The second and third hours brought quite a lot of action to the 43rd ADAC Zurich 24h-Race leader board, with six changes in the lead. Due to a rain shower, several cars entertained the crowds with unusual but spectacular power slides. The first prominent early retirement was Team Zakspeed following an off-track moment of their Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 (#27), as the car was frayed beyond repair, in the incident. “Our car is damaged that seriously that continuing the race just wouldn’t make sense,” said Team Principal Peter Zakowski. Meanwhile, other teams don’t even shy away from changing the engine – such as Team Click vers.de on their Porsche 911 GT3 (#69). With three hours and 20 laps contested, the Black Falcon Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 (#5) holds the lead., with its tiny lead over the second-placed BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS BMW Z4 GT3 (#26) amounting to 0.171 seconds. Third place is held by the Frikadelli Racing Team Porsche 911 GT3 R (#30).
2 – Buurman / Simonsen / Christodoulou / Schneider (Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3)
Collision of #2 and #9 in the Eschbach area. Both can continue without problems.
Slight collision with the Audi TT #112 at the Aremberg exit.
5 – Bin Turki Al Faisal / Haupt / Buurman / van Lagen (Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3)
Leads, followed by the BMW #26. the gap between the cars amounts to just 0.491 seconds.
pot stop. Is shod with new slicks, Hubert Haupt for Yelmer Buurman.
Passes the MarcVDS-BMW (#26) in the Zurich-Z for the lead. .
Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al Faisal: In about an hour I’m going to take over from Hubert and I hope that we still will be the leaders, then. And who knows if I won’t be able to even extend this lead. 10 – Weiss / Kainz / Krumbach / Christensen (Porsche 911 GT3 RSR)
Changes from wets to slicks. Driver swap: Christensen for Krumbach.
11 – Primat / Brück / Schmid / Seefried (Bentley Continental GT3)
Pits for wets.
13 – Dittmann / Albrecht / Lachmayer / Schall (Chrysler (Dodge) Viper)
Cruises slowly in the Pflanzgarten area.
16 – Busch / Busch / Frankenhout (Audi R8 LMS ultra)
Pit stop for wets.
Driver swap: Christiaan Frankenhout for Dennis Busch.
19 – Müller / Sims / Werner / Wittmann (BMW Z4 GT3)
Scheduled pit stop of the leaders.
Dirk Müller replaces Dirk Werner. Werner: “I had a lot of fun, out there. The opening stages were really exciting. I could pass the Mercedes in turn two and from that point in time we contested the first stint as synchronised triplets. What a great stint!
Dirk Müller: “Actually I was supposed to complete just a normal stint but as I had such a nice battle for the lead we spontaneously decided that I should stay in the car. Driving in the rain was really difficult and I’m happy that I brought the car back to the pits without any damages.”
20 – Baumann / Hürtgen / Klingmann / Tomczyk (BMW Z4 GT3)
The Schubert BMW Z4 that held the lead for quite a while suffers a suspension damage in the Döttinger Höhe section. Pits and is pushed into the garage right away.
Claudia Hürtgen: “It was raining. In the Pflanzgarten area, I jumped over the tip and went aslant when landing. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get the car under control again. It arguably will take us another hour before we will be able to rejoin the race.
21 – Schulze / Schulze / Strauß / Tresson (Nissan GT-R nismo GT3)
Pit stop, driver swap: Florian Strauß for M. Schulze. Schulze: “I made a good start and tried to stay in my group. And I succeeded in doing so until I came in for the driver swap.”
Rejoins the race after repair works. The belt of the servo pump had disengaged.
Is towed off the track in the Breidscheid area.
23 – Graf / Hohenadel / Bastian / Jäger (Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3)
Pits. Slight front damage is mended with race tape.
Nico Bastian: “I’m going to take over after this stint. But things aren’t running too well for us. In the opening stages, when the car in front of him had to brake, Christian gut into a sandwich. He was hit from behind and the front was damaged too. Now we have to pit again and again to work on the damage.” Currently, the car is driven by Thomas Jäger.
25 – Martin / Luhr / Palttala / Westbrock (BMW Z4 GT3)
Richard Westbrook for Lucas Luhr.
Lucas Luhr: Compared to the chaotic conditions in 2014, this year’s opening stages were very quiet. I didn’t take any risks and the car is running superbly. I wouldn’t mind if things continued like this.”
Pit stop: the team switches two wets, Westbrook remains at the wheel.
26 – Farfus / Müller / Catsburg / Adorf (BMW Z4 GT3)
Dirk Adorf already is waiting to take over when the car comes in for the next stop.
Change in the lead: Der MarcVDS-BMW is back in the lead, with the Black-Falcon-Mercedes #5 following in second position.
Dirk Adorf takes over. Back to slicks.
27 – Asch / Coronel / Ludwig / Vietoris (Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3)
Stands on the green area next to the track, with the front pointing to the wrong direction.
Christian Vietoris: “I was pushed onto the
grass while overtaking and hit
the crash barriers.” Team Principal Peter Zakowski:
“The steering and the suspension of the right front wheel are damaged. We hope that we will be able to continue.
Peter Zakowski: “The damages on our car are so massive that continuing doesn’t make sense. The repair time would be far too long. At the right front, everything is broken: suspension, steering, body…”
28 – Mies / Sandström / Müller / Vanthoor (Audi R8 LMS)
Fire during the refuelling. Christopher Mies jumps out of the car but a short time later, the works can be continued.
30 – Schmitz / Huisman / Pilet / Bergmeister (Porsche 911 GT3 R)
Driver swap: Patrick Pilet for Patrick Huisman.
With 8:53.561 minute on the previous lap the clearly fastest car in the field.
On lap 15, Pilet once again outpaces the entire field by several seconds.
The lead over the Phoenix Audi #1 now adds up to 39.9 seconds.
Scheduled pit stop for race leader Patrick Pilet.
Jörg Bergmeister is supposed to take over. Bergmeister: “I will drive for the first time in dry conditions and am looking forward to it. You couldn’t expect that we would get in such a good position. I will give my very best to continue on this level.
31 – Schmidt / Mattschull / Ehret / Rice (Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3)
Slicks for intermediates.
35 – Buncombe / Hoshino / Krumm / Ordonez (Nissan GT-R nismo GT3)
Alex Buncombe for Michael Krumm.
Team Principal Bob Neville: “We start into the race with a conservative approach, without trying to push. Everything is fine.
Driver swap: Lucas Ordonez for Alexander Buncombe. Buncombe: “We deliberately opted for slicks. Yes, I had to back off in several sections, thus losing some time but I could easily make up for these losses in other sections. I don’t know what the other teams are doing but we will stick to this strategy.”
44 – Dumbreck / Henzler / Ragginger / Imperatori (Porsche 911 GT3 R)
Wolf Henzler for Martin Ragginger.
Off-track moment into the gravel in the Aremberg area.
Peter Dumbreck for Wolf Henzler. Henzler: “A third of the track is wet, the rest is dry. So, switching to wets wouldn’t make sense. I had an eventful stint and was pushed off the track by the green Bentley. Fortunately, I didn’t hit anything.”
84 – Bleekemolen / Arnold / Menzel / Brück (Bentley Continental GT3)
Jeroen Bleekemolen after the pit stop: “Lance David Arnold now will drive another stint. When he comes in after seven laps, I will take over. This was a very good start. The first laps couldn’t have run any better, for us.”
The third-placed Bentley also pits.
Switches to slicks.
Nearly loses it in the Hatzenbach section after having slipped on the own lubricants.
85 – Smith / Kane / Meyrick / Arnold (Bentley Continental GT3)
Stands in the airport exit area.
Steven Kane: “We don’t know what happened. The contact with our driver, Guy Smith, was interrupted. It looks as if he was hit from behind. We now try to get the car back to the pits and hope that we will be able to repair it.”
88 – Preacher / Thomson / Lungstrass / Duffy (Aston Martin Vantage V8-GT4)
Switches to wets.
Drives off the track in the Breidscheid section.
Back on the track that it left in the Breidscheid area due to technical problems.