touring car drivers shared the track with the FIA World Touring Car Championship (FIA WTCC) as part of the ADAC Zurich 24-hour race on the more than 25-plus kilometer Nürburgring Nordschleife. This year once again saw an amazing crowd of more than 200,000 spectators come to the circuit and they of course kept their fingers crossed for Andreas Pfister, the only German driver on the starting grid.
“The Green Hell”, the Nürburgring Nordschleife is an absolute legendary circuit, and simply anything can happen on its 25-plus kilometers. If your concentration lapses even for just a millisecond, this can not only cost you the lead, it can also cost you your race car. And it is exactly this absolute unpredictability with the circuit’s many curves, jumps and bumps that makes the Nordschleife so unique. “I am very proud to be the only German to have made it onto the starting grid of the European Touring Car Championship (FIA ETCC) and the FIA World Touring Car Championship (FIA WTCC)!” said the 29-year-old driver Andreas Pfister just prior to the race weekend.
Andreas Pfister gave everything he had to offer in front of his home crowd and even started the second race from pole position!
He put in a good performance over the entire weekend despite the ongoing “top-speed deficit”.
It was already apparent after just the first free training that despite the current technical disadvantage that Andreas Pfister had to deal with on the car, he would be right in the thick of things when it came to deciding the winner on this extremely demanding circuit. “It is just so much fun to drive on each and every single kilometer of this phenomenal racing circuit. Together with our team we were able to find a very good chassis set-up, and this gave me the trust in the race car that I needed. Considering the current technical disadvantage that we have due to the older dual-clutch transmission (DST), something which costs us up to 10 km/h of top speed on the long straights at the “Döttinger Höhe”, we can be very pleased to be starting from 7th!” said Pfister.
In the finish, the winner crossed the finish line just 2.351 seconds ahead of me!
Following a turbulent opening to the first race, Andreas Pfister concentrated over the 3 tough laps in “The Green Hell” on bringing home a tactically important 8th place. “The eighth place not only meant a further European Touring Car Championship point, but also secured pole position for the second race. So I’m of course really motivated to put in a particularly strong performance because I’m starting from the front of the pack. It’s going to be really difficult for us on the straights, but I am going to give it everything to keep my nose in front!” said a psyched up driver before the second race.
That Andreas Pfister would certainly stay true to his word is something he demonstrated impressively once the start lights went out and the second race got underway. In the first lap he had a top-class battle with his rivals Peter Rikli (Honda Civic) and Igor Stefanovski (SEAT Leon SEQ). “I felt really good and was able to attack. Especially in the curvier sections of the circuit I was able to match the speed of the leading group, or even top it at times. On the long “Döttinger Höhe” I had to cough up some speed, but after driving an almost perfect race against a top-class field, I am proud to have finished in 4th place. And at the end of 3 laps of “The Green Hell”, we took the chequered flag just 2.351 seconds behind the winner. This just shows how incredibly tight it is in the European Touring Car Championship and how high the standard is!”
With its 25-plus kilometers, the Nürburgring Nordschleife is the most demanding race circuit in the world.
Directly after the race Andreas Pfister was definitely a bit frustrated after having so narrowly missed out on the win, but he knew that he had gotten everything possible out of the car.
“That was one of the best races of my career and I know that we got everything possible out of the car. I would particularly like to thank everybody in my team (Alois Pfister, Kai Denner, Alfred Hutzel, Mirek Göbel, Erik Breitenbach, Sigrid Pfister) for their excellent work and commitment, as well as all the fans who came to the circuit and made this weekend such an unforgettable experience!” said Andreas Pfister in an interview with the media.
The next race stop for the European Touring Car Championship (FIA ETCC) this season is the urban circuit in Vila Real, Portugal from the 23rd to the 25th of June 2017. All the races are broadcast live on TV on the channels EUROSPORT and EUROSPORT 2.
O V E R A L L R A N K I N G S Top 10
European Touring Car Championship (FIA ETCC)
after 6 of 12 competitive races
- Christjohannes Schreiber (SUI) Honda Civic SEQ 44 points.
- Petr Fulin (CZE) SEAT Leon SEQ 43 points.
- Igor Stefanovski (MAZ) SEAT Leon SEQ 33 points.
- Norbert Nagy (HUN) SEAT Leon SEQ 31 points.
- Peter Rikli (SUI) HONDA Civic SEQ 25 points.
- Fabio Mota (POR) SEAT Leon SEQ 18 points.
- Zsolt Szabo (HUN) SEAT Leon SEQ 16 points.
- Andreas Pfister (GER) SEAT Leon DSG 13 points.
- Mladen Lalusic (SRB) SEAT Leon SEQ 10 points.
- Alexandr Artemyev (KAZ) SEAT Leon SEQ 8 Points.
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Photos: Petr Fryba