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HRT Mercedes Quickest in Second Session Before Crashing

HRT Mercedes sets second quali practice pace then triggers red flag period after accident…

Photo: Mercedes-AMG

Nico Bastian set the pace in Thursday evening’s practice session for the Nürburgring 24 before his co-driver Yelmer Buurman crashed to bring out the red flags.

Bastian posted a time of 8:19.079 aboard the No. 2 Haupt Racing Team Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo before handing the reins over to Hubert Haupt and Philip Ellis to complete stints.

Buurman then got behind the wheel but exited the road at Schwedenkreuz on the run down to the Aremberg right-hander and made heavy contact with the barriers.

The car came back to the paddock on a flat-bed truck with significant front and rear damage, while necessary guardrail repairs prompted the three-hour session to be ended 40 minutes earlier than planned. Mercedes-AMG reported Buurman to be OK.

Two cars in the top SP9 class incurred damage in night qualifying practice as the No. 44 Falken Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R also hit trouble on the Nordschleife.

Peter Dumbreck went off in slippery conditions at Adenauer Forst and was reported OK following a barrier hit. 

In another blow for Falken the car, which didn’t return to the session, it was also ordered to start Saturday’s race from the back of the first grid of cars, including all SP9 runners, after being clocked speeding at 63 km/h under Code 60 restricted conditions.

Rainfall had an effect on the second session of the weekend and meant that Marco Mapelli’s 8:11.428 flyer from the first qualifying practice was safe by a wide margin.

Second-quickest behind Bastian’s effort was Kelvin van der Linde who posted a time of 8:19.411 in the No. 29 Audi Sport Team Land Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo.

Another factory-supported Audi finished third in the leaderboard as Dries Vanthoor came through on an 8:20.541 in the No. 1 Phoenix-run car.

Maximilian Goetz was fourth in the No. 9 GetSpeed Performance Mercedes-AMG, ahead of Christian Krognes in the best-placed BMW M6 GT3 from Walkenhorst Motorsport.

Friday’s track action consists of the third and final preliminary qualifying session starting at 1:25 p.m. CEST (7:25 a.m. EST), followed by Top Qualifying to determine the SP9 starting positions and the overall pole-sitter.

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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