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Nürburgring Endurance

Phoenix Audi Leads After Four Hours at Nürburgring

No. 4 Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS ultra leads way at N24…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

With four hours complete, The No. 4 Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS ultra leads the Nürburgring 24, in what has continued to be an action-packed opening hours at the Nordschleife.

Lucas Luhr was in the lead with the No. 19 Schubert BMW Z4 at the second hour. There was a continuation of the carnage seen at the start. Reinhard Schall was at the wheel of the No. 210 Team Titus Viper.

Unadvisedly he came blasting through an obvious slow zone where there had been a previous incident. A course car was parked ahead and the green LPG powered Dodge veered right to avoid the stationary truck. He slammed into the No. 134 Besaplast Mini of Kai Jordan which became a billiard ball caroming off the rails along this very narrow course.

A short time later Sebastian Asch came to a halt along the long straight with dead electrics on the No. 69 McLaren. Then we had perhaps the biggest accident of the day (and as of now the last) when Marc Basseng had a massive breakage on the No. 3 Phoenix Racing Audi and crashed heavily at Tiergarten.

Basseng was cheeked out ok at the hospital but damage to the barriers required a long period of slow circulation in the area. There are no full-course cautions on the Nordschleife, but sections are cordoned off with strict passing and speed discipline enforced. This meant that while energetic racing continued elsewhere, the actual lap times were not that quick.

Hugh Buckley was another to come to grief, his No. 152 Roadrunner Renault Clio doing a “beep-beep” and taking off at Flugplatz. Chunks of the front bodywork peeled off and the little SP3 class car was pulled off the circuit.

Others with issues were the No. 50 Hyundai (broken engine—car towed back in and engine changed—that’s allowed here), the No. 502 Audi had chronic brake problems, and the ancient Opel Manta had a broken driveshaft.

The No. 11 GT2-spec Manthey Porsche also had brake issues while their teammates, the No. 41 Porsche Cup class car had a broken fuel pump. The No. 62 Teichmann Racing Porsche Cup car lost seven laps repairing crash damage as did the similar car of GetSpeed Performance (No. 61). . The No. 251 Opel Cup car also lost time after an incident.

The overall lead changed when Luhr stopped to hand over to Dirk Müller. This promoted the No. 14 Black Falcon Mercedes to first place. A short time later the first significant on-track tussle for the lead developed, with the longtime second-placed No. 4 Phoenix Audi slipstreaming past the Black Falcon Mercedes near the end of the Döttinger Hohe straight.

This order held for some time, often with only a five-second gap between the leaders. Both made their next stops simultaneously, which very briefly handed the lead back to the pole starting No. 66 McLaren. It stopped the next time around, allowing the No. 4 Audi back on top.

The No. 199 Toyota Thailand Corolla was another to undertake an entire engine change—they started dead last anyway, while look for heads to roll at Rotek. A miscalculation left the No. 108 Audi short of fuel and the SP4T class favorite lost a large amount of time.

The race lost one of the favorites when the rear suspension failed under Alexander Sims when he was rounding the Cola-Cola Curve in the No. 19 Team Schubert BMW Z4. The car came back to the pits but was wheeled away after about 30 minutes of work.

The No. 14 Mercedes and No. 4 Audi swapped the lead twice more during this period, thanks to their pit stop pattern.

Both remained about 30 seconds clear of the two cars fighting for third overall, the No. 22 Rowe Mercedes and the No. 26 Marc VDS BMW. Two other cars remained on the lead lap, the #66 McLaren and the #1 Black Falcon Mercedes SLS AMG.

There are 19 classes in the race — some have limited competition while nearly all the candidates for overall victory are in the GT3 spec SP9 class.

Among the more exciting races is the one going on in SP7 (Porsche Cup cars) with No. 56 Black Falcon holding off No. 67 (Teichmann Racing). In SP3T (production turbo), the Audi TT RS of Raeder Motorsport (No. 111) is ahead of the similar car of LMS Engineering (No. 12). The GT4 spec SP10 class has the Aston Martin Vantage of Team Mathol (No. 94) clear of the No. 91 Prosport Performance Porsche.

János Wimpffen is an American motorsport historian and journalist, contributing to Sportscar365's international coverage. He is the author of "Time and Two Seats" and numerous other award-winning books documenting the history of sports car racing.

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