Tales from the paddock – Manuel Metzger: “It was a cool experience to be the fastest person on the VLN configuration of the Nürburgring”

17.
April 2019
Stuttgart

Nordschleife expert Manuel Metzger working towards a comeback after sustaining an injury in training

  • This is what happened: Results and facts
  • News from the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport teams
  • Three questions for Manuel Metzger
  • Social media news: What’s new online?

This is what happened: Results and facts

  • Formula 1: Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas secure a third one-two victory of 2019 in Formula 1 race number 1,000
  • Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup: Luca Stolz, Yelmer Buurman and Maro Engel on the podium at Monza

News snippets

Stat Attack – Chinese GP: Formula 1 reached the 1,000-race mark last weekend with the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai. Fittingly for the occasion, the spectators at the Shanghai International Circuit witnessed yet another chapter being written in the long success story of the Silver Arrows. On Saturday, Valtteri Bottas had secured his seventh pole position in the highest echelon of the sport and a seventh pole for Mercedes on Chinese soil. The weekend continued in a successful vein, with Lewis Hamilton claiming a 75th Grand Prix victory on Sunday, his second of the season and his sixth in China. The runner-up spot for Valtteri completed the Silver Arrows one-two, a third for the team in 2019. It was also victory number six for Mercedes in China and the brand’s 90th in Formula 1. All in all, a perfect start to our big anniversary year, in which we will be celebrating 125 years of motorsport and 85 years of the Silver Arrows.

Podium in general classification and a one-two in the Silver Cup at Monza: Mercedes-AMG Motorsport had an excellent team result on the opening weekend of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup. The reigning champions Yelmer Buurman (NED), Maro Engel (GER) and Luca Stolz (GER) in the number 6 Mercedes-AMG Team BLACK FALCON took third place in the general classification, thereby getting their title defence off to a solid start. From 14th on the grid, they mounted a strong charge through the field, which was ultimately rewarded with a podium spot. Meanwhile, the number 90 AKKA ASP Team car driven by Nico Bastian (GER), Timur Boguslavskiy (RUS) and Felipe Fraga (BRA) and the number 6 BLACK FALCON with Patrick Assenheimer (GER), Hubert Haupt (GER) and Gabriele Piana (ITA) were making it a Mercedes one-two in the Silver Cup. Haupt, Assenheimer and Piana had started from even further back – P24 – but still managed a fifth-place finish in the overall classification. Unfortunately, things did not go so well for the number 88 car entered by Mercedes-AMG Team AKKA ASP. After leading for part of the race, the Mercedes-AMG GT3 was forced to retire approximately 20 minutes before the end with damage sustained early on. Unpredictable weather conditions caused many of the 46 cars in the initial line-up to skid off track, resulting in multiple safety car deployments. This meant that the drivers were all involved in tight battles for position over the entire race distance and ensured an exciting finish. The next event on the Blancpain GT Series calendar is the sprint race to be contested at Brands Hatch on the weekend of 4th - 5th May.

Podium and class victories in the GT4 European Series: The GT4 European Series also got underway this weekend, and the Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing teams enjoyed considerable success in the second race. Bas Schouten (BEL) and Junior Strous (NED) of the Selleslagh Racing Team took second place in both the general and the Silver Cup classifications in an exciting contest on Sunday. Winners of the Pro-Am class in Race 2 were the Leipert Motorsport duo of Marcus Paverud (NOR) and GT newcomer Luca Trefz (GER), for whom it was actually a debut competitive appearance in a GT car. Also taking home silverware were Johan Vannerum and Jean-Luc Behets (both BEL) who claimed victory in the AM class on both days in a Mercedes-AMG GT4 fielded by the Selleslagh Racing Team.

Class victory in the Blancpain GT Sports Club: Lee Mowle (GBR) secured victory in the Titanium class in the second race of the weekend and third overall for the ERC Motorsport team at the start of the Blancpain GT Sports Club season.

Two victories and a podium finish in the DMV GTC at the Hockenheimring: Kenneth Heyer (GER) driving the number 5 Mercedes-AMG GT3 fielded by équipe vitesse won the Sunday race of the DMV GTC at the Hockenheimring after finishing runner-up on Saturday. Together with partner Dykan Derdaele (BEL), Heyer also won the Dunlop 60 race.

Three questions for Manuel Metzger

Manuel Metzger counts as one of the top Nürburgring Nordschleife (North Loop) experts. He has been a regular high-performance driver for Mercedes-AMG in recent years. After his victory in the six-hour VLN Langstreckenmeisterschaft Nürburgring race and second place in the 24-hour race in 2018, Manuel Metzger had set himself ambitious targets for this year. However, a leg injury sustained in training has set his plans back for the time being.

Manuel, the first time you drove on the Nordschleife was in 2012 in an SLS AMG GT3. What has been the standout moment of your career with Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing so far?

Manuel Metzger: Yes, my first outing on the Nordschleife was back in 2012, sharing the cockpit of a BLACK FALCON SLS AMG GT3 with Sean Edwards, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Ralf Schall. I also drove for BLACK FALCON in 2013 and 2014, but in cars supplied by other manufacturers in the V5 and SP3T classes. In 2015 and 2016, I then fought my way back up from the lower classes. The two highlights of 2016 for me were the victory in the 24-hour race and my lap record in the six-hour race of the VLN Langstreckenmeisterschaft Nürburgring. The record may only have stood for two weeks, but it was a cool experience to be the fastest person on the VLN configuration of the Nürburgring.

As an out-and-out Nordschleife expert, you’re one of the fastest drivers in the so‑called ‘Green Hell’. This year, you had big plans for the Nürburgring Nordschleife before an injury in training threw them into disarray. How are you feeling now, and what does your rehab programme involve?

Manuel Metzger: The injury came as a huge shock, because the initial diagnosis was very bad. They told me I would have to use crutches for at least six weeks before I would be able to manage without. It would have been three months before I could go running. Fortunately, a subsequent examination showed that the injury to the femur was not as bad as they had at first thought, and I was able to walk normally again after three weeks. Since then, I’ve got back to light exercise which, at the moment, involves a lot of indoor cycling. I don’t want to risk aggravating the injury ahead of the 24-hour race. I’m almost pain-free, and I think I’ll be fit again in two weeks, just in time for the third VLN race.

What are your other plans for this season?

Manuel Metzger: Originally, I was recruited by Team Indigo Racing to drive for them in five of the six Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia races. Unfortunately, I missed the first race due to my injury. I helped the team find a replacement driver, Gabriele Piana. He has done an excellent job and laid down a good foundation for me, assuming I’m able to join them for the second race in Buriram (Thailand). The plan is to compete in all the remaining races of the series. The problem is that Suzuka clashes with the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring. I will obviously be in the Eifel that weekend. In the run-up, I will probably also compete in the third race of the VLN and the 24-hour qualifying race. After that, there are no concrete plans. But I think that I will be back on the Nordschleife again for Mercedes-AMG after the 24-hour race. Of course, I’m hoping to be able to compete in the Mercedes-AMG GT3 on a frequent basis, and I just can’t wait to finally get back in the car.

Social Media News

#125YearsMotorsport: To mark our 125-year history in motor racing and the 1,000th Formula 1 race, we brought together some of the most legendary cars at Silverstone. We also allowed Toto, Lewis and Valtteri to take them out on track.

Watch video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEAVdftpBUg

#BGTSMonza: Here are the daily video recaps for Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing from the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup season opener at Monza:

Watch video - Recap Friday: www.facebook.com/MercedesAMGCustomerRacing/videos/2126457497408818/

Watch video - Recap Saturday: www.facebook.com/MercedesAMGCustomerRacing/videos/2222904001358953/

Watch video - Recap Sunday: www.facebook.com/MercedesAMGCustomerRacing/videos/2450648888281745/

Press Contact

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