Hour 13 Retirement a First for Drink Florida Orange Juice!/ SPEEDCOM Communications/Marcos Racing International BMW Team at 24 Hours of Nurburgring Prewitt, Lassally and Euser Miss Second Straight 24 Hour Race Win after Coronel's Saturday...
Hour 13 Retirement a First for Drink Florida Orange Juice!/ SPEEDCOM Communications/Marcos Racing International BMW Team at 24 Hours of Nurburgring
Prewitt, Lassally and Euser Miss Second Straight 24 Hour Race Win after Coronel's Saturday Night Crash
NURBURG, Germany (May 16, 2010) - An hour six accident while leading the D1T (Diesel 1) class ultimately led to the 13th hour retirement of the No. 179 Drink Florida Orange Juice!/SPEEDCOM Communications/Marcos Racing International BMW 320d early Sunday morning in the 38th annual ADAC Zurich 24 Hours of Nurburgring.
Hal Prewitt, Toto Lassally and Cor Euser were shooting for their second-straight international 24-hour race win of the year after taking a diesel-class victory in January's 24 Hours of Dubai, but an accident with the team's fourth team driver Raymond Coronel at the wheel Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. eventually ended their race and the bid for consecutive victories.
Coronel was uninjured, but the heavily damaged BMW was left stranded about five kilometers into the legendary "Nordschleife" for nearly four hours as the crew repaired the car on course. The BMW was eventually able to make it back to the team's garage where another two hours were spent on repairs before Euser returned to the track at 2:20 a.m. Several exploratory laps around the Nurburgring's Grand Prix "loop" circuit soon revealed, however, that the car's engine had sustained too much residual damage to the turbocharger intercooler and other key components to continue.
"I didn't even get a full lap around the Nordschleife today," Euser said. "I did do about six or seven laps on the Grand Prix circuit to check out the car and we found out that there was a lot wrong with the engine electronics, the turbo and that the intercooler was broken. It wouldn't have been good for the engine to continue. It's a pity really because it was running smooth until Raymond hit the guard rail, but that's racing."
The retirement marked the first time an entry from Euser's championship-winning Marcos Racing International team failed to finish a 24 Hour Nurburgring race. The disappointment was doubled as the first-rate crew and BMW 320d race car Euser organized for this year's race were considered the best Prewitt and Lasally have ever had for any endurance race.
"It was a real treat to drive this car," Prewitt said. "It's probably one of the best cars I have ever driven, and I have been in a bunch. It was really a pleasure. I am really disappointed we couldn't go out and run some more even though we didn't really have the possibility of getting back in any kind of contention. We still wanted to get it running to at least go out and do some laps and really enjoy it and try to salvage what we could. So I am looking forward to doing it again, and doing it even better. You never give up."
The No. 179 team led twice in the opening hours of the race, including the final two-and-a-half hours prior to the accident. Coronel and Prewitt each took the lead during their opening stints and Lassally stayed in front for every lap of what would be his only driving shift of the race. It was the third consecutive stint in a 24-hour in which Lassally led every lap, including his final two turns at the wheel in the Dubai, where he drove the winning car across the finish line.
"This is the best car I have ever driven, the crew is the best crew we have ever had and this was the best chance we ever had to win this race," said an obviously irritated Lassally. "I said yesterday the way to win was to not take any chances."
Coronel qualified the No. 179 second on the DT1 grid and lined up on the outside front row of the third and final starting group. He was the only driver on the team to take more than one shift and the Drink Florida Orange Juice!/SPEEDCOM/Marcos entry completed just 30 laps.
"The car was terrific and we had a good position," Coronel said. "I was at the first fast straight in the Nordschleife and there was a slower car I wanted to overtake. He gave a signal that he was going to the left, so I went to the right and then he came to the right. I went to the left and suddenly he came back to the left, and I don't know why. My left wheel went on the grass, the car slipped, I hit the guard rail and that was the end. It's a very great disappointment for everybody."
- Prewitt is an orange grower from Florida whose company has produced as much as 1.5 million cartons of orange juice annually in recent years. He uses the "Drink Florida Orange Juice!" campaign to promote the positive effects and health benefits of citrus. From disease prevention, to building immunity and supplying a daily dose of nutrients, 100% Florida orange juice, grapefruit juice and fresh citrus are important keys to overall well being.
- Euser returned to the Nurburgring around 8 p.m. Saturday night after running a Dutch Supercar Challenge race on the Assen circuit in Holland earlier in the day. Euser qualified on the pole, set the fastest race lap and was leading the Assen race in one of his own Ford-powered Marcos MarcorRelly sports cars before clutch failure forced him to retire. Euser is battling for the Dutch Supercar championship and traveled overnight Thursday to Assen to compete there Friday and Saturday. The untimely retirement of the No. 179 BMW at the Nurburgring will also give Euser the chance to compete in Sunday's second Dutch Supercar race at Assen, a race he was originally going to miss.