Three of the five Pro-class BMW entries in the Nürburgring 24 have dropped out of contention after a succession of problems early in the race.
Both BMW M6 GT3s from ROWE Racing and the No. 101 Walkenhorst Motorsport car have retired with just four hours complete, leaving the No. 42 Team Schnitzer machine as BMW’s only top-10 challenger.
The Walkenhorst car ran as high as fourth in the hands of David Pittard, but contact with the barriers in the second hour resulted in a terminal suspension issue.
This came just two laps after ROWE’s No. 99 car of Nicky Catsburg, Marco Wittmann, Jesse Krohn and John Edwards was also forced to retire with a suspension failure of its own.
The sister ROWE machine of Philipp Eng, Connor de Phillippi, Tom Blomqvist and Mikkel Jensen then picked up the baton as the lead BMW entry for a brief while before hitting trouble in Hour 4.
DTM points leader Eng was in the thick of an entertaining scrap between the cars placed third through sixth, with the Austrian losing fourth position to Mathieu Jaminet in the Frikadelli Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R.
The car then stopped at Hohe Acht after a collision that reportedly damaged its radiator, before being officially retired.
With both ROWE cars and the lead Walkenhorst entry out, Schnitzer’s BMW is now the best-placed M6 in eighth, while the No. 33 Falken Motorsports car is running 18th overall.
Walkenhorst still has a car in the Pro-Am class circulating in 28th position.
Up front, Black Falcon’s No. 2 Mercedes-AMG GT3 continued to lead the race after four hours, although Manuel Metzger’s advantage over Earl Bamber in the No. 911 Manthey Racing Porsche has declined since the most recent pit stops.
Metzger entered the fifth hour with a 24-second lead over Bamber, who had eaten away 14 seconds in the space of four laps since the leaders last came in.
Rene Rast was third in the No. 14 Car Collection Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo, 50 seconds away from Bamber, while the No. 48 Mann Filter Mercedes sat fourth with Raffaele Marciello driving.