Rene Rast was forced to take evasive action across the grass lining the Döttinger Höhe straight as the battle for the final Nürburgring 24 podium spot came to a head with just under four hours remaining.
Rast, driving the No. 29 Land-entered Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo, latched onto the draft created by Gabriele Piana’s fourth-placed No. 6 Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3.
The pair were inseparable heading down the 1.5-mile straight towards the GP section when Rast jinked to the left and onto the grass in an attempt to avoid Piana.
Slight contact resulted in a left-rear puncture for the Mercedes, which immediately pitted to cut its projected eight-lap stint short by three laps, losing two minutes as a result.
Rast managed to continue without pitting the Audi he shares with Christopher Mies, Kelvin van der Linde and Christopher Hasse, with the third-placed No. 4 Phoenix Audi able to ake out a six-second gap after the drama.
The Nos. 29 and 4 Audis have been battling each other for the last three hours in an entertaining scrap between the best of the R8 Evo entries.
In Hour 20, Rast sized up and drafted past Dries Vanthoor on the Dottinger Hohe, but the Land driver lost two spots to Vanthoor and Piana during the next pit cycle.
This set up a three-way fight for the final podium spot, which had become available after Maximilian Goetz crashed the No. 48 Mann Filter Mercedes mid-Sunday morning.
At the front, the No. 911 Manthey Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R continued to lead by over a minute from the No. 31 Porsche of Frikadelli Racing as the race entered its 21st hour.
The No. 37 AMR Performance Centre Aston Martin Vantage GT4 has dominated the SP8T class for the last seven and a half hours, while the No. 70 Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT4 has continued to control the SP10 category.