Land Motorsport #29 wins an extremely nerve-wrecking 24 Hours of Nürburgring.
The team with Connor Di Phillippi, Christopher Mies, Kelvin van der Linde, and Markus Winkelhock led the majority of the race, but it wasn’t an easy task for them. There were a lot of bumps on the roads…
Glickenhaus #704 started out from Pole Position, but the lead was changing several times with both Audi Sport Team WRT #9 and Land Motorsport #29.
About two hours into the race, there #704 were hit by a Mercedes during an overtake, and they had to pit for repairs, which cost them any chances of winning.
ROWE Racing BMW #98 had the lead for three laps, but from then on, it was a pure Audi show until the flag.
#29 and #9 were battling for a lot of the race, with primarily #29 ahead.
With around one and a half hours left of the race, there were dramas surrounding #29. Kelvin van der Linde had just come in the car and while he was exiting the pits, the engine went into limp home mode. He tried to restart it several times around the Grand Prix loop but didn’t get the problem solved. Instead of driving onto the long Nordschleife, he dived straight back into the pits, which cost him the lead of the race. The mechanics quickly got a sensor fault reset with a laptop,and send him back on the track – now in third position.
Audi Sport Team WRT number 9 with Rene Rast behind the wheel had taken over the lead, and looked in control, to take a secure win, since he had quite a gap to ROWE Racing BMW #98.
The Nordschleife always brings surprises and with less than 30 minutes to go, heavy rain started on parts of the circuit.
Land Motorsport #29 were in the pits for refueling, and here van der Linde made a mistake, but almost leaving the pits with the fuel nozzle still attached to the car. The team quickly got him stopped again. The time was ticking and then the team made a race deciding decision – rain tires!
While ROWE Racing BMW #98 and Audi Sport Team WRT #9 were on slicks, rain tires could be the thing to be on.
TV cameras started to show more and more rain on the winding track through the forest, so it was clear what the correct tire choice were – and that was rain tires.
In just one lap we saw Kelvin van der Linde overtake Nicky Catsburg in ROWE Racing BMW #98 and then take the lead from Rene Rast in #9. All cars on slicks struggled so much, they looked like road cars being overtaken by a Formula 1 car.
Starting the final lap of the race, both #9 and #98 dived into the pits for rain tires, but while they had already lost the win by 30 seconds.
Catsburg and the BMW did claim second on the final lap, and put about 20 seconds on Rast by the finish line.
A sensational drama for Land Motorsport #29, who looked like they had lost everything, and then at the end, still claim the big price.
Phoenix Racing Audi #5 was battling for the win as well, when Nicolaj Møller Madsen put the car hard in the barrier from third position on Saturday evening. He managed to limp the car back home in the pits, but it took the team more than an hour to get it race ready again. Every chance of a podium had disappeared, and they finished a disappointing 19th overall.
The best placed Porsche 911 GT3 R was Frikadelli Racing #31 in 6th overall. Porsche was never really battling for the podium, and even finished behind the best placed Mercedes-AMG GT3 #1.
Aston Martin #7 was the class winner in SP8, in which they led most of the race.
The next time we will see the majority of the cars back on track, will be on June 24th, for Round 3 of the VLN championship. N24 isn’t part of the championship, but a lot of the teams enters both series.