24H Nurburgring: Event provisional qualifying report

Provisional pole for Manthey's GT3 Porsche Following the night-qualifying all the drivers agreed upon one fact: in the battle for the best positions on the grid for the 37th ADAC Zurich 24h Race, the second qualifying session on Friday will be...

Provisional pole for Manthey's GT3 Porsche

Following the night-qualifying all the drivers agreed upon one fact: in the battle for the best positions on the grid for the 37th ADAC Zurich 24h Race, the second qualifying session on Friday will be the crucial one as the weather conditions during Q1 were just too changeable.

In the four-hour qualifying session held on Thursday night, Emmanuel Collard, Wolf Henzler, Richard Lietz and Dirk Werner secured provisional pole position with their Manthey-Racing entered Porsche 911 GT3 Cup S. While Emmanuel Collard went out at the perfect point in time for setting a fast lap time, the sister car decorated with the No 1 failed to do so. Consequently, the Porsche that is regarded as one of the top favourites had to settle for finishing eighth.

"When the track was reasonably dry we were standing in the garage," said four-time 24h race winner Marcel Tiemann to explain the qualifying result. Meanwhile, the Phoenix-Racing entered Audi R8 LMS also was luckier than the 2008 winner. 10.992 seconds behind the provisional pole sitters, the Audi with the number 99 finished second, with the 'Wochenspiegel' Porsche raced by Georg Weiss, Peter-Paul Pietsch, Michael Jacobs and Martin Ragginger securing third place. "Martin Ragginger took our car to third what would be a great initial position for the race," beamed Georg Weiss -- but at the same time he also tried to dampen the expectations: "The 24-hour race resembles a golf tournament. To find out who has won the event you will have to wait until the last player has completed the 18th hole of the fourth round." The third-placed squad wasn't the only one that caused a minor stir: behind the DTM aces Timo Scheider and Mattias Ekstrom who share the wheel of the Audi R8 LMS No 100, independent drivers Herbert Steiner and Stefan Rulke also benefited from the changeable conditions. Together with their team-mate Michael Funke, they took their BMW M3 GTR E92 to fifth position in the overall rankings. Despite the weather, the top teams succeeded in largely escaping incidents. The only car that was involved in two incidents was the Audi R8 LMS No 100. Short after 20:00hrs, the GT3 sports car collided with a less powerful Audi while entering the Nordschleife and in the closing stages of the session, it stranded in the Brunnchen section due to a technical failure. The engine suddenly stopped working and couldn't be restarted.

Quotes following the first qualifying session:

#1 Bernhard / Lieb / Dumas / Tiemann (Porsche 911 GT3-RSR):
Marcel Tiemann: When the track had reasonably dried we were standing in the garage. Therefore, everybody is completing his obligatory laps now. So we will have the chance of deciding tomorrow what we are going to do. Let's wait and see what will happen in Q2. It definitely will be a thrilling session."

#2 Collard / Henzler / Lietz / Werner (Porsche 911 GT3 Cup S):
Wolf Henzler: "Emmanuel Collard set our fastest lap. He went out at a good point in time when the racing line was rather dry. I'm convinced that we are going to witness faster lap times tomorrow in dry conditions."

#5 Weiss / Pietsch / Jacobs / Ragginger (Porsche 911 GT3):
Georg Weiß: "We will have to wait and see what will happen tomorrow in Q2. Martin Ragginger took our car to third what would be a great initial position for the race. It's really nice to have a works driver in the car. But we can't and don't want to compare our performances with the one he is able to deliver."

#6 Jurgen Alzen / Menzel / Schwager / Fricke (Porsche 911 GT3):
Christian Menzel: "It was anything but easy in the opening stages of the session. There wasn't too much water on the track but we had to cope with a lot of spray, nevertheless. In some areas, the visibility was virtually zero. Today we are taking it easy but tomorrow we will really go for it. A top-five position is possible."

#18 Uwe Alzen / Bert / Arnold / Mies (Porsche 997 GT3 Cup):
Uwe Alzen: "For six weeks I worked day and night to put together my own team. And when I went out for the first time in the practice session it felt just great and the entire load was taken from my shoulders. Now it's our goal to qualify for a top-20 position on the grid. We had hoped for more rain. Now we will complete our obligatory laps and will wait and see." Lance David Arnold: "The crucial times will be set tomorrow. Today I have to focus on completing my compulsory laps and familiarising with the car. The changeable conditions didn't represent a problem for me, I coped well right away."

#19 Mamerow / Bergmeister / Franchitti / Mamerow (Porsche 911 GT3 Cup S):
Chris Mamerow: "We certainly would be further up on the time sheets had we made better use of the dry periods. But we were standing in the garage when the track was dry. Should the conditions be better tomorrow the times will be clearly better. In the race, we want to annoy the Audis a little by matching their pace and keeping contact to them -- to have the chance of responding straightaway should an opportunity arise."

#40 Tilke / Adorf / Hennerici / Mutsch (Ford GT):
Team Principal Niki Raeder: "First of all I have to say that we are delighted with having the opportunity to be part of this race, with our GT. But due to our spare-part situation we can't do more than the necessary mileage. Therefore, we treat our car with care. We needn't prove anything to anybody. I expect us to qualify for seventh to twelfth position on the grid."

#60 Muller / Priaulx / Übler / Schurig (BMW M3 GT4):
Jorg Muller: "In these conditions you had to be out on the track at the perfect point in time to secure a top position. And we were among the teams that succeeded in doing so and therefore, our position is certainly better than what had been expected from our car."

#77 Hurtgen / Farfus / Sorlie / Muller (BMW Z4-M Coupe):
Claudia Hurtgen: "The conditions are expected to be dry from tomorrow -- and according to the weather forecasters, the 24h race also will be held in dry conditions. So, we now focus on that. Currently we are checking the light system to prepare for the night."

Hans-Joachim Stuck:
"I was just out on the track when the heavy rain was falling. And the car handled really nicely in these conditions and keeping it under control proved to be easy. In the wet we definitely benefit from the mid-engine of the R8. We should be rather competitive in mixed conditions, with the competitive driver line-up for our four cars also being helpful. Altogether, the track was rather slow today and didn't provide a lot of grip -- even in dry conditions. I expect us to be able to set an 8:40-minute lap, tomorrow. And then we will have to wait and see what we will be able to achieve over the distance. The major part of the car's components has covered a high test-stand mileage -- but doing so on the Nordschleife is something completely different. And the mileage we have covered with the R8 to date has been limited."

-credit: adac.24h

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Series Endurance
Drivers Hans-Joachim Stuck , Marcel Tiemann , Emmanuel Collard , Jorg Muller , Claudia Hurtgen , Uwe Alzen , Timo Scheider , Mattias Ekström , Jürgen Alzen , Michael Jacobs , Wolf Henzler , Michael Funke , Dirk Werner , Martin Ragginger , Richard Lietz , Christian Menzel , Georg Weiss , Peter-Paul Pietsch , Herbert Steiner , Stefan Rülke , Lance David Arnold , Chris Mamerow