Mercedes-AMG Team GetSpeed driver Fabian Schiller was right on the tail of Audi Sport Team Phoenix’s race leader Dries Vanthoor with three hours left at the Nürburgring 24.
Vanthoor, driving the No. 15 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II held a half-second lead over Schiller’s No. 3 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo, with the two German manufacturers poised for a gripping showdown.
Schiller and Vanthoor went up against each other in a double stint over the 20th and 21st hours, during which light rain over the GP circuit made for some tricky conditions.
Schiller had a couple of wobbly moments on the curbs but still managed to bring the gap down to five seconds after the round of pit stops that split the double stint.
As the conditions improved slightly, the German driver got to within a second of Vanthoor and was gearing up for a passing attempt as the 21-hour mark passed.
Schiller is sharing the No. 3 Mercedes-AMG with Adam Christodoulou and Maximilian Goetz, while Vanthoor is teamed up with Robin Frijns, Frederic Vervisch and Kelvin van der Linde.
With three hours to go, Jules Gounon sat three minutes behind the battling lead pair in third aboard the No. 4 GetSpeed Mercedes-AMG.
GetSpeed split its strategies at the most recent round of pit stops, with Gounon taking cut slick Michelin tires as Schiller and Vanthoor continued on full slicks.
Christopher Haase ranked fourth in the No. 22 Audi Sport Team Car Collection entry, 40 seconds away from Gounon in a car that has battled two penalties during the race.
Raffaele Marciello held fourth in the HRT-run No. 12 Mercedes-AMG Team Bilstein car, with Alexander Sims close behind for BMW outfit Schubert Motorsport.
The nearest Porsche with three hours to go was the KCMG example driven by Earl Bamber in 10th.
Moritz Kranz had a seven-minute cushion at the head of the CUP 2 Porsche class for KKramer Racing, while Schmickler Performance’s Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport was the highest-ranked GT4 car in 22nd overall.