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Nico Verdonck, new Nordschleife race lap record holder in VLN

For his second appearance at the wheel of the Alzen Motorsport entered Ford GT in the VLN championship, Nico Verdonck left a strong impression: the young Belgian treated himself to a new race lap record in GT on the mythical Nordschleife circuit. Notwithstanding a technical issue that resulted in a premature retirement, Nico retains enormous pleasure of his drive at the wheel of this muscle car.

Five weeks after an initial appearance at the wheel of the Ford GT in the VLN championship, Nico Verdonck once again headed off for the Nürburgring circuit for the eighth round of this competition held on the mythical Nordschleife. In the wake of a highly promising initial collaboration the Alzen Motorsport team in fact decided to extend the services of the Belgian driver to shoulder the German Mike Stursberg.

To be back behind the wheel of this car gave me great pleasure”, the Brussels based driver smiled. “I thoroughly enjoyed myself at the wheel of such a powerful machine which is incredibly entertaining to drive.”

It is often said that a driver who takes pleasure in what he does also performs far better. This is exactly what Nico confirmed this Saturday when he clocked up a fantastic race lap time of 7’58’’558. “In fact this is a new lap record in VLN”, the driver enthusiastically remarked. “However I did not record it during the qualifying sessions, but in fact during the actual race, with lots of traffic and with a pretty heavy fuel load on board. To lap in under the 8 minutes on this circuit longer than 24 kilometres leaves one with an awesome feeling. You need to be hyper concentrated and extremely alert when it comes to the slower competitors. But what a feat! “

Unfortunately, the race lap record performance was not reflected in the final result. “During qualifying one section of the circuit was neutralised just as I was putting in my fastest lap”, Nico clarified. “As such I found myself 14th on the grid and second in the SPX class. However, having analysed lap times per sector I had spotted that there was some potential! With some fifteen odd GT3 machines this weekend and a fair number of official drivers, the level was pretty high … During my first stint I managed to climb up through the pack and found myself level pegging with my former teammate Adam Christodoulou, who was at the wheel of a Mercedes-AMG GT. Following a first pit pit-stop, we were virtually battling it out for second place, as various drivers ahead still needed to call in to the pits. But just as I was exiting the Karussell I felt I was losing power … and I was obliged to come to a standstill next to the track. It was already over! A great pity because I truly believe we could have aimed for an overall podium place.”

All this aside, the Belgian’s performance definitely did not go unnoticed. Little by little Nico Verdonck is asserting himself to be one of the reference drivers on the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife, considered to be one of the most difficult circuits in the world. And it is definitely not over!

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