24H Nurburgring: Volkswagen hour 18 update

Scirocco cars continue leading in class -- Carlos Sainz suffers misfortune Wolfsburg (24 May 2009). Volkswagen leads in both classes: 18 hours into the race, the Scirocco GT24 cars powered by natural gas and petrol engines continue running in ...

Scirocco cars continue leading in class -- Carlos Sainz suffers misfortune

Wolfsburg (24 May 2009). Volkswagen leads in both classes: 18 hours into the race, the Scirocco GT24 cars powered by natural gas and petrol engines continue running in front in their respective classes and rank among the top 20 overall. The Scirocco GT24-CNG of Vanina Ickx (B), Peter Terting (D), Klaus Niedzwiedz (D) and Thomas Klenke (D) was the front runner of the vehicles with alternative powertrains (AT) three fourths of the distance and occupied 21st place in the overall classification. The petrol-powered Scirocco of youngsters Jimmy Johansson (S), Florian Gruber (D), Nicki Thiim (DK) and Martin Karlhofer (A) was 13th overall and first-in-class of the cars with two-litre turbo engines (SP3T).

After Carlos Sainz (E), Dieter Depping (D), Wolfgang Kaufmann (D) and Patrick Simon (D) were consistently running among the top 20, and thus ahead of many more powerful rivals, their race suddenly ended on Sunday morning. Wolfgang Kaufmann was unable to avoid hitting a car that was coasting down on a blind section of the track and the heavy damage to the blue coupe made it impossible for them to continue the race. After 18 hours of racing and a repair of the front suspension Altfrid Heger (D), Cheng Congfu (CN), Carlo van Dam (NL) and Franck Mailleux (F) occupied third place in class and 25th overall. The CNG-powered Scirocco driven by Volkswagen Executive Board Member for Technology Dr Ulrich Hackenberg (D), Bernd Ostmann (D), Peter Wyss (CH) and John Barker (GB) had two accidents during the night, was repaired and dropped to 125th overall.

Kris Nissen, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
"The 24-hour race puts the participants to an extreme test this year. Our Scirocco GT24 cars are running without any technical problems; unfortunately, several incidents during the night created quite a bit of work for our pit crews. The team around Carlos Sainz was struck by major misfortune this morning when another car was suddenly standing on the track after a hilltop and Wolfgang Kaufmann had no chance of avoiding a crash. But situations like these can always happen at the 24-hour race on the Nurburgring-Nordschleife."

#114 - Volkswagen Scirocco GT24-CNG - yellow markings
John Barker (GB): "After I took over our natural gas Scirocco in "cold" condition after a service it felt different than usual at first. After a lap to warm up the engine the car's excellent driveability returned. The race is still very long; we've still got a lot of work to do."

#115 - Volkswagen Scirocco GT24-CNG - black markings
Klaus Niedzwiedz (D): "The night was definitely strenuous at times because the race was slowed down at many places by accidents and clean-up work. Our natural gas Scirocco has excellent balance and is quick. I take my hat off to Vanina Ickx, she's really fast."

#116 - Volkswagen Scirocco GT24 - black markings
Franck Mailleux (F): "My stint at night started very slowly because there were accidents and yellow flags at several places. After that, I found my rhythm and was running well. The atmosphere is incredible. There were a few places where I thought a car had caught fire after a crash but it was fans putting sausages and steaks on the barbecue as late as three o'clock in the morning - unbelievable."

#117 - Volkswagen Scirocco GT24 - orange markings
Wolfgang Kaufmann (D): "Of course I'm deeply disappointed. I went over the blind hilltop in the Pflanzgarten sector at a speed of 200 km/h when a stopped car suddenly appeared on the track in front of me. I tried to brake and avoid hitting it, but there was no chance. The impact was hard, but I'm basically okay. I feel very sorry about this for our squad; they did a perfect job and would have deserved a good result."

#118 - Volkswagen Scirocco GT24 - yellow markings
Martin Karlhofer (A): "I had a good stint this morning despite passing several scenes of accidents around the entire circuit. Our Scirocco continues running like a charm, it's really a lot of fun. I'd have liked driving a few more laps - fortunately, I get to take the wheel once more later."

-credit: vw

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About this article
Series Endurance
Drivers Vanina Ickx , Carlos Sainz , Wolfgang Kaufmann , Dieter Depping , Peter Terting , Jimmy Johansson , Thomas Klenke , Carlo van Dam , Altfrid Heger , Congfu Cheng , Kris Nissen , Franck Mailleux , Patrick Simon , Florian Gruber , Ulrich Hackenberg , Klaus Niedzwiedz , Peter Wyss , Martin Karlhofer , Bernd Ostmann , Nicki Thiim , John Barker
Teams Volkswagen Motorsport