Red flag in qualifying session two

Despite lower temperatures and dry conditions in the early stages of the second qualifying session, there were no changes witnessed at the top of the time sheets. And around session half time, drizzle began to fall, resulting in numerous yellow-flag situations and code 60 phases, making it impossible to set fast lap times. And at 22:55hrs CEST, the session had to be aborted early due to a crash of the HRT Mercedes AMG GT3 #2,in the Aremberg section.

#1 Audi R8 LMS (Müller / Vanthoor / Verwisch)
Nico Müller: “I have known the guys of the team for quite a while, from DTM and my appearance in the 2018 24h Race. That wasn’t exactly what you would call successful but now we will have a second chance of delivering together. I haven’t raced in the dark for quite a while. After all, we use to racer at other times in DTM.”

#2 Mercedes AMG GT3 (Haupt / Buurman / Bastian / Ellis)
22.49hrs: Hits the crash barriers at post 88 (Aremberg). The driver, Yelmer Buurman, survives the crash unharmed.

#3 Audi R8 LMS (Winkelhock / Bortolotti / Frijns / Haase)
Markus Winkelhock: “I completed two laps in dry conditions but it began to rain in the third. So I pitted as continuing on slicks was too dangerous. I just checked if the mirrors and the headlights were adjusted correctly. Furthermore, it was about familiarising myself with the car in these conditions. The practice session is a foretaste of the race.”

#10 Mercedes AMG GT3 (Shoffner / Shoffner / Palttala / Soulet)
John Shoffner: “The first laps at night can be exciting and that’s exactly what happened in this session. During a double-yellow period, the field moved closer together and I made contact with the car ahead of us. Now we will have to check what happened.”

#18 Porsche 911 GT3 R (Bamber / Bernhard / Bergmeister)
Earl Bamber: “It’s my first outing at the Nordschleife since more than a year. It’s just great to be back, even in these strange conditions. The car is good and we now try to give all our drivers track time. The conditions currently are good, the track is dry and provides a lot of grip.”

Timo Bernhard: “I completed just one lap, when it already was drizzling and consequently we were slowed down by a lot of yellow. Therefore we decided to stop. We would have destroyed wets and continuing on slicks is impossible.”

#21 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 (Jefferies / Perera / Mapelli / di Martino)
Axcil Jeffries: “To be honest, I just wanted to complete some laps in the dark to prepare for tomorrow. Our headlights are rather good but it’s really dark out there. Only if there is a GT3 car driving behind you you are blinded by the lights in the mirrors and the rear view camera.”

#25 Porsche 911 GT3 R (Rocco di Torrepadula / Kolb / Holzer / Menzel)
Patrick Kolb: “I have to say that it is a completely different condition than last year, in my first 24h Race. It’s really pitch black out there, you don’t see any fans and consequently lack the orientation spots. And if it’s getting warmer tomorrow and really wet, the situation will be even more difficult. But the car runs like a charm.”

#44 Porsche 911 GT3 R (Bachler / Müller / Dumbreck / Ragginger)
Sven Müller:”Really unfamiliar. This session underlined why the Nürburgring Nordschleife is the most difficult and demanding racetrack in the world. There are so many fast and blind corners and seeing the apex is anything but easy as the lights of your car only point to the area right ahead. You need a lot of routine for also taking the car to the limit in the dark.”

22:13hrs: Crashes at the end of the Fuchsröhre section.

#54 Lexus RCF (Asahi / Koyama / Farnbacher / Völker)
20:50hrs: Accident in the Klostertal section, a lot of debris on the track.

#70 BMW M4 GT4 (Schrey / Hürtgen / Fischer)
20:42hrs: Hits the crash barriers in the Hatzenbach area but can continue.

#88 BMW M6 GT3 (Wittmann / Auer / Blomquist)
Team Principal Hans-Peter Naundorf: “We will be racing clearly longer in the dark due to the race being held in November. Therefore, this night session is clearly more important. It’s first of all about selecting the best tyres and checking if you need setup changes.”

Lucas Auer: “The first laps were just brutal. It was my first Nordschleife experience in the dark and you just can’t describe it. On the first lap you are nothing but a passenger and the second only represents a slight improvement. It’s pure madness and an incredible experience what is going on out there. In dry conditions and at daytime, however, I know the circuit well enough to feel comfortable.”