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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Scherer Sport PHX Wins Shortest-Ever, Red-Flagged N24

Race not restarted after safety car laps; Scherer Sport PHX declared winners…

Photo: Gruppe C Photography

Frank Stippler, Christopher Mies, Ricardo Feller and Dennis Marschall have been declared the winner of the 52nd Nürburgring 24, which is the shortest-ever edition of the Eifel endurance classic after it was red-flagged, restarted and then stopped prematurely due to fog.

The No. 16 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II was in the lead of the race when a red flag was called Saturday at 11:23 p.m. local time as a thick cloud of fog descended over the Nürburgring.

That red flag held for 14 hours, with the field resuming behind the safety car for five formation laps on Sunday afternoon at 1:30 p.m.

Race control stipulated that these five formation laps would determine whether or not the race would be able to fully resumed, but with the fog still a factor, the race was declared after 50 laps were completed.

As a result, Audi secured its seventh N24 victory, returning to the top step after last winning the race in 2022.

Manthey EMA finished second with its No. 911 Porsche 911 GT3 R of Kevin Estre, Thomas Preining, Laurens Vanthoor and Ayhancan Guven

The ‘Grello’ Porsche was in third place when the red flag was called, but was promoted to second place for the restart as the No. 72 BMW M4 GT3 had taken one less pitstop prior to the stoppage.

Under the N24’s supplementary regulations, the accumulated minimum pitstop times are included in the result of the red flag, which results in Dan Harper, Max Hesse and Charles Weerts being dropped to third place behind the Porsche, where it finished.

The No. 72 car started the race from pole position, then dropped back as it came to pit prior to the green flag to switch from slicks to wet tires.

Harper subsequently charged back up the order to bring the car back into contention, which allowed it to become BMW’s leading contender when ROWE Racing’s Sheldon van der Linde was eliminated from the lead in a multi-car crash at Fuchsrohe in the fourth hour.

That promoted the No. 16 Audi to the lead of the race, although multiple cars were in contention as the return of rain split tire strategies as Saturday evening fell.

Mies put the Scherer Sport PHX crew on the path to victory by passing both Harper’s No. 72 BMW and the No. 3 Mercedes-AMG Team Bilstein Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo of Arjun Maini in a double overtake at Aremberg.

A battle between Mies and Harper then ensued as the BMW driver recaptured the lead with a move at Klostertal, only for Mies to return the favour on the Dottinger Hohe not long before the red flag.

The No. 4 Mercedes-AMG Team Bilstein machine of Luca Stolz, Maximilian Goetz, Daniel Juncadella and Arjun Maini finished fourth, while Red Bull Team ABT completed the overall top five with its No. 27 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2 for Kelvin van der Linde, Marco Mapelli and Jordan Pepper.

A series of pitstops under the safety car shook up the order in the rest of the top ten, with the No. 1 Frikadelli Racing Team Ferrari 296 GT3 pitting from sixth, while the No. 3 Mercedes-AMG, No. 98 ROWE Racing BMW and No. 44 Falken Motorsport Porsche all also came in.

As a result, the No. 33 Falken Porsche finished in sixth ahead of the No. 54 Dinamic Porsche and the No. 98 ROWE BMW.

The No. 15 Scherer Sport PHX Audi came home in ninth, while the No. 24 Lionspeed GP Porsche in the hands of Antares Au, Patric Niederhauser, Patrick Kolb and Indy Dontje picked up the SP9 Pro-Am class victory in tenth overall.

Notably, Mercedes-AMG Team GetSpeed saw both of its cars retire after a troublesome race with multiple incidents.

The No. 8 car of Lucas Auer, Adam Christodoulou, Philip Ellis and Mikael Grenier fell first when Christodoulou inflicted front-end damage in an overnight incident.

The No. 130 machine, meanwhile, had its competitive run curtailed in a coming together with the No. 15 Scherer Sport PHX Audi and the No. 5 Herberth Motorsport Porsche.

While Herberth driver Kolb came worse off, spinning into the barriers at Antoniusbuche and suffering damage, the Mercedes-AMG came away from the incident with a puncture.

It later spent time overnight in the garage for repairs before Jules Gounon pulled the car into the garage during the five laps behind the safety car on Sunday afternoon.

In the classes, Black Falcon came out on top in Cup2 with its No. 103 Porsche 922 GT3 Cup of Mustafa Mehment Kaya, Gabriele Piana, Tim Scheerbarth and Mike Stursberg.

Maxime Oosten, Nick Wuenstenhagen, Nick Hancke and Lorenz Philipp Stegmann won the SP10 class with their No. 188 FK Performance Motorsport BMW M4 GT4.

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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