Car Collection Motorsport holds the lead with the first section of the Hankook 12H Hockenheim completed.
The German squad’s No. 34 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II, driven by Johannes Dr. Kirchhoff, Max Edelhoff and Elmar Grimm, started the race from pole position.
It led the first phase of the race until Edelhoff was passed by the No. 85 CP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo driven by Charles Espenlaub.
Espenlaub, who shares the car with Charles Putman and Joe Foster, overtook Edelhoff into the hairpin.
From there, the No.34 Audi dropped away from the lead somewhat, especially as the No. 18 Phoenix Racing Audi of Michael Doppelmayr, Pierre Kaffer, Elia Erhart and Swen Herberger began to move up the order.
Phoenix even moved into the lead by surpassing the No. 85 Mercedes into the stadium section.
By the final hour of Saturday’s running, however, CP Racing was back in the lead ahead of Car Collection, with Phoenix Racing into third.
With twenty minutes remaining on the clock, both the No. 85 Mercedes and No. 34 Audi had made their final pitstops of the day.
This briefly left Phoenix’ No. 18 Audi to battle with the No. 71 JUTA Racing Audi of Julius Adomavičius, Eimantas Navikauskas and Jonas Gelžinis, which by that point was the only other GT3 entrant still within reach of podium contention.
The all-Lithuanian squad was also briefly promoted into the lead when Phoenix Racing pitted with 18 minutes remaining.
However, the No. 71 Audi was then itself forced to come in for a fuel stop, dropping it back to third overall.
This left Car Collection clear to take the checkered flag to conclude Saturday’s running.
CP Racing’s No. 85 Mercedes finished second, with JUTA Racing third and Phoenix Racing dropping back to fourth position overall.
The fifth and final GT3 entrant, JR Motorsport’s No. 2 BMW M6 GT3 driven by Ted van Vliet, Bas Schouten and Dirk Schouten, occupied eighth overall.
The all-Dutch trio sat six laps down on the leading Audi and was classified behind the three leading cars in the 992-class.
The lone GT4 car in the field, MANIACK-Racing’s No. 412 Mercedes-AMG GT3 driven by Martin Wachter, Dario Pergolini and Constantin Kletzer, finished the day in twentieth place overall.
The Liechenstein-flagged squad had an eventful day of running, including an early collision with one of the TCR Audis.
The Hankook 12H Hockenheim continues Sunday at 2 p.m. local time.
RESULTS: Hankook 12H Hockenheim Part I