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Intercontinental GT Challenge

ROWE Files Appeal After Rejected N24 Outcome Protest

ROWE Racing to file appeal in the wake of Nürburgring 24 after initial protest about race ending procedure was rejected…

Photo: Gruppe C Photography

ROWE Racing has filed an appeal after an initial post-race protest about the ending of the Nürburgring 24 was rejected by the stewards.

Team principal Hans-Peter Naundorf confirmed to reporters at the Nürburgring that the team will seek to have a ruling by the stewards overturned after the team initially filed a protest directly after the conclusion of the race.

Scherer Sport PHX’s No. 16 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II was declared the winner of the shortest-ever edition of the Eifel endurance classic, which was interrupted by a lengthy red flag due to fog.

At 1:30 p.m CEST (7:30 a.m. EDT), cars rejoined the track for five exploratory laps behind the safety car, after which race control opted to display the checkered flag and declare Frank Stippler, Christopher Mies, Ricardo Feller and Dennis Marschall the winners.

Naundorf explained that the protest was with regards to the way race control managed the end of the race, arguing that the rules were not properly applied to the situation.

A stewards’ decision document published by the ADAC outlines that ROWE argued that the race was interrupted, not finished when the checkered flag was shown 55 minutes prior to the intended end time.

“We say the race director didn’t, let’s say, finish the race, according to the regulations,” Naundorf said.

“He applied his own rules, which are outside of the regulation. We just want to say and want to have him applying the regulations, that’s what we all want.

“We want to stay within the regulations. That’s why they exist. And there’s so much detail things of what it means ending a race, interrupting a race, red-flagging a race, checkered-flagging a race.

“It’s a detailed thing. But still, we all are competitors, and all organizers, we all want to stay in [the] regulations. That’s why they are there.

“There’s the ruling from the ADAC, there’s a ruling and the texts from the DMSB and from the international sports.

“All these three, have not been applied properly. And that’s what we say. We teams want to have the security and the knowledge that a race, for example, ends under the conditions and under the regulations, which is written there.”

In addition to filing the appeal in order to seek clarification of the regulations, Naundorf also acknowledged that had the race been red-flagged rather than ended after the five-lap safety car period, the application of Article 35.3 of the N24 supplementary regulations would have likely resulted in victory for the No. 98 car.

This is because Article 35.3 states that “the minimum pit stop times applicable at the time of the classification (including any time penalties and stop-and-go time penalty) will subsequently be added to the vehicles’ total driving time in the form of a time penalty.”

As the No. 98 ROWE BMW was one of a number of cars that came into the pits during the five-lap safety car period the application of time penalties for cars that did not pit would have seen it vault up the order in the classification at the time of the red flag.

“Exactly, this is why we see it this way,” Naundorf said.

“We say: why not apply the same regulations you applied yesterday, shortly before midnight? Why didn’t you apply the same procedure again?”

The stewards document goes on to state that the green flag was not displayed at the end of the five-lap period for safety reasons and pointed to Article 22 of the DMSB circuit regulations, which state that “if the checkered flag is shown prematurely, this time is decisive for the classification.”

Crucially, the DMSB has stated that these regulations apply to all events and series on the circuit.

However, Naundorf argued that that article does not apply to this situation.

“That’s what they want to argue about exactly,” Naundorf said.

“This article is actually for cases for what happens by incident. Let’s say somebody’s chequered flags the race four seconds earlier.

“It’s for a very short period where the race actually has to end or qualifying session has to end. So it’s an incident or five seconds too late.”

As a result of ROWE’s appeal, the result of the 52nd running of the Eifel endurance classic remains provisional.

Davey Euwema is Sportscar365's European Editor. Based in The Netherlands, Euwema covers the FIA World Endurance Championship, European Le Mans Series and Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS, among other series.

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