With three hours of the race contested, the Rowe Racing BMW #98 holds the race lead. At the end of lap 19, the Audi teams Land and WRT hold second and third positions while the pole sitters, the Traum Motorsport SCG003C #704 had to cope with a setback: the car was hit from behind and had to pit for a short repair stop – but rejoined the race just seven minutes later.
3 – Müller / Jäger / Engel / Seyffarth (Mercedes-AMG GT3)
17:54hrs Thomas Jäger takes over.
18:01hrs Pits with damaged car .
18:04hrs The radiator is damaged. Thomas Jäger had hit the #70 from behind.
18:17hrs Thomas Jäger: “The collision occurred in the NGK Chicane. #704 braked hard under yellow and I had no chance of avoiding it. Now the car is broken.”
18:21hrs The car is repaired following the collision with #704.
8 – Alzen / Arnold / Götz / van der Zande (Mercedes-AMG GT3)
17:10hrs Pits top, Alzen takes over. .
18:18hrs Pit stop with driver swap. Maximilian Götz for Alzen.
10 – Stippler / Rast / Vervisch / Müller (Audi R8 LMS)
16:31hrs One lap after the sister car, Nico Müller also pits.
20 – Krohn / Müller / Spengler / Wittmer (BMW M6 GT3)
16:37hrs Jörg Müller: “My first stint ran flawlessly. But this is the definitively hottest 24h Race I contested at ‘The Ring’. Therefore, the tyre management represents the top priority – and I think I did quite well in this area.”
22 – Weiss / Kainz / Keilwitz / Krumbach (Ferrari 488 GT3)
16:37hrs Is hit at the right rear wheel by #59 at the end of the home straight and spins – needs a minute to continue.
28 – De Phillippi / Mies / Haase / Kaffer (Audi R8 LMS)
17:38hrs Driver swap Christopher Mies for Christopher Haase.
30 – Abbelen / Schmitz / Ziegler / Müller (Porsche 911 GT3 R)
16:44hrs Pits after seven laps. Sabine Schmitz for Alex Müller.
17:53hrs Driver swap: Andreas Ziegler for Schmitz.
31 – Christensen / Bachler / Siedler / Luhr (Porsche 911 GT3 R)
16:43hrs Pits after seven laps Michael Christensen for Norbert Siedler
17:53hrs Klaus Bachler for Christensen.
33 – Dumbreck / Imperatori / Dusseldorp / Seefried (BMW M6 GT3)
17:49hrs Driver swap: Peter Dumbreck for Marco Seefried.
36 – Kane / Smith / Soulet (Bentley Continental GT3)
16:51hrs Drives slowly in the Bellof-S area.
16:58hrs Is pushed into the garage. Team assumes a drive-shaft damage.
17:13hrs Rejoined the race after the repair
18:21hrs Driver swap, Guy Smith replaces Steven Kane.
37 – Brück / Menzel / Verdonck / Jöns (Bentley Continental GT3)
17:20hrs Christer Jöns for Christian Menzel.
17:35hrs Christian Menzel: “It was a tough stint. It’s very hot and the heat makes the racing even more exhausting. The tyres cope really well with the track temperatures. We will keep on pushing and hope that our pace will be even better when it’s getting cooler.”
38 – Jöns / Mamerow / Pepper / Brück (Bentley Continental GT3)
17:11hrs Christopher Jöns spins into the gravel at the end of the home straight.
17:54hrs Chris Brück for Christian Mamerow.
42 – Wittmann / Blomqvist / Tomczyk / Farfus (BMW M6 GT3)
17:32hrs Blomqvist for Wittmann..
43 – Farfus / Lynn / Felix Da Costa / Scheider (BMW M6 GT3)
17:37hrs Pit stop: Antonio Felix da Costa is replaced by Timo Scheider.
44 – Ragginger / Werner / Bergmeister / Vantoor (Porsche 911 GT3 R)
17:39hrs Martin Ragginger: ”I was in the traffic all the time and so, I never could really go for it. But we want to contest this trace with a prudent approach to finish, in the end – just as we did in the previous year.”
17:41hrs Driver swap: Martin Ragginger is replaced by Laurens Vanthoor.
47 – Asch / Baumann / Hohenadel / Mücke (Mercedes-AMG GT3)
48 – Heyer / Schneider / Dontje / Assenheimer (Mercedes-AMG GT3)
18:17hrs Bernd Schneider: “I’m happy with my stint. The car has got a good balance but is too slow on the straights.”
50 – Baumann / Buhk / Mortara / Sandström (Mercedes-AMG GT3)
17:19hrs Pits. Dominik Baumann takes over.
17:25hrs Maximilian Buhk: “My start wasn’t so good as I collided with a Manthey Porsche. I think that the driver didn’t see me. But now our steering wheel is standing askew and the balance also suffered. I didn’t come in, we have to race with the car like it is.”
17:26hrs Pit stop: Dominik Baumann for Maximilian Buhk.
98 – Palttala / Catsburg / Sims / Westbrook (BMW M6 GT3)
16:44hrs During the pit stop, Rowe steals the lead from the previous leaders, the team of the pole sitters around Jim Glickenhaus.
17:10hrs Driver swap and tyre change. Catsburg for Sims.
17:20hrs Alexander Sims: “A good stint. Other than the others we stopped early. We wanted a free track and this plan worked really well. To be honest, I didn’t even realise that I held the lead until the team told me via radio. The lead certainly was the result of the short stop.”
101 – Walkenhorst / Tresson / Schiwietz / van Lagen (BMW M6 GT3)
16:44hrs The team apparently solved the operating-voltage problem and the car rejoins the race.
122 – Beckmann / Hass / Strycek / Schulten (Opel Manta)
18:10hrs The iconic coupe crashes backward into the crash barriers but the Opel can continue with damaged rear and slowly returns to the pits.
702 – Mutsch / Piccini / Laser / Mailleux (SCG SCG003C)
16:38hrs Felipe Laser:”My start was quite alright and I succeeded in avoiding all the turmoil. It was important for us to just to not be too aggressive but opt for a somewhat conservative approach. Furthermore it’s really warm. I again and again went out of the slipstream to cool the engine. And in the closing stages of my stint I even had some nice overtaking manoeuvres.”
16:40hrs Pits for tyres, driver swap: Thomas Mutsch for Felipe F. Laser.
17:28hrs Pits for the second time.
18:18hr Pit stop with driver swap: Andrea Piccini.
18:25hrs Thomas Mutsch: “The car runs sensationally and the circuit is really great. In my first set of tyres the pressure was slightly too high but we corrected that for the second. We want to finish the race but definitely will push. You mustn’t use part throttle, here.”
704 – Westphal / Mailleux / Simonsen / Laser (SCG SCG003C)
16:43hrs The race leader pits. New tyres and driver swap, Andreas Simonsen for Jeff Westphal.
16:50hrs Jeff Westphal: “It was a long stint. I used the first laps to find a rhythm. On the one hand, everybody tries to go easy on their cars but on the other, they all are pushing. I also tried to find the balance between taking it easy and pushing. The traffic is incredible and you quickly lose time. And of course you don’t want to take too many risks although this means that the others can close in on you. I see us in the top five.”
18:01hrs After lap 16, the car is pushed with damages on the right rear into the garage.
18:08hrs Following a fast repair the car rejoins the race.