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Nürburgring Endurance

Dramatic Estre Move Puts Manthey Ahead After 6 Hours

Momentum shifts in a non-stop N24 as Manthey Porsche makes pass on the grass to lead…

Image: N24

Kevin Estre put two wheels of his Manthey-run Porsche on the grass to overtake Black Falcon Mercedes driver Dirk Mueller for the lead of the Nürburgring 24 in Hour 6.

Estre, driving the No. 911 Manthey Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R, erased the 11-second advantage Mueller held in the No. 2 Mercedes-AMG GT3 after the fourth round of pit stops before making a decisive move on the Döttinger Höhe straight.

The Black Falcon Merc had dominated the 47th running of the N24 up to that point, with Mueller, Adam Christodoulou, Manuel Metzger and pole-sitter Maro Engel gradually building a half-second lead over the Porsche during the first quarter.

But the order shifted in the fifth hour when the Black Falcon crew lost around half a minute in the pit cycle just before the end of Hour 5, when Mueller took over from a Metzger double stint.

At the close of the first six hours, at 9:30 p.m. local time, Estre held a 30-second gap over Mueller shortly after the fifth round of stops.

Christian Hohenadel was a further 1 minute 25s back in the third-placed No. 48 Mann Filter Mercedes which has been in the same position for the last two hours.

In fourth was the No. 31 Frikadelli Racing Porsche with Matt Campbell driving, ahead of the No. 705 Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus SCG003C.

Thomas Mutsch put the Glickenhaus SPX car one place up in the order with an overtake on the No. 4 Phoenix-run Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo of Frederic Vervisch in Hour 5, and held the place during his changeover to co-driver Felipe Fernandez-Laser. 

Laser came out of the pits with 12 seconds in hand to Vervisch’s driving partner Pierre Kaffer in the highest-placed Audi.

At the close of six hours, Kaffer was being hounded by Markus Winkelhock in the No. 14 Car Collection R8 which dropped a few spots after running as high as third in the opening stanza.

Not far behind were Yelmer Buurman in the No. 6 Black Falcon Mercedes and Lars Kern in the Pro-Am leading No. 12 Manthey Porsche.

BMW’s Pro-class contingent endured further trouble as the German manufacturer lost another car, following the earlier retirements of three of the primary M6 GT3s. 

The No. 42 Team Schnitzer entry was the prime BMW after the ROWE and Walkenhorst cars dropped out, but a crash for Timo Scheider at the second part of the Brünnchen double-right sent another M6 out of the race.

BMW’s only Pro car left running is the No. 33 Falken Motorsports machine in 14th position.

Other casualties in the first six hours included the popular ‘foxtail’ Opel Manta, which retired from the race after an accident, and the former SP8T class-leading No. 46 Mercedes-AMG GT4 which was caught up in the same incident on the GP circuit.

The clash has helped the No. 36 AMR Performance Centre Aston Martin Vantage GT4 to take the SP8T lead with Chris Goodwin at the wheel.

Positions After Six Hours

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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