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Nürburgring Endurance

Phoenix Audi Out Front With Seven Hours Complete at Nürburgring

No. 4 Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS ultra leads with seven hours complete…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

The No. 4 Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS ultra is the leader at the seven mark at the Nürburgring 24, following a two-way battle with the No. 26 BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS BMW Z4 GT3, which has also led through the dusk-to-nighttime hours.

Taut and thrilling was the order of the race as the solstice sun slowly set. The period began with the No. 1 Black Falcon Mercedes edging into the lead while both the No. 4 Audi and No. 14 Mercedes made their stops. The No. 66 McLaren had been in the hunt until it made a long stop to cure an overheating problem. The No. 4 Audi also fell back a bit when it had to take evasive action during a lapping maneuver.

Others further back in the field with issues included the No. 72 Car Collection SP7 class Porsche, which battled electrical issues.

The No. 122 Ford Focus (SP3T class) had a broken gearbox and a left rear wheel problem slowed the No. 80 Nissan—latest in a series of calamities to befall the very professional Nismo crew. Tire problems—as in a puncture and a lost carcass, also plagued the No. 6 Frikadelli Porsche.

The No. 188 Red Camel diesel-powered Seat and the No. 180 NexD Motorsport V6 class BMW had an accident at Breidscheid. No word yet as to whether they can be repaired. The No. 7 Aston Martin completed a very slow lap when its fuel pump failed. Sadly, the quixotic Team Jota Mazda Miata has also stopped on course.

There was another swap of the overall lead between the No. 1 Mercedes and the No. 4 Audi thanks to the pattern of stops. However, both were soon passed by the No. 26 Marc VDS BMW. The Z4 GT3 had been lurking around the top group since the start, but this was their first turn at the front.

The Belgian-entered BMW did drop back to second when it made a scheduled stop. Abdulaziz al Faisal was now driving the No. 14 Mercedes which slipped down the order a bit.

Class leaders at seven hours included the following:

SP7 (Porsche Cup), No. 57 Krumbach Racing Service entry—in 25th overall.
SP8, No. 48, Gazoo Racing Lexus LFA, 28th overall.
SP3T, No. 111 Raeder Motorsport Audi TTRS, 29th overall
SP10 (GT4), No. 94, Mathol Racing, Aston Martin.

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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