Nurburgring 24h: Rowe BMW stays on top after second qualifying

BMW continued to hold a 1-2 on the leaderboard after a hectic second Nurburgring 24 Hours qualifying session on Thursday evening.

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Nicky Catsburg's best time in the #98 Rowe Racing BMW M4 GT3 that he shares with John Edwards, Sheldon van der Linde and Marco Wittmann, a 8m14.771s, still holds as the fastest of the week so far.

Behind them, second and third positions were also maintained, as the #101 Walkenhorst BMW (Krognes/Soucek/Trogen/J. Muller) is still in P2, and the #12 HRT Mercedes AMG-GT3 (Marciello/Ellis/Stolz) still holds third place.

"It's looking pretty good so far for BMW," said Rowe driver van der Linde. "But I don't think the cards will be laid on the table until tomorrow.

"The M4 feels good and is probably the best car I've ever driven. We have made further progress in the last two weeks. The atmosphere now at dusk is great. At Brunnchen you can smell the barbecues, see the fans - and it's just terrific."

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Behind the top three, there were some changes in the order in second qualifying. The #22 Car Collection Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II (Haase/N. Muller/Niederhauser/Rast) worked its way up to fourth place, followed by the #20 Schubert BMW (Krohn/Sims/Klingmann/Krutten).

The best of the Porsche 911 GT3 Rs was the #28 Dinamic entry (Engelhart/Cairoli/Ledogar/Preining) in sixth position, followed by the best non-German car, the #90 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage GT3 (Sorensen/Thiim/Pittard/Martin).

Second qualifying session again saw several involving top cars, especially in the early stages. The #44 Falken Porsche (Bachler/Picariello/Pilet/Ragginger) crashed into the rear of the #18 KCMG entry (Olsen/Tandy/Bamber) in the Wippermann/Eschbach area and damaged the front.

In addition, the #5 Phoenix Audi (V. Kolb/Stippler/Feller/K. van der Linde) and the #25 Huber Porsche (Thyssen/Rader/Menzel/Kern) both crashed early in practice.

The Huber machine's crash was preceded by contact with the #102 Walkenhorst BMW (J. Muller/M. von Bohlen/Tuck/Schmidt-Staade). Afterwards, the Porsche could no longer take part in the session.

There was more bad news for the #102 crew as well, as the Walkenhorst car committed a 'code 60' offence, which means they have to start the race from the end of their starting group.

The #44 Falken Porsche is also moved back five positions on the grid for disregarding flag signals.

Qualifying for the Nurburgring 24 Hours continues on Friday. At 2.10pm local time, the third qualifying session will start, at 5.50pm, the 'Top Qualifying' session will decide pole position.

Report by Tobias Ebner


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