Nurburgring 24hr race – Leaders into the Night

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.

Manthey-Racing, Porsche 911 GT3 R (911), Kévin Estre (F), Romain Dumas (F), Laurens Vanthoor (B), Earl Bamber (NZ), Nürburgring 2018

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.

#12 Manthey Porsche SP9 (Klohs/Kern/Olsen/Frommenwiler) Image © Sam Pierce @CLRSam

#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

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