Things stay wild at the Nurburgring

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Things stay wild at the Nurburgring

After eight hours, there are few of the front-runners who have not encountered problems or spent an extended time in the pits. The fortunate ones so far being the BMW Z4 of Schubert Motorsport and the Hisaq Porsche. Pit stop for ...

After eight hours, there are few of the front-runners who have not encountered problems or spent an extended time in the pits. The fortunate ones so far being the BMW Z4 of Schubert Motorsport and the Hisaq Porsche.

Pit stop for #22 HISAQ Competition Porsche 997 GT3 RSR: Emmanuel Collard, Marino Franchitti, Frank Stippler, Richard Westbrook.
Photo by Eric Gilbert.

That said, there are presently eleven cars within two laps of each other; nine of those Porsches with two BMW Z4s peppered in there.

The most interesting point comes from the No. 1 Manthey Porsche, now up to fourth place. After a cooling hose problem at the very start of the race, the foursome of Bernard/Dumas/Lieb/Tiemann has fought its way to the lead lap. The team's strategy has not changed, according to Timo Bernhard: run fast, but without taking too many risks. And run fast they have. Romain Dumas has been putting in laps under 9 minutes, about 10 to 20 seconds faster than the leaders.

The Hisaq Porsche is currently in first with Manu Collard at the controls. Having started in 11th with Franchitti/Stippler/Westbrook, the frenchman was up to the top five by the first hour mark and his teammates have continued the rise to the top.

The BMW Z4 has had a good race so far but is starting to feel the pressure from a string of Porsches behind.

Driver Claudia H?rtgen: "Our rivals are getting closer and closer. I think a podium finish is the most we can really hope for at the end of the race."

Behind the Z4, the No. 31 of Paragon and the No. 3 of Land Motorsport are knocking on the door even though these two have had opposite races so far. The former has had a smart race with few troubles, while the latter has been forced to claw back from a six-minute deficit after an early puncture.

And what about the Alzen Motorsport Porsche? The one that has dominated the early stages? The team's pace has dropped a bit, but most importantly, the 911 Turbo consumes more than its opponents and completes on average two less laps per stint. Over the course of 24 hours, things aren't looking up for the foursome of Alzen/Gedlich/Abt/Menzel. They have fallen to 7th spot.

#1 Manthey Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR: Timo Bernhard, Marc Lieb, Romain Dumas, Marcel Tiemann.
Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt.

After two very good first stints and running in second place, the No. 24 Manthey Porsche came to a stop on track after the hood popped up on driver Michael Jacobs after contact with a Honda S2000. The team repaired the front underbody and bumper as well as replaced the radiator but are now running just outside the top 20.

Other victims of misfortune were the Aston Martin foursome of Enge/M?cke/Lechner/Wendlinger who had an incident while navigating traffic. With Stefan M?cke at the wheel, the DBRS9 was squeezed off the track by a Ford Fiesta. After a few minutes in the gravel trap, M?cke was able to limp back to the pits to make repairs but now finds himself in 70th position.

After early electrical problems, the Zakspeed Viper has maintained a consistent pace and has made its way to 22nd place and four laps down.

The No. 118 Scirocco is in 19th place overall and first in the SP3 class, with only a few minutes gap ahead of the Opel Asta GTC n?105, who have had a good race so far. Driver Stefan Leitner was satisfied with his time in the car.

"I'm very happy with my stint. Apart from slight contact with a Nissan, who shut the door on me through a corner, everything went perfectly."

Also of note, the diesel-powered BMW 320d n?261 is having an impressive run in 14th overall with J?rg M?ller and Augusto Farfus part of the driver line-up. The car is going 15 laps between stops. M?ller: "We are right up there in a field full of strong cars, even though the others are all 30 seconds per lap faster than us. We really have no right to be up there, but something seems to be working right."

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Series ENDURANCE