Audi turned the tables on Mercedes in Qualifying 1 Thursday evening at the Nürburgring by setting the first and second quickest times before heavy rain prevented any further improvements.
Defending Nürburgring 24 winner Laurens Vanthoor in the No. 1 WRT Audi R8 LMS set the best time of the evening in 8:21.951 to beat the No. 16 Twin Busch Audi driven by René Rast, who also set the fourth fastest time of the session in the No. 6 Audi Sport Team Phoenix entry.
The privateer Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Zakspeed’s Luca Ludwig, Sebastian Asch, Daniel Kielwitz and Kenneth Heyer was an encouraging third, 1.349 seconds off Vanthoor’s benchmark, although the team were set for a long night after their Nissan GT-R GT3 sustained suspension damage in an off at Schwalbenschwanz.
The lead Mercedes was just 0.021 seconds faster than the best of the BMWs in 5th, the No. 18 Schubert Motorsport M6 GT3 driven by Augusto Farfus Jr., Jesse Krohn, Marco Wittmann and Jörg Müller.
After setting the early pace, the No. 9 Black Falcon Mercedes faded to sixth by the end of the session, but only completed seven laps as they opted to preserve their car for tomorrow.
Qualifying 2 and the Top-30 Qualifying sessions get underway at 9:30 a.m. and 7:50 p.m. local time, respectively.