One-two lead for Scirocco GT24 after five hours
Wolfsburg. Dream start for the new Scirocco GT24: The race version of the Volkswagen Sport Coupe controlled proceedings in the class for cars with two-litre turbo engines (SP3T) during the first five hours of the 24-hour race around the Nurburgring. The 325 hp Scirocco with the start number 118 and driven by Jimmy Johansson (S), Florian Gruber (D), Thomas Mutsch (D) and Hans-Joachim Stuck (A) led its class after 29 laps and held an incredible 18th place overall. Carlos Sainz (E), Giniel de Villiers (RSA), Dieter Depping (D) and again Hans-Joachim Stuck (A) in the sister car with the start number 117 was second in class and 20th overall at 8:00 p.m. The third Scirocco of Dr Ulrich Hackenberg, Volkswagen Board of Management of the Volkswagen Brand with responsibility for Development, the two journalists Bernd Ostmann and Matthias Malmedie and Nordschleif campaigner Altfrid Heger, who replaced Francois Verbist who was taken ill, was fourth in class and 27th overall.
The R-Line Golf GTI with Natural Gas power and driven by the German quartet Thomas Klenke, Kai Jordan, Mario Merten and Peter Terting, headed into the night in 40th position overall and fourth place in the class for alternative power.
Kris Nissen, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
"Our three Scirocco have mastered the opening hours around the Nurburgring without any problems. Both the drivers and team are well disciplined and are taking no risks. Although we are currently leading our class the race is only over when the flag drops. There are still another 19 tough hours ahead of us in which there can be plenty of unpleasant surprises."
#116 - Volkswagen Scirocco GT24 - silver identification - 4th in class
Altfrid Heger (D) drove a long opening stint: "These were actually the very first kilometres for me in the new Scirocco, which is why I took my time to find the limit. I feel very comfortable and safe in the car and can't wait for my next stint."
Bernd Ostmann (D) took over from Heger after 15 laps: "I noticed a few rain drops during the opening laps, but luckily the rain stayed away. My stint ran as scheduled, from my side things can continue like this."
#117 - Volkswagen Scirocco GT24 - orange identification - 2nd in class
Hans-Joachim Stuck (A) drove the first stint: "There was a misunderstanding at the start: I was sent off with the first start group by mistake. When I noticed that nobody was following me I slowed down and waited for the second group and took up my correct position in the line. I spotted loads of Volkswagen flags lining 'Ring' - fantastic."
Giniel de Villiers (RSA) took over from Stuck after nine laps:
"I enjoyed my first stint and feel really comfortable in the Scirocco. Unfortunately, I made a mistake at the pit-stop and stopped out of position which cost us about 40 seconds."
Carlos Sainz (E) took over from de Villiers after 18 laps: "I love the Nordschleife, but I sometimes think that there is more traffic than in Madrid! This really is a totally new experience for me - this is totally alien to rallying."
#118 - Volkswagen Scirocco GT24 - yellow identification - 1st in class
Jimmy Johansson (S) drove the opening stint: "Hans-Joachim Stuck and I made the pace in tandem at the start. The conditions were very good and there were relatively few incidents on the circuit. I'm now going to recharge my batteries for the long night."
Florian Gruber (D) took over from Johansson after eight laps: "I found my rhythm very quickly; my nine laps were very good. The car was bottoming slightly in the Carousel and, as a result, a part of the underbody came loose. The team fastened it again very quickly."
Thomas Mutsch (D) took over from Gruber after 15 laps: "Our Scirocco is very comfortable to drive, it's set-up to understeer slightly. I was driving with one eye on the sky, but thankfully it has stayed dry up to now."