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Podium for Nico Verdonck on comeback with Ford GT in ADAC GT Masters

Called upon by the family of the late Harald Müller to drive the Ford GT of the Lambda Performance team, the Belgian Nico Verdonck and his teammate Frank Kechele more than honoured the memory of the defunct offering their team a pole position and a second place in the final of the ADAC GT Masters at Hockenheim.

For Nico Verdonck, it was a weekend filled with emotions. “The family of Harald Georg Müller, the founder of the Lambda Performance team, had asked me to team up with Frank Kechele to honour the memory of their parent, who has passed away in 2014 following a lengthy illness”, Nico explained. “ I had previously competed with them and we had retained a good relationship. The main purpose was to please them by, if possible, offering up a good result with the team’s Ford GT.”

Right from the qualifying sessions of this renowned ADAC GT Masters, both the two drivers and the car immediately demonstrated that, notwithstanding two years of absence, they were still up to standard. “We secured 6th place on the grid for the start of the first race, followed by the pole position for the second”, a smiling Nico commented. “Quite frankly this was unexpected. Not only had the car and the team not appeared in competition since two years, but on top of that this was the first time that this Ford GT was shod with Pirelli tyres. We thought we would need a period to adapt, but it turned out better than foreseen.”

The 29 year-old Brussels resident was designated to take the start of the first race. “ I took a superb start and moved up from 6th to 2nd spot in just a few bends”, he remarked. “Unfortunately there was a serious crash in the pack and the red flag was waved. Following a second start I took off from 4th place and made up two positions during my stint. Regrettably we lost some time during the pit stop. As such Frank returned to the track in 5th position and then lost a further two places, resulting in him taking the chequered flag in 7th place of this first race.”

The following day a damp track awaited the competitors of the ADAC GT Masters for the second confrontation… that was also the series final meeting of the 2015 season. “ Frank took off from pole position, but was unable to hold on to his advantage”, Nico explained. “During his stint the race was neutralised on two occasions and he was finally lying in third when handing over the car for the driver change over. It was also in this position that I returned to the track. I felt really good behind the wheel and was able to move up one place prior to taking the chequered flag. After the pole position, this second place was a superb reward for the entire Lambda Performance team and Harald Georg Müller’s close family. I thank them for having once again put their trust in me and I’m delighted to have been able, together with Frank, to bring them such a result. It was a fabulous week-end!”

This excellent performance definitely did not go unnoticed and we hope to see Nico Verdonck more often at the wheel of a GT3 in the future. “I believe that I have truly shown that I definitely have my place at this level”, Nico smiled. “ And I hope that it will bear its fruits in the future …”

Retained by this race in Germany, Nico was unable to compete in the final round of the BRCC championship with the BMW M3 GT4 of the Dutch duo Gerard Van der Horst and William Van Deyzen, whom the Belgian has been coaching and racing with throughout the entire season. “I was delighted to learn that they finished in 2nd place in the BRCC Trophy at the Anneau du Rhin“, the Brussels based driver imparted. “At the same time, thanks to their excellent progress over the season they also clinched their first vice-champion’s title in that category. I take this opportunity to congratulate them for this great performance!”