With five hours contested, the situation at the front end of the ADAC Zurich 24h-Race field has changed. Once again rain began to fall and consequently, the tyre choice turned into a gamble – with winners and losers. Last years winners, racing the Audi R8 LMS (#1) entered Audi Sport Team Phoenix made everything right and hold the lead, after five hours, 13.868 seconds ahead of the Team Frikadelli Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R (#30) in second position. Third and fourth positions are held by the Audi Sport Team WRT Audi R8 LMS (#28) and Haribo Racing Team’s Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 (#8). The gull-wing racer with the striking fruit-gum bear started into the race from 17th grid position but worked its way up in impressive style. Meanwhile, the BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS BMW z4 GT3 (#26) was one of the big losers of the past two hours. The temporary leader missed the perfect point in time for switching to wets, lost a lot of time and dropped back to fifth position. The gap to the leaders 2:40.965 minutes.
1 – Haase / Mamerow / Rast / Winkelhock (Audi R8 LMS)
The absolutely fastest time on lap 23: 8:23.387 min.
Driver swap: Rene Rast for Markus Winkelhock.
10th change in the lead. Now, last year’s winner are at the very top for the first time in this year’s race. Their lead over the Frikadelli Porsche: 8.5 percent.
With an 8:31.792-minute lap, the Audi slightly increases its lead.
2 – Buurman / Simonsen / Christodoulou / Schneider (Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3)
Cruises slowly in the Kesselchen area and is passed by the BMW #2. A few metres later, the Mercedes loses its left rear wheel and stops. Adam Christodoulou gets out and tries to re-fix the wheel himself, then he is helped by the DMSB-Staffel.
Christodoulou uses his smart phone to make a phone call right from the trackside.
The SLS is towed away by the DMSB-Staffel.
Bernd Schneider: “I already had prepared for my stint. I don’t know if a part of the wheel is broken. Unfortunately, Adam couldn’t continue on three wheels as he had no propulsion due to the limited slip differential. To lift the car you need the air jack or he should have parked on a curb. But he couldn’t have continued, from there and so – it was the only possibility to stop the car. Now our guys are on the way to the car to fix the wheel again. And then we have to check in the pits if we have to repair something. We still can’t say if it’s a secondary damage.”
4 – Basseng / Fässler / Rockenfeller / Stippler (Audi R8 LMS)
Driver swap: Marc Basseng for Mike Rockenfeller. An additional heat sheet is mounted to the rear.
5 – Bin Turki Al Faisal / Haupt / Buurman / van Lagen (Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3)
The previously leading SLS currently can’t fully match the pace of the leaders. Al Faisal loses 10 to 15 seconds per lap.
Driver swap: Jaap van Lagen for Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al Faisal.
6 – Adam / Stanaway / Lauda / Mücke (Aston Martin Vantage GT3)
Driver swap: Richie Stanaway for Matthias Lauda.
7 – Mücke / Turner / Lamy / Stanaway (Aston Martin Vantage GT3)
David Richards: “The Nürburgring 24h race is unique in the world. You won’t find such an event anywhere else. The big number of cars, the huge crowd and this very special racetrack characterise this race. To win here you have to be respectful and careful. A 24h race isn’t won in the first corner. But of course you also need a dose of luck regarding the weather conditions.”
Driver swap: Darren Turner takes over from Stefan Mücke.
8 – Alzen / Holzer / Siedler / Götz (Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3)
Maximilian Götz: “I couldn’t complain about a lack of action. I permanently was involved in battles with the Audis – and then I had to avoid an accident that occurred in front of me. There was a lot of action going on out there but made good progress and survived everything unharmed.”
9 – Lauck / Franchitti / Jahn / Mailleux (SCG 003c)
Driver swap: David Jahn for Marino Franchitti. Franchitti: “We temporarily switched to intermediates but this decision was wrong. We lacked so much traction that we switched back to slicks. The traffic is pure madness and you really have to use your head. I was in quite a number of tight situations but at the end of the day, nothing happened.”
10 – Weiss / Kainz / Krumbach / Christensen (Porsche 911 GT3 RSR)
Repairs in the garage after a crash. Team Principal Olaf Manthey: “The car driving ahead of us lost coolant, we slipped on it, lost it and hit the crash barriers. „We arguably will have to change both right suspensions at the rear.”
14 – Mayr-Melnhof / Salmon / Ohlsson / Saurenmann (Audi R8 LMS ultra)
Ronnie Saurenmann for Micke Ohlsson.
Micke Ohlsson: “This is so much fun. Yes, making no mistakes in the traffic represents a huge challenge but driving here is just fantastic.”
17 – Laser / Cerruti / Edwards / Keilwitz (BMW Z4 GT3)
Time penalty for undercutting the minimum pit-stop time.
19 – Müller / Sims / Werner / Wittmann (BMW Z4 GT3)
Marco Wittmann replaces Alexander Sims.
20 – Baumann / Hürtgen / Klingmann / Tomczyk (BMW Z4 GT3)
Torsten Schubert: “there still is some work to be done on the front. We certainly will need another 30 minutes.”
25 – Martin / Luhr / Palttala / Westbrock (BMW Z4 GT3)
Driver swap: Markus Palttala for Richard Westbrook: “We made a safety stop for wets. Unfortunately, this decision proved to be wrong. The track sill was too good and therefore, we lot too much time. That’s a real shame.”
Maxime Martin for Markus Palttala.
26 – Farfus / Müller / Catsburg / Adorf (BMW Z4 GT3)
Driver swap: Nicky Catsburg for Dirk Adorf. Adorf: “This wasn’t a battle with the leading Black-Falcon-SLS (#5). It pushed that hard that I let it pass. We have the task to win a 24h race. If they keep on racing like that they won’t get far.”
The ninth driver swap: Due to the pit stop of the Frikadelli Porsche, the MarcVDS-BMW #26 now is back in the lead.
Nicky Catsburg replaces Augusto Farfus.
29 – Thiim / Joens / Kaffer / Vanthoor (Audi R8 LMS)
Pits with a damaged right front and after a short inspection by the team, the car is pushed into the garage. There, the entire front is exchanged.
Rejoins the race. Christer Jöns: “It’s still early in the race. Yes, we lost 20 minutes but the race is not yet lost. You have seen how quickly one can be involved in an incident.”
30 – Schmitz / Huisman / Pilet / Bergmeister (Porsche 911 GT3 R)
The eighth change in the lead. Now, the Frikadelli-Team has re-gained the lead. 4.116 seconds ahead of the 2014 winners, the Audi #1.
The currently leading Frikadelli Porsche comes in for its next scheduled pit stop.
Driver swap: Patrick Huisman for Jörg Bergmeister. Bergmeister: “Actually, I had planned to push but I only succeeded in doing so to a limited extent. There was a lot of traffic and surprisingly, many drivers closed the door. I prefer a free track but nonetheless, I got through rather well.”
44 – Dumbreck / Henzler / Ragginger / Imperatori (Porsche 911 GT3 R)
Martin Ragginger for Alexandre Imperatori.