An inspiring final 90-minute stint by Fred Makowieki in treacherous conditions has given Manthey Racing and Porsche victory in a weather-interrupted Nürburgring 24.
The Frenchman took the No. 912 Porsche 911 GT3 R to a narrow 26.413-second win over the No. 4 Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Adam Christodoulou, following a fierce battle between the two cars on the race’s restart following a two-hour red flag period.
Restarting nose-to-tail, a daring move by Makowiecki on the Mercedes in the GP section of the circuit, which saw the cars make side-by-side contact and Christodoulou into a half-spin, put the Porsche out front with 1 hour and 11 minutes to go.
Slight contact with the barriers several minutes later for the in-pursuit Mercedes gave a further dent in Christodoulou’s charge, who lost his four-minute-plus advantage on the Porsche during the red flag neutralization for fog and track conditions.
Makowiecki shared the dramatic victory with fellow Porsche factory drivers Nick Tandy, Patrick Pilet and Richard Lietz and marked the German manufacturer’s first overall Nürburgring 24 win since 2011.
The win came after an opening lap puncture for the No. 912 car, as well as a 3 minute and 32-second stop-and-hold penalty just prior to the red flag for a Code 60 speeding infringement, which essentially put the car out of contention had the red not occurred.
Christodoulou shared the second-placed Mercedes with Maro Engel, Manuel Metzger and Ford factory driver on-loan, Dirk Mueller.
Black Falcon’s second AMG-backed entry of Yelmer Buurman, Thomas Jaeger, Jan Seyffarth and Luca Stolz completed the podium in third, after Buurman got around the No. 007 Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 of Maxime Martin in the closing stages.
Martin brought the Vantage, in its final full factory endurance race, home in fourth, ahead of the third Black Falcon Mercedes fading to fifth.
It marked Aston Martin’s best-ever overall finish in the race, after running as high as third prior to the red.
Challenging Race for Audi, BMW
Audi’s challenge for victory came to an end in the 19th hour following an accident by Kelvin van der Linde, who lost control of his No. 1 Land Motorsport Audi R8 LMS while running in third.
The defending race winner, who was on cut slicks in challenging conditions, limped the Audi back to the pits and rejoined two laps down in seventh.
Van der Linde finished sixth after getting around the No. 3 Phoenix Racing-run Audi of Frederic Vervisch for the position shortly after the restart.
The German manufacturer’s other early race challenger, the No. 8 Audi Sport-backed WRT entry, crashed out in the sixth hour with Dries Vanthoor at the wheel.
BMW, which along with Audi received pre-race Balance of Performance breaks, encountered similar misfortune, with both of the ROWE Racing-run BMW M6 GT3s hitting various troubles before retiring.
The highest-placed BMW was the customer No. 102 Walkenhorst entry, which finished 13th overall.
Another pre-race favorite, the pole-sitting No. 911 Manthey Porsche, suffered a sizable accident overnight in the hands of Romain Dumas, while in the lead.
The pair of Manthey Porsches had been running 1-2 for moments of the race.
RESULTS: ADAC Zurich 24h Race