When I’m gone

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A forest path between Nürburg and Quiddelbach:  the sky is a gentle shade of orange with a soft hint of purple, framed in the dark lace of the pine trees. Wild raspberries growing along the path on top of the hill, the undergrowth turning into wilder ferny looking stuff along the little brook further down the road.

There is no one around, just some birds in the trees, the deer that were there in the early morning are no longer there.  It feels good when with every gasp for breath you get a mouthful of air that smells like grass and pine-trees and sunset. And there is no one to ask you why the hell you are crying, no need for censorship. You just sit on the grass and let yourself be – happy because it happened, sad because it’s gone. Maybe for good.

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Cup of skill, pound of determination, a pinch of luck and sprinkle of miracle

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This really has happened, hasn’t it? It wasn’t all a dream, was it? Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Earl Bamber won the 24h of Le Mans. They won this crazy ruthless race. If it were fiction, one would say the scriptwriter overdid it. The reality of it will take a while to set in.

Apparently there is nothing that tastes better than Veltins Pils. Maybe the cold water offered by the Porsche staff to the fans gathered around their garages after the podium ceremony. Singing along to “We are the champions” and “Auf uns”, getting to actually touch the constructor’s trophy – it’s surreal.

It was such a privilege to see the team celebrate, to celebrate with them. It was an absolute honour to congratulate Timo in person – all soaked in champagne and wrapped in the wreath, exhausted but so incredibly happy. He is the hero. Knowing it was him in the car for that crucial last stint, was somehow calming. You can rely on Timo to do things like that, to keep cool in the boiling cockpit at 330 kmh, fighting for the win, that seemed impossible after every other LMP1 car has broken down. Timo is the hero – not the least because when he heard that, first thing he said was “Brendon and Earl are.”

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Eifelsucht.

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“Are you waiting for Mark?” asks Brendon. “He’s flown away already.”

Trees look like black lace on the smoky sky, sun has sat already, the grandstands are empty. The teams dissemble their equipment. Dunlop and Michelin have packed before the end of the race, the trucks start moving, and in a matter of minutes you almost get lost.

“I hope you had a good weekend,” says Brendon with a tired smile and heads towards their hospitality.

Did we have a good weekend? “Mega!” as Mark said, giving me a high five after the race.

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Spa. Simply Perfect Atmosphere.

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Porsche 919 Hybrid passing by the LMP2 of G-Drive racing during the Free Practice on Thursday 05.05.2016

You close your eyes and listen: the birds singing, the wind rustling through the lacy tops of the old pines, the tiny river with an infamous name flowing along the stones overgrown with moss… this peace and quiet makes you forget about time. But once the lights go green and the sound of the engines enweaves neatly into the calm timelessness of the Ardenne countryside every thousandth of a second counts. It was my third time at the WEC 6h of Spa-Francorchamps, and it was magic.

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Live the passion

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When you stand under the podium in Monza the world ceases to exist, in some weird way you cease to exist, you become part of that energy, you breath with it, you scream with it, and you cannot quite believe that this can be real.

Monza wasn’t really planned for me three weeks before the race, but it suddenly came on the radar, when stuff got sorted out in the real life. I have always wanted to go to Monza, and it was not really about the event, it was more about the circuit. God she is beautiful! For a while before I started going to races, I didn’t quite get all the old-school-circuit kind of talk. I think after being to Spa twice and now having visited Monza, I begin to understand what people mean. There’s something about it, that I personally cannot put into words. Sheer realisation of the history of the place is enough for it to be breathtaking, but what comes on top, is the incredible energy the fans bring to the circuit. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt if you are a bit of a Ferrari fan.

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6h of Nürburgring or three days of pure happiness

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This weekend couldn’t  be more perfect. I think I will need a while to comprehend that this everything was real, that I didn’t dream it.

WEC is an amazing race to go to, after two years in a row in Spa, I knew that much for sure. Tickets are very affordable, the access is amazing, organisation is mostly impeccable. WEC is an amazing kind of racing to watch live.

Nürburgring has proven to be a great venue, too. The area is unbelievably beautiful. High up the Eifel mountains with the tiny villages around and that mideavel castle on top of the hill, it is a great destination to get away from the hassle of the real life.

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