VLN Champion Schrey pushes car over finish line and collapses
Who loves his car… – VLN champion Michael Schrey showed first-class sporting spirit at the start of the season – but his efforts were unfortunately in vain.
When the chequered flag was already outside at the season opener of the VLN Endurance Championship at the Nürburgring-Nordschleife and the overall winners already gave their first interviews in the Parc Ferme, a drama took place outside on the track that was not only ready for the movies but also had a direct effect on the championship fight: Michael Schrey, reigning VLN Champion, pushed his BMW M235i over the
Shortly before the finish line, Schrey suddenly stopped after he had led his class “Cup5”, in which standard BMW M235i vehicles drive, up to that point: “We still don’t know exactly what it was,” he told Motorsport-Total.com. “It may have been a lack of fuel, but actually something like this announces itself about a stuttering engine. “I didn’t have one of those all round. He just went out.”
Annoying enough, the class win was gone. But Schrey did not think about giving up: He pushed his BMW over the finish line without further ado and then collapsed next to his car. The same thing happened to Formula 1 legend Nigel Mansell, who pushed his car across the finish line at the 1984 US Grand Prix and then went down unconscious due to overexertion.
The tragedy: While Mansell was happy about a World Championship point at the time, Michael schrey was taken out of the classification because his car did not roll over the finish line on its own. Otherwise, he would have finished fourth in class. The whole drama can be seen in the official VLN live stream of the first race on YouTube from time stamp 8:30:00 hours.
“Come on, you can make it a few yards!”
Schrey had already achieved the top sporting performance of four hours of driving at the limit and the class victory in front of his eyes when the drama happened. He describes the events at first hand: “I didn’t even think about the results, I just got out and saw only the finish line in front of me. I said to myself,’Come on, you can do the 60 to 70 meters!’ It was a natural, emotional action because I love this sport and I didn’t even think about the consequences of a non-rating at that moment.”
Even his team could not tell him over the radio that it was a futile struggle for love, because the connection had already been lost during the race. So the VLN champion pushed against the force of 1.4 tons and the resistance of the profileless slicks until he collapsed on the green strip after passing the finish line, which made the melodrama of the scene perfect.
Please leave for a moment
“That’s when it all came together,” says the 35-year-old. After I crossed the finish line, it became clear to me that the victory was lost. On the other hand it was physical exhaustion – not in the sense that I had become black in front of my eyes, but my legs were the problem. At the beginning I was still in a kind of tipple sprint, which then gradually changed into a slow gear, where I tried to push the car out of my legs, because even my arms couldn’t do it anymore”.
“When I saw that I had pushed the car over the line, both came together: all the tension dropped and the disappointment was just huge. Just as I was leaving the car, a man from the track security came and supported me. When I dropped completely, I guess he couldn’t hold me properly anymore. That’s why I collapsed. I told him I wanted to lie down for a moment. We were talking the whole time and after about twelve seconds he pulled me up again. “I simply asked him for a bottle of water and quickly went behind the guard rail.”
While the fans celebrated the scene with frenetic applause, the race management had to remove Michael Schrey with a heavy heart from the results. The latter will not contest the decision: “On the one hand, the regulations state that you have to cross the finish line on your own and, on the other hand, that pushing vehicles outside the pit lane is prohibited. These two articles were decisive. I accepted that right away. It’s all right, I’ll have to live with that.”
Starter method not possible
As the points distributed in the VLN Endurance Championship are based on the number of participants in the class and the “Cup5” category with over 20 starters is one of the “fullest” classes at the Nürburgring, Michael Schrey is again one of the favourites for the title this season. These chances have now received a first damper, but it cannot be discouraged, especially since there are two strike results in the season: “Last year I was in the same situation with a retirement in the first race. Of course it’s not ideal – it would have been better to start the season with a win. But in 2017, it was enough for the title.”
“I told the boys after a moment of calm that we have been very successful the last two years and that together we win and lose. If it really was too little fuel, then it’s a very human mistake that can happen to all of us. I enjoyed so much success because the boys did a great job. Then such a mistake can happen. No one on the team should be angry with the other and we will give everything to make it better at the second run.”
By the way: crossing the finish line with the starter motor was not possible because the BMW M235i Racing does not have a racing transmission for cost reasons, but the standard eight-speed automatic transmission. But then I realized:’Shit, the third pedal is missing’,” laughs Schrey, who has found his humor again after the mishap.