The first hours of the ADAC Zurich 24h race was hampered by freak weather. Just 49 minutes after the start into the Eifel marathon at 15:30hrs the race was red-flagged. Parts of the 25.378-kilometre combination of the Nürburgring GP circuit and the Nordschleife had been made impassable by heavy hail. The cars went out again at 19:20hrs in torrential rain. Therefore, the race only was restarted after three information laps. At the end of the fifth race hour – the time kept on ticking on, during the red-flag period – Markus Palttala held the race lead in the Rowe Racing BMW M6 GT3 #22, with his lead over the second-placed HTP-Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 amounting to just 1.626 seconds. Third and fourth positions were held by the Haribo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 vehicles #8 and #88.
2 – Leonard / Frijns / Sandström / Vervisch (Audi R8 LMS)
16:43hrs Made it back to the pits!
3 – Abbelen / Schmitz / Huisman / Siedler (Porsche 991 GT3 R)
16:10hrs Pit stop.
16:17hrs Repair stop due to electronics problems. Loses a lap.
16:46hrs Klaus Abbelen: “You can’t influence the weather. Our car fortunately survived the incident unharmed. We were at the pit due to a problem – a plug wasn’t connected – and went out on wets. But now we are stuck out there in the track.”
19:17hrs Sabine Schmitz: “At the Nürburgring I don’t rely on our weather app. In the case of doubt I call my mum.”
4 – Schneider / Engel / Christodoulou / Metzger (Mercedes AMG AMG GT3)
16:31hrs Bernd Schneider: “The weather is just crazy. Even id it may sound weird: the best option is to just stop.”
17:49hrs Adam Christodoulou: “The start was good. Prior to the start, I talked to the drivers around me and we agreed to not opt for a too aggressive style of driving, into the first corners. This worked fine and we started into the race unharmed. When the heavy rain began to fall I decelerated to 25kph in the Schwedenkreuz area when I saw a BMW skidding into the crash barriers. But even at that speed, keeping the car on the track was extremely difficult. It felt like driving on ice.”
8 – Alzen / Arnold / Götz / Seyffarth (Mercedes AMG AMG GT3)
16:02hrs Drops back to fifth behind Hohenadel (#29).
16:31hrs Made it back to the pits.
17:47hrs What a Uwe Alzen: “What a glissade. Up to then, the race was super. We could match the pace and defend our position. Then it began to rain all of a sudden – combined with hail. The track was completely white and the BMW ahead of me hit the crash barriers three times before it gave up in the Breidscheid area. To red-flag the race definitely was the correct decision. Here is everything fine, our car has not a mark.” ”
9 – Haupt / Buurman / Engel / Müller (Mercedes AMG AMG GT3)
17:46hrs Maro Engel: “I had a good, clean start and got through. Jörg Müller in the BMW pressurised me but I succeeded in defending the lead. In the rain chaos I slightly touched a crash barrier. But we can use the red-flag period to repair the car.”
20:16hrs Black Falcon Team Principal Jean Paul Breslin: “We told Maro to slightly step off the gas. We don’t want to take any risks.”
12 – Klohs / Dieter Schmidtmann / Richter / Renauer (Porsche 911 GT3 R)
15:40hrs Drives slowly through the Schwalbenschwanz section with a puncture at the left rear tyre.
15:46hrs The car is pushed into the garage. Driver remains in the cockpit.
20:20 hrs Technical failure at the ‘Hohe Acht’.
16 – Busch / Busch / Mamerow / Rast (Audi R8 LMS)
16:51hrs Dennis Busch: “I was lucky and had only to cope with torrential rain, not with hail. Then, I returned to the pits via the short layout as the team told me via team radio that it was pure chaos, out there”.
18 – Farfus / Krohn / Müller / Wittmann (BMW M6 GT3)
15:38hrs Jörg Müller follows race leader Maro Engel in his slip stream. The pairing already opened a slight gap on the competitors. Behind them, the two Haribo Mercedes racers also are racing close behind one another.
16:49hrs Jörg Müller: “I experienced a lot at the Nordschleife but hail – that was new to me. That’s incredible. Never before have I seen the racetrack covered by ice in May. Unbelievable. The Thunderstorm came out of nothing. I was driving at 60kph when I went off and touched the brake just slightly. But the car began to aquaplane at once. “I’m absolutely fine with the decision to red-flag the race.”
20:05hrs Short off-track moment at the Nordschleife entrance, defends the lead.
20:25hrs Pits for fuel and tyre change. Jörg Müller continues. The team executes suspension modifications.
23 – Sims / Eng / Martin / Werner (BMW M6 GT3)
17:39hrs Dirk Werner: “I was standing in the Adenauer Forst section. Up the Fuchsröhre still was possible but in the Adenauer Forst area everybody braked so hard that it resulted was a traffic jam. Afterwards, starting again was absolutely impossible. I tried it for a minute, but the wheels didn’t stop spinning. So I shutdown the engine and waited until it all was over.”
19:04hrs Stops on the track, doesn’t start into the current information lap.
19:18hrs Philipp Eng had an electronic problem at the restart. The engine wouldn’t start but is running again, in the meantime. The car initially had been pushed off the track.
29 – Vietoris / Seefried / Hohenadel / Van der Zande (Mercedes AMG AMG GT3)
15:40hrs One of the winners of lap one is Christian Hohenadel: from his ninth position on the grid he worked his way up to fifth. .
20:27hrs Sets the currently fastest race lap: 10:00.078 minutes.
30 – Baumann / Mücke / Buhk / Jäger (Mercedes AMG AMG GT3)
16:15hrs Pit stop for wets.
16:19hrs Hits the crash barriers at the Schwedenkreuz.
33 – Ziegler / Saurenmann / Schmidt (Audi R8 LMS)
20:08hrs ‘G Tonic’ takes the wheel.
20:31hrs Off track moment in the Aremberg-Kurve without hitting anything.
44 – Dumbreck / Henzler / Ragginger / Imperatori (Porsche 991 GT3R)
15:59hrs Pit stop for fuel and fresh tyres.
16:00hrs Unscheduled pit stop due to loss of pressure on the right front wheel. Refuelled and fresh tyres.
54 – Kodidek / Perlini (Porsche 911 GT3 CUP)
15:50hrs Spins in the Mercedes-Arena.
15:52hrs Spins again in the Ravenol Kurve.
69 – Chrzanowski / Jodexnis / Schelp / Scharmach (Porsche 997 GT 3)
20:17hrs Pit stop for fuel – no driver swap.
76 – Weber / Bermes / Preacher / Hennerici (Aston Martin Vantage V8)
16:13hrs Pits for wets.
19:47hr Stands in the garage – electronics problems.
83 – Ackermann / Welschar / Wiskirchen / Walter (Porsche GT3 Cup)
16:15hrs Pit stop.
88 – Alzen / Arnold / Götz / Seyffarth (Mercedes AMG AMG GT3)
17:48hrs Maximilian Götz: “The start was okay. We were third and fourth but the, we got in the traffic and Uwe lost a position while I remained third. And in the sixth or seventh lap the monsoon began to fall. In the previous lap it always was slightly wet at that spot and I knew that it would be really really wet on the following lap. Then I went across the Flugplatz and was warned by the team that water was standing on the track. So I hit the brakes and then cruising was all one could do. Nonetheless, several drivers went off. It was luck that we made back to the pits with both cars unharmed and can prepare for the restart.”
20:29hrs Hits the crash barriers in the Fuchsröhre..
20:31hr Is towed a way with a damaged front suspension.
100 – Edwards / Klingmann / Luhr / Tomczyk (BMW M6 GT3)
16:20hrs Martin Tomczyk during the thunderstorm via team radio; “I’ve got wheelspin. I don’t get up the hill!”
16:49hrs Martin Tomczyk: “that’s the Nordschleife. We knew that something like this could happen. But Ice falling fro, the sky so early in the race – that was quite a surprise. My wheels kept spinning and I just couldn’t get up the Fuchsröhre. Incredible. The car is alright, so far.”
911 – Tandy / Estre / Bamber / Pilet (Porsche 911 GT3 R)
15:48hrs Hits the cars barriers at the Hohe Acht. Driver okay.
15:53hrs Nick Tandy reports: the rear is damaged and the engine wouldn’t start again.
17:40hrs On its way back to the paddock on the tow truck
19:05hrs Car can’t be repaired. The race is over
999 – Bouveng / Blomqvist / Krognes / Di Martino (BMW M6 GT3)
15:44hrs Reason for the pit stop. Engine cover was loose. Team Manger Niklas Königbauer: “We don’t know if this was caused by a contact or not. We will check everything now. I hope the other 23:50 hours will run flawlessly.”