Porsche’s recent Nordschleife form continued as the Frikadelli Racing Team crew of Frederic Makowiecki, Patrick Pilet, Maxime Martin and Dennis Olsen won the six-hour qualifying race for next month’s Nürburgring 24.
The drivers of the No. 31 Porsche 911 GT3 R led a one-two result for Frikadelli as Matt Campbell, Earl Bamber, Nick Tandy and Mathieu Jaminet finished second in the No. 30.
It initially looked as though Porsche had sealed one-two-three after Manthey Racing’s No. 911 entry for Matteo Cairoli, Michael Christensen and Lars Kern crossed the line in second, only to be handed a time penalty for failing to obey flag signals.
This demoted the ‘Grello’ Porsche to seventh and elevated the pole-sitting No. 11 Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo of Nicki Thiim, Michele Beretta, Frank Stippler and Vincent Kolb to the final podium spot.
Olsen took the checkered flag 15 seconds ahead of Kern before the penalty was applied, with Bamber around a minute behind his teammate after defending from Beretta through the final stint.
The winning Porsche started fifth on the 30-car SP9 grid but Makowiecki had charged to second by the time the front-runners reached the Turn 1 hairpin for the second time.
The Frenchman tailed qualifying pace-setter Thiim and then Beretta through the opening two stints, before Frikadelli advanced to the lead during a pit cycle at the end of the second hour, with Pilet emerging ahead of Stippler.
Phoenix returned to the front during that leg with Stippler drafting Pilet on the Dottinger Hohe straight before completing the overtake into Tiergarten, only for the 2019 Nürburgring 24 winner to run off into the gravel a few turns later in the Grand Prix loop.
This handed the upper hand to the No. 31 Porsche which led the middle portion of the race through Martin, who swapped out for Olsen to perform a double stint to the end.
However, Manthey continued to apply the pressure on Frikadelli to ensure both recent NLS race-winning Porsche teams looked capable of prevailing as the end approached.
Cairoli led from Olsen at the top of the final hour, after Kern produced a fourth stint that was one lap shorter than the eight-lap standard and therefore gave Manthey a half-minute advantage in the pits.
Momentum then swung back in the way of Frikadelli during the final hour, as the NLS round three-winning squad was able to pit later than Manthey, giving Olsen the edge.
Aside from the third-placed Phoenix crew, the Manthey penalty benefited other cars including the No. 7 GetSpeed Performance Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo which ended up fourth after stints from Maximilian Goetz, Daniel Juncadella and Fabian Schiller.
In fifth was the No. 44 Falken Motorsports Porsche driven by Sven Mueller, Martin Ragginger, Lance David Arnold and Klaus Bachler, from Phoenix Racing’s No. 15 Audi.
The top BMW M6 GT3 was the No. 98 machine from defending Nürburgring 24 winner ROWE Racing, which initially finished between Falken and Phoenix before being disqualified due to Marco Wittmann running short of his final-stint drive time minimum.
This turned the No. 1 ROWE BMW driven by Nicky Catsburg, Philipp Eng and Nick Yelloly into the highest-ranking car from the Munich manufacturer, in eighth position.
Bachler, who also drove Falken’s No. 33 Porsche, attained what would become fifth by powering past de Phillippi on the run out of the arena chicane with 45 minutes remaining.
The No. 8 GetSpeed Mercedes-AMG and the sole KCMG Porsche completed the top ten.
The highest-finishing non-SP9 entry was the Mercedes-AMG GT3 operating with Schaeffler’s Space Drive steer-by-wire technology in the separate SP-X division.
Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus was the top non-GT3 runner with the American automaker’s SCG 004C taking 24th.
In the pick of the other classes, Christian Menzel, Tim Schrick, Jens Dralle and Markus Oestreich won the all-KTM Cup-X category by a gap of nine seconds from their nearest rivals, while Black Falcon’s No. 308 Porsche 982 Cayman GT4 prevailed in Cup 3.
TCR honors went to Hendrik Still, Luca Engstler and Jean-Karl Vernay in a Hyundai Motorsport-prepared Hyundai i30 N.
The TCR race started dramatically when Andreas Guelden and Peter Terting collided and crashed out of first and second place on the opening lap, leaving the top touring car class with only two competitors for the duration.
Frikadelli Racing Team’s overall victory marked the first Porsche win at the N24 qualifying race, which has now been held seven times since 2014.
RESULTS: Nürburgring 24 Qualifying Race