At 5:42hrs, the sun rose over the Nürburgring and after a relatively quiet night, the 43rd ADAC Zurich 24h Race started into its final third. With 15 hours contested, the front runners have completed 94 laps. The lead is held by the BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS BMW Z4 GT3 (#25), with the Falken Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 (#44) following 1:53.789 minutes behind in second position. Third place is held by the Audi Sport Team WRT R8 LMS (#28). In the meantime, the crowds have witnessed 24 changes in the lead, with the last eight so far having taken place between the three currently leading cars. The fastest Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3, Black falcon’s 5, currently holds fifth position. The colourful brand mix in the top 10 is completed by the Aston Martin Vantage GT3 (#6) and the Bentley Continental GT3 (#11) in the eighth and ninth positions respectively.
1 – Haase / Mamerow / Rast / Winkelhock (Audi R8 LMS)
Last year’s winners now have been holding the lead for 12 laps.
Altogether, there have been 12 changes in the lead, so far.
Once again, a race leader is forced into retirement. The reigning champions crash in the Pflanzgarten area. The driver, Christian Mamerow, survives the incident unharmed.
4 – Basseng / Fässler / Rockenfeller / Stippler (Audi R8 LMS)
The second Phoenix Audi stands in the garage for several laps. The engine misfired and the team now looks for the mistake to possibly be able to avoid the same problem in the sister car.
Rejoins the race.
Also retires. Pits and is pushed in the garage for good.
Basseng: “After the repair of the cable break, the car ran great and we crossed the line in 8:30 minutes on our first flying lap. But there was oil on the track in the Klostertal area and our car went off – at first without hitting something. But the Aston Martin #7 lost it for the same reason and hit us in a waxy that our race was over right away.”
5 – Bin Turki Al Faisal / Haupt / Buurman / van Lagen (Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3)
Haupt for Buurman.
Buuman for van Lagen.
Pits for tyres, Buurman continues.
6 – Adam / Stanaway / Lauda / Mücke (Aston Martin Vantage GT3)
Pit stop without driver swap.
7 – Mücke / Turner / Lamy / Stanaway (Aston Martin Vantage GT3)
Back on the track and pits right away.
Mücke: “I went off on lubricants and crashed into the tyre walls. Now we try to repair the car and continue. The front is damaged rather badly.”
Rejoins the race.
9 – Lauck / Franchitti / Jahn / Mailleux (SCG 003c)
Power-steering failure. Car is repaired in the garage. Team uses the opportunity to also completely change the brakes.
Driver swap. Manuel Lauck for Franck Mailleux.
Pits with burning rear. The fire is extinguished right away and the car is pushed into the garage.
11 – Primat / Brück / Schmid / Seefried (Bentley Continental GT3)
Harold Primat for Clemens Schmid .
Pit stop, brake pads at the front are changed.
14 – Mayr-Melnhof / Salmon / Ohlsson / Saurenmann (Audi R8 LMS ultra)
Technical failure in the Fuchsröhre area.
16 – Busch / Busch / Frankenhout (Audi R8 LMS ultra)
Dennis Busch for Marc Busch.
22 – Engel / Seyffarth / van der Zande / Jäger (Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3)
The ROWE-SLS pits and is pushed into the team tent in the paddock right away.
The ROWE-Mercedes has been retired for good. Maro Engel: “Following another tyre damage, we are so far behind that it just doesn’t make sense to continue.”
23 – Graf / Hohenadel / Bastian / Jäger (Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3)
Switches to slicks. 00:31hrs ?Worked its way up to fifth and keeps on setting the currently fastest lap times.
The Rowe-SLS is in problems. It pits for the second time within two laps. A damaged tyre is changed and the rear cover at the right is mended with racing tape.
Scheduled pit stop.
Hohenadel for Bastian.
Nico Bastian: “The gearbox isn’t our best friend, today. We have to go easy on the third gear and so, we shift from second just very short to third and then right away on to fourth gear. We have been doing this so long, now, that I’m convinced that we will be able to finish the race, this way. It’s not the fastest way to contest the race, but the most material-friendly one.”
25 – Martin / Luhr / Palttala / Westbrock (BMW Z4 GT3)
Westbrook for Luhr.
On lap 62, the BMW closes the gap to the leading Audi by 24 seconds.
the new leader. It’s the 16th change in the lead.
Scheduled pit stop of the leaders who will lose the lead, due to this stop.
Back in the lead with 78 laps contested.
Back in the lead with 83 laps contested. The 20th change in the lead.
Martin for Palttala.
22nd change in the lead with 93 laps contested due to the pit stop of the WRT-Audi #28.
26 – Farfus / Müller / Catsburg / Adorf (BMW Z4 GT3)
With its 8:28.620-minute lap, the Z4 brakes the 8:30-minute barrier.
The fourth in the standings has been the quickest for several laps, now.
Adorf for Farfus.
Augusto Farfus: “The sunrise stint is the best. The atmosphere around the Nordschleife is great, the tyres are good, the car runs like a charm – everything is perfect.”
28 – Mies / Sandström / Müller / Vanthoor (Audi R8 LMS)
The first lap time below 10 minutes for quite a while. With its 9:47.220-minute lap, the second-placed WRT-Audi (#28) is about 10 seconds faster than the leading #1.
Pit stop. Müller continues.
The new leader with 60 laps contested. The 15th change in the lead.
On lap 67, the leaders lose about two minutes compared to their hunters. 11:37 minutes, while the other top teams set lap times between 9:11 and 9:35 minutes. Nico Müller after his double-stint: “There are a lot of yellow flag periods. And unfortunately, many drivers already decelerate to 60kph in the case of one waved yellow flag, thus making you lose a lot of time.”
Sandström for Müller.
Sandström loses 15 seconds on the leaders, on his first lap.
The WRT Audi takes the lead with 73 laps contested. The 17th change in the lead.
The leading Audi pits.
Engineer Phillip Mondelaers: “We had a dose of bad luck in the yellow-flag zones but apart from that, we got through the night rather well. Now, we will opt for a conservative approach to not break anything and make it to the finish line.”
29 – Thiim / Joens / Kaffer / Vanthoor (Audi R8 LMS)
Brake pads and discs are changed.
Pits. Kaffer continues.
35 – Buncombe / Hoshino / Krumm / Ordonez (Nissan GT-R nismo GT3)
Michael Krumm: “The weather is extremely trappy but our car fortunately survived the conditions unharmed, so far. When you enter a corner where it began to rain you haven’t got the slightest chance. You only can hope that there are some yellow flags warning you early enough.”
Kazuki Hoshino for Lucas Ordonez.
44 – Dumbreck / Henzler / Ragginger / Imperatori (Porsche 911 GT3 R)
The Falken Porsche takes the lead on lap 70. It’s the 15th change in the lead. Comes in for a scheduled pit stop following a nine-lap stint.
Peter Dumbreck: “Morning has broken and the Falken Porsche still is in the race and going strong. This means that we have made the first step. To date, we succeeded in avoiding any close encounters and just did our own thing. I hope we will be able to continue this way.”
Brake pads are changed, driver swap: Dumbreck for Henzler. Henzler: “The track conditions are okay. But the traffic is as crazy as always.”
84 – Bleekemolen / Arnold / Menzel / Brück (Bentley Continental GT3)
The team currently is repairing the Continental by dint of a sledgehammer.
85 – Smith / Kane / Meyrick / Arnold (Bentley Continental GT3)
Kane for Smith. Smith: “Currently, it’s somewhat frustrating as you don’t have real laps, due to all the yellow flags and all the oil on the track. But driving here in the night is something very very special and a major challenge. This can be compared with no other circuit.