Harper, Estre and Farfus set off fireworks in the starting phase

Kevin Estre in the fan favourite “Grello”, Augusto Farfus in the #99 Rowe-BMW and above all Daniel Harper in the #72 RMG-BMW left their mark on the 52nd edition of the ADAC RAVENOL 24h Nürburgring in the first hour. While Estre and Farfus fought a fierce duel for the lead, Harper experienced a rollercoaster ride. Due to an incorrect tyre choice, he had to give up his pole position without a fight before the start, but then flew spectacularly through the field on wet tyres and was back in third place after just under an hour.

Shortly before the start of the formation lap, it began to rain in various places on the track. While Harper stayed on treadless dry tyres, his direct pursuers quickly switched to rain tyres before Walter Hornung sent the first starting group on its journey into the “Green Hell” with the green flag. It was the wrong decision for Harper’s team, as the Briton headed for the pits before the race had been given the green flag and also had rain tyres fitted, which initially dropped him back to 21st place.

Maro Engel’s tyre poker doesn’t work out either

At the front, Estre in the #911 Manthey-Porsche defended the lead he had taken without a fight against Maro Engel in the #130 Getspeed-Mercedes-AMG and Farfus in the #99 Rowe-BMW, who had moved up from seventh on the grid. Engel took the lead on the Grand Prix circuit and led the field out onto the Nordschleife for the first time. However, the tyre poker didn’t work out for him there either, as Engel was relegated to 24th place on hand-cut slicks as the first lap progressed and then also took rain tyres.

Up front, Estre and Farfus fought a private duel, often less than a second apart, swapped the lead four times and after four laps already had a 37-second lead over third-placed Frank Stippler in the #16 Scherer Audi. However, Harper, who had fought his way back to within touching distance of the lead with a fantastic race to catch up, was already appearing in his rear-view mirror.

Huge crowd of fans at the Nürburgring

“The support from the fans this year is once again enormous. We are delighted with the many visitors, many of whom have been camping out here at the Nordschleife since the beginning of the week and have not let the rainy weather and crowded roads around the Ring spoil their mood. We know that we had to make a few compromises with the car parks this year and would like to thank the fans for their patience,” said Race Director Walter Hornung. Fans can follow the rest of the action on the track at home on free TV partner NITRO as well as in the official live streams on YouTube (www.YouTube.com/24hNBR) and on the official event website (www.24h-rennen.de/live).