There has been big news since qualifying – a balance of performance change to give a bit more to the Audi R8 & BMW M6, but we are going to do our best to ignore such things.
More dramatic though is the Konrad Lamborghini being disqualified from qualifying – the car will be starting from the very back of group 1.
#912 Manthey came into the pits at the end of lap 1 with a slow puncture; but would have plenty of time to recover.
Good start from the leading Porsches, Estre building a 10 second lead; however Maro Engel would be pushing had in the Black Falcon Mercedes.
Contact between the #007 Aston and Bruno Juncadella at the Dunlop Kurve, the Mercedes sliding past for 5th.
Marcel Fässler got caught behind a slower car and was easily passed by the Falkan Porsche for 8th
At the end of the first hour, thanks to being out of pit sequence, Rowe BMW #98 had cycled through to the lead followed by the #6 Black Falcon & Manthey #912.
The battle further down the top 10 was raging – Rene Rast in the #1 Audi in 6th, #48 Mercedes in 12th just 3.5 seconds behind… This close proximity would result in Renger van der Zande overcooking it and punting his Mercedes into the barrier with a lot of damage.
Yelmer Buurman in the #5 Mercedes really had his hands full trying to defend from the #8 WRT Audi all the way through Döttinger Höhe, making it last for a whole lap before giving way to the Audi through the Ford Kurve some 10 minutes later.
Earl Bamber leading with 2 hours complete, neatly avoided a coming together in front of him with one of the SP-Y class Lamborghinis and a production Porsche.
Through the pit sequence, Makowiecki got back past into 2nd and immediately disappeared down the road– the #911 team car not putting up a fight, knowing they were on different strategy; Catsburg in the ROWE BMW M6 however had to really work to get past for 3rd before Hatzenbach.
The #99 Rowe BMW however, has been pulled well off track with the driver attempting to improvise repairs in the engine bay.
#5 Black Falcon Mercedes would receive a penalty for not respecting pit stop times
Several of the lead cars, including one of the Manthey Porsches & the #4 Black Falcon nearly got taken out as they descended on the production cars at the exit of the GP loop.
The Renault RS01 was able to last 3 hours, but alas pulled off to the side of Schwalbenschwanz seemingly done.
#31 Porsche of Norbert Siedler overheating in a big way due to the grill being covered in grass – Norbert having to get out and clear it himself.
4 hours into the race and the top 4 are within 3 seconds – Vanthoor (#911), Baumann (#47), Metzger (#4) & Westbrook (#98)
The #12 customer Manthey Porsche was bought back into the pits with heavy front end damage after contact with one of the Toyota GT-86s.
#47 Mercedes to the lead – but questionable move overtaking a production BMW going slowly under yellows in the final corner, it was pitting but it was still on the track…
Sven Müller got a little impatient in the Falken Porsche, yes he was running in 3rd but forcing his way past the lady’s KTM #201 which in turn was trying to get past a BMW was a risk that didn’t need to be taken.
The conditions are now perfect and the lap times are showing it – fastest so far Nick Tandy in the #912 8:17.3
Kesselchen was the next scene of a big accident – the #100 BMW Z4 going full speed banging off another car into the barriers; Jorg Müller out on the spot.
Total mess for Christodoulou who was leading through a code 60 zone, the green flag came out as he was between two marshal posts; giving Kevin Estre a massive head of steam & the #911 pushes back into the lead.
Dries Vanthoor looks absolutely devastated sat in the #8 Audi with bodywork all over Tiergaten and clear signs of having hit the barrier – a replay shows contact with a Porsche Cayman and worryingly all 4 wheels in the air as the car went off.
Top 10 at the end of 6 hours