Nurburgring 24h: Mercedes dominates early exchanges

After four hours, Mercedes dominated the starting phase of the 48th running of the Nurburgring 24 Hours.

The #9 GetSpeed Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Fabian Schiller, Maximilian Gotz, Maximilian Buhk and Raffaele Marciello) led from the Haupt Mercedes #4 of Adam Christodoulou, Maro Engel, Luca Stolz and Manuel Metzger which started from pole position. Third place is held by last year’s winners in the Phoenix Audi R8 LMS (Nico Muller, Dries Vanthoor, Fred Vervisch and Frank Stippler).

Following a wet start to the race, Marciello dominated the first two hours of the race. At times the Italian drove 10 seconds faster per lap than his rivals and was thus able to gain a lead of almost one minute over Engel. After the driver changes, Metzger in the #4 was able to reduce the gap again significantly.

At the third pitstop, the Haupt Mercedes #4 took the lead because Schiller had driven a stint of nine laps and therefore had a longer minimum stationary time.

The tragic hero of the starting phase was the Konrad Lamborghini #21. Following a strong first stint Marco Mapelli drove the car from position 23 on the grid to third. But after two and a half hours, Franck Perrera had to park the Huracan at Bergwerk with a technical defect.

Behind the Phoenix Audi #1 the two other factory-supported R8 LMS from Land #29 (Drudi/Mies/Rast/K. van der Linde) and Car Collection #3 (Bortolotti/Haase/Winkelhock) also came towards the front of the field as the track dried up.

Porsche’s challenge is spearheaded by the #19 from KCMG (Olsen/Liberati/Burdon/Imperatori) in sixth place. Best placed BMW is #99 by ROWE Racing (Sims/Catsburg/Yelloly/Eng) in ninth.

The Octane126 Ferrari #26 (Grossmann/Trummer/Hirschi/Ludwig), which started from second place, suffered in the wet conditions. Jonathan Hirschi initially took the lead after the start, but tumbled down the order around the Nordschleife on the first lap because its Goodyear rain tyres did not work. The Ferrari occupies 24th place, with the Glickenhaus-SCG #704 (Mutsch/Mailleux/Laser/Westbrook) three positions further ahead.

Apart from the Konrad-Lamborghini, retirements so far include the Walkenhorst-BMW #100 (Walkenhorst/Ziegler/F. von Bohlen/M. von Bohlen) after an accident in the Brunnchen and the GetSpeed Mercedes #8 (Perrodo/Collard/Vaxiviere/Jons) after a gearbox defect.

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