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Unlucky Will Hunt recovers top six finish from troubled run at 'The Ring'

Will Hunt recovered a top six finish from the 2023 Nürburgring Langstrecken-Serie (NLS) ROWE 6h ADAC Ruhr-Pokal-Rennen (7-8 July), his Adrenalin Motorsport team cleverly managing a recurrent fuel pump issue for much of the six-hour race.

The Sussex Autos-supported Hunt, Klaus Fassbender, Toby Goodman and James Lay were all satisfied following free practice, having produced a “solid” team performance that stood them in good stead for race day, which, as in NLS 4, began with 90 minutes of qualifying.

Once again, Adrenalin Motorsport supplied its drivers with impeccably detailed information, feedback and guidance that aided their progress, but the value of Hunt, Goodman and Fassbender’s prior experience of the NLS and the Nordschleife was evident in their performances.

A time of 9m33.712s, set on Goodman’s first flying lap, placed the #501 squad fourth on the ten-car VT2 R+4WD grid, and it was Hunt who was elected to start the Sussex Autos-liveried BMW.

The sun blazed down on the Eifel Mountains, ambient temperatures soared and Hunt’s start was just as hot, as the West Sussex-domiciled driver progressed to first at Turn 2, before championship regulars and title contenders shuffled him down to the edge of the top six on the opening circuit of ‘The Ring’.

Unperturbed, Hunt was part of a simmering three-way fight for P4; he picked up fifth position at the expense of the early-stopping #505 entry and chased the #514 machine hard, but a poorly driven Porsche Cayman frustrated his attack, and his BMW then developed a fuel pump issue that put the car into limp home mode.

He toured back to pit lane a lap earlier than planned so the problem could be rectified while he passed the reins to Fassbender, who was unaffected by mechanical troubles and began the #501 quartet’s recovery by rising from ninth to eighth.

Adrenalin Motorsport cycled through Goodman and Lay as per its original strategy and featured in seventh as the race crossed half-distance, even though the fuel pump issues recurred and necessitated further ‘Control-Alt-Delete’ resets in the pits.

The problems were overcome by shortening drivers’ stints and the #501 crew broke back into the top six soon after Hunt was reinserted into the ailing BMW during the fourth hour.

The Sussex Autos-backed driver stretched away from the chasing #505 and did a good job at consolidating P6 in spite of multiple Code 60s, before stepping out with approximately 90 minutes on the clock.

Fassbender held station until Goodman was reinstated and, despite a precautionary splash-and-dash on the penultimate lap to ward off a repetition of the fuel pump problems, the young Brit preserved sixth place to the chequered flag.

“I’m feeling good about our performance because, although we got a raw deal in terms of luck and the result isn’t a true reflection of our pace and potential, absolutely everybody within Adrenalin Motorsport dug really deep to get the most from themselves and the #501 BMW 330i in NLS 5,” said Hunt. “We have calculated that we could have finished second if we hadn't lost so much time because of the mechanical issue, and that’s both a slap in the face and hugely encouraging. However, to recover from ninth to sixth is very good.

“I got up into P2 with the sister Adrenalin car on my inside at the start, but I was bullied by drivers from other classes during the rest of the opening lap and I ended up stuck in the pack in sixth, unable to attack because of our increasing lack of power, caused by the fuel pump problem. I’m happy with my performance considering what was available to me and I’m proud of the entire team for putting their all into getting us to the end of the race.”

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