The BMW Junior Team of Dan Harper, Neil Verhagen and Max Hesse has claimed victory in the first Nürburgring 24 Qualifier race of the weekend in a commanding run for the German manufacturer.
Hesse took the Team RMG-run BMW M4 GT3 to a 10.490-second victory over the No. 99 ROWE Racing BMW driven by Nick Yelloly, Augusto Farfus and Philipp Eng in second.
The three-hour contest, which ended in full darkness, saw the pair of BMWs lead for the majority of the running except for a brief stint up front by Jonathan Hirschi in the No. 26 octane126 Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 in the second hour.
Yelloly passed Hirschi for the lead on Lap 9 and was then overtaken by Harper on the same lap.
It marked a reversal of the finishing order from the most recent Nürburgring Langstrecken-Serie round that saw the ROWE BMW come out on top in a thrilling final lap battle between Hesse and Farfus.
The No. 4 Team Getspeed Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo completed the overall and SP9 class podium on Saturday with Maro Engel, Dani Juncadella and Jules Gounon, followed by the No. 98 ROWE entry, which made it three BMWs in the top four.
Scherer Sport Team Phoenix Racing’s Kuba Giermaziak, Kim Luis Schramm, Michele Beretta and Markus Winkelhock completed the top-five as the highest-placed Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II.
It came after Patric Neiderhauser’s No. 22 Car Collection Audi and the No. 15 factory-backed Phoenix entry came together in an on-track collision with less than 30 minutes to go.
The No. 27 Toksport WRT entry of Julien Andlauer, Matt Campbell and Mathieu Jaminet was the best of the Porsches in sixth, with entries from Getspeed, Walkenhorst Motorsport, Phoenix and Schubert Motorsport completed the top-ten overall.
The octane126 Ferrari was classified 11th overall, meanwhile.
SPX class honors went to the No. 117 KTM/True Racing KTM X-Bow GT2 after shifting issues for the Glickenhaus 004C sent it to the garage early in the running.
The second and final N24 Qualifier is set for Sunday at 2 p.m. CET (8 a.m. ET).