BMW AlpinaThis weekend Wirth and the ALPINA team participated in their final round of competition for the 2009 racing season at the 34th DMV Münsterland Trophy Four-Hour Race at the famous Nürburgring- Nordschleife (North Loop). While this was the 10th and final round of competition for the 2009 BFGoodrich Nürburgring Endurance Championship, this was only ALPINA’s third start in the series.

The newly mated trio of Andreas Wirth, Csaba Walter and Stian Alexander Sorlie in the #78 BMW ALPINA B6 GT3 had no trouble getting up to speed and matching their driving abilities as they qualified a solid sixth place on the grid. “I’m sure we could have been on pole for the race,” began Wirth. “My teammate was on track with a flying lap to take it (pole position) when an unfortunate yellow flag was thrown on the straight. There was a cone on the track and one of the Clios was basically at a dead stop, forcing us to brake and lose our lap. That was a big disappointment, but we knew we had a strong car for the race regardless of our starting place.”

Immersed in a deep field of strong competitors piloting machines of a variety of capabilities, Wirth and his co-drivers endured four hours of racing challenges and brought their first year ALPINA home in a very strong 9th place overall out of 129 event finishers. Andreas, pleased with the team’s accomplishment commented, “We’re really happy to have finished our first VLN event today – 9th place is really pretty good considering this was only our 3rd entry to this series and the field is stacked mainly with Porsche factory drivers and cars that compete the whole season and have much more experience! After having suffered some mechanical problems in our last events here, the most important thing was that we finished today with no issues in a four hour race.”

Looking ahead to next year and sadly seeing the close of his first season with ALPINA, Wirth said, “Every event this year we’ve learned a lot, every lap we put in and all the effort – it’s all been worthwhile. The development of the car is well on the way and we’re already looking forward to next year where we will be pushing hard for the win! It’s been a really tough year on all of the guys and really our whole team as we get back on track. We have a lot to live up to and our own expectations are even higher than that, so I have to say a really big Thank-You to all of the mechanics, engineers and just everyone that has worked so hard to make this all-new ALPINA team happen. Everyone has been so professional and have made this year a real thrill. I’m so proud to be a part of this team, especially in their first year back to racing – I think it’s been a huge success!”