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Carlsson Racer unlucky despite a great performances at the 24 Hour RaceMerzig, )
- Chaotic 24 Hour Race under extreme weather conditions
- After 8.5 hours: 13th place overall and 2nd place behind the Works BMW Z4 of Hans-Joachim Stuck
- Outstanding performance by the entire Carlsson Racing Team not rewarded
Every year, some 200,000 spectators make their way to the Nürburgring for the 24 Hour Race around the 'Nordschleife', the world's most beautiful, interesting and difficult racetrack with a length of 25.4 km and over 70 curves. It was opened on 19 June 1927 on the occasion of the German Grand Prix.
The weather forecast for this year's 35th ADAC Zurich 24 Hour Race from 9 to 10 June 2007 was not very promising. Indeed, the weather was even worse than expected. The start had to be postponed after a deluge of rain and hail had flooded the track and, in some places, left it covered with earth and stones. Thus, with rain tyres and Rainer Brückner at the wheel, the Carlsson Racer began the world's most difficult touring car race around the 'Nordschleife', the 'Green Hell' of the Nürburgring, as 41st of 218 starters.
After two laps behind a safety car, the race was started as the rain began to ease off. Head driver Rainer Brückner quickly saw that the track was drying and handed over to Ingvar Carlsson after only two laps, when he was in 35th place. Now on slicks, Ingvar reeled in the competition lap for lap before handing over the Racing SLK to Russian driver Vadim Kharlov in 19th place after a total of ten laps. Despite relatively little experience of the Nürburgring (two races), Vadim continued to build on Ingvar's position clocking top-ten times for the SP 6 class. However, his progress was rudely interrupted after 7 laps by the misjudgement of another driver, which necessitated a pit stop. After a quick repair by the pit team, who worked perfectly throughout the weekend, the fourth driver, Vitali Dudin, took over, albeit now back in 38th place. Vitali Dudin, who came first in class with Rainer Brückner in the 2002 24 Hours Race and has great experience of the Nürburgring, fought his way back among the front runners before handing the car back to Brückner, in 23rd place.
The night fell and Rainer Brückner hit top form. "I think only 5 cars overtook me the whole time", he said afterwards. "The rest of the time I was doing the overtaking". On the 8th lap of his turn, he overtook the then 2nd placed team of Bonk Motorsport with current VLN champion Mario Merton at the wheel of the Porsche GT3, to go into 2nd place in the SP 6 class behind the works BMW Z4 driven by Stuck, Hürtgen, Stuck jr. and Göransson. After another lap, the Carlsson CK 35 RS was in 13th place and the aim of a place in the top ten within the team's grasp.
At this point, Carlsson would like to offer their special thanks to its Technology Partners, FUCHS and Dunlop. With the high-performance lubricants from FUCHS and the Dunlop Sport MAXX tyres, the Carlsson Team not only benefited from first-class advice but also perfect equipment during its successful race.
Unfortunately, Audi A3 driver Stefan Küster with number 91 brought Rainer's triumphal progress to an abrupt end. After Rainer had overtaken him on the right during the approach to 'Wippermann', Stefan Küster was overeager to get into his slipstream and touched the light rear end of the SLK, which caused it to go into a spin and race backwards into the crash barrier at around 160 km/h. Fortunately, although the SLK was considerably shorter than before with nothing remaining behind the rear axle, Brückner emerged from the wreckage without injury.
Thus, despite the top showing made by the car, its drivers and the whole team, the race came to a premature end for the Carlsson Racer after around 8.5 hours. Had it not been for the accident, the car's reliable technology, the constant, fast lap times in both the wet and dry and the perfect pit work would certainly have resulted in the SLK taking not only 2nd place in the SP 6 class but also a top-ten place overall.
The technical insights at this year's 24 Hour Race were gained in the field of engine technology with particular emphasis being given to the cylinder-head gasket. The race confirmed that, despite an increased compression ratio, the standard gasket is capable withstanding full-throttle driving for hours on end.
There were 2 winners although the Carlsson Racer was literally knocked out of the race. An amount of almost 1.000 Euro €was collected by the 'Carlsson Racing Team Sponsoring Campaign' for which people donated 20 for every lap completed at the 24 Hour Race 2007. This sum will be split equally between 'Star Care' and the 'Riding for Handicapped Children' (Reiten für Kinder mit Behinderung) campaigns. Star Care is an organisation founded by employees and suppliers of DaimlerChrysler AG. Carlsson has supported the 'Riding for Handicapped Children' campaign for many years. Today, two horses made available by Carlsson provide hours of riding pleasure for over 40 handicapped children.
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