Marco Wittmann set the pace for ROWE Racing in the opening session for this weekend’s Nürburgring 24, going quickest in a shortened Free Practice on Thursday afternoon.
The session was initially scheduled to last one hour, 40 minutes, but a delayed start and later a red flag due to weather conditions only allowed for 54 minutes of running.
Wittmann posted a best time of 8:27.519 in the No. 99 BMW M6 GT3 that he shares with Nicky Catsburg, Jesse Krohn and John Edwards.
It put him five seconds clear of the next fastest car, Fabian Schiller’s No. 17 GetSpeed Performance Mercedes-AMG GT3.
The session was red-flagged 21 minutes before the end due to the worsening weather conditions that left standing water and mud on the track.
While it started in dry conditions, rain soon arrived on parts of the Nordschleife before a heavy storm followed.
This resulted in a number of cars, most of which were still on slick tires, spinning off track, including the No. 38 KCMG Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 of Philipp Wlazik, which became stranded.
Sheldon van der Linde had a glance with the tire barriers after aquaplaning off track in his No. 42 Team Schnitzer BMW M6 GT3, while Simon Trummer and Tristan Vautier also had incidents in the rain.
As well as ending prematurely, Free Practice got underway 25 minutes late while clean-up from the preceding FIA WTCR session was completed.
Niels Langeveld went off track during WTCR’s Free Practice 2, which ended just ten minutes before N24 Free Practice was scheduled to start.
No further Free Practice sessions will be held, with Qualifying 1 next up at 8:30 p.m. local time (2:30 p.m. EDT) for an additional three hours of running.
RESULTS: Free Practice