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Following three class and three overall victories since 2009, #audi had been planning for another good showing in the Nürburgring 24 Hours this year. However, with two race cars supported by #audi Sport customer #racing in the top ten, the 44th running of the #event proved disappointing. As the best #audi teams, Belgian #audi Club Team WRT achieved eighth place and Twin Busch Motorsport position ten.
“The large crowd of fans has gotten used to #audi being in contention for the top spot with many other sports car brands in this legendary race year after year,” said Chris Reinke, Head of #audi Sport customer #racing. “We’d have liked being in this position again, but that wasn’t possible this year, not least due to the balance of performance rating, among other things.” Even our top drivers had to take high risks in order to keep pace with the front runners.
Of the six teams relying on the #audi #r8lms Belgian #audi Club Team WRT was the best to cross the finish line. Robin Frijns/Stuart Leonard/Edward Sandström/Frédéric Vervisch (NL/GB/S/B) achieved eighth place in an accident-prone race. They finished the 24 hours nearly unharmed. Only when Sandström touched the guard rail once in rain, the squad had to change a suspension component. Twin Busch Motorsport was the second-best #audi team in the Eifel. Twin brothers Dennis and Marc Busch (D), together with Christian Mamerow (D) and René Rast (D), took tenth place following an impeccable drive.
The setbacks suffered by the other #audi squads showed how treacherous the conditions were. Following the interruption of the race in the early stage due to heavy rain and hail, Alex Yoong (MAL), with the #audi race experience, had an accident at night in slightly foggy conditions. In the early morning hours, misfortune struck last year’s winner Nico Müller (CH) from #audi Sport Team WRT. He had to evade a rival standing in the opposite direction of traffic and touched the guard rail. The subsequent repair took three hours. Only three laps later, there was a misunderstanding when two-time winner Markus Winkelhock (D) from #audi Sport Team Phoenix hit the #audi of Connor De Phillippi (USA) from Team Montaplast by Land-Motorsport. Both cars could not be repaired anymore. An incident of contact between a rival and experienced campaigner Frank Stippler (D) in the number “5” #audi deprived Phoenix #racing of a top-6 result shortly before the end of the race.
Two all-privateer driver teams were happy about their positions in the top 20. Christian Bollrath/Maximilian Hackländer/Ralf Oeverhaus/Micke Ohlsson (D/D/D/S) achieved 14th place with the #audi race experience. Team Car Collection Motorsport was on the Nürburgring grid with #audi for the first time and, with Ronnie Saurenmann/Peter Schmidt/Andreas Ziegler (D/D/D), advanced to position 18.
– End –
1 Christodoulou/Engel/Metzger/Schneider (Mercedes), 134 laps
2 Hohenadel/Seefried/Vietoris/van der Zande (Mercedes) +5.697s
3 Alzen/Arnold/Götz/Seyffarth (Mercedes) –1 lap
4 Buurman/Engel/Haupt/Müller (Mercedes) –1 lap
5 Eng/Martin/Sims/Werner (BMW) –1 lap
6 Asch/Heyer/Keilwitz/Ludwig (Mercedes) –3 laps
7 Brück/Hamprecht/Menzel/Smith (Bentley) –3 laps
8 Frijns/Leonard/Sandström/Vervisch (Audi R8 LMS) –4 laps
9 Dumbreck/Henzler/Imperatori/Ragginger (Porsche) –4 laps
10 Busch/Busch/Mamerow/Rast (Audi R8 LMS) –4 laps
14 Bollrath/Hackländer/Oeverhaus/Ohlsson (Audi R8 LMS) –9 laps
18 Saurenmann/Schmidt/Ziegler (Audi R8 LMS) –11 laps
46 Kaffer/Mies/Müller/Vanthoor (Audi R8 LMS) –25 laps
Audi well prepared for Nürburgring 24 Hours
The teams of #audi Sport customer #racing are entering the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring thoroughly prepared. In the final Top-30 qualifying, the two best #audi #r8lms cars clinched grid positions in the top ten while all six teams completed their programs for preparation.
The Eifel showed its whimsical side on Friday. A thunderstorm in the afternoon gave the teams a foretaste of a weekend with a changeable weather forecast. The track that was still partially wet in the final qualifying session made for tricky conditions. The best driver from #audi Sport customer #racing was Frank Stippler. In his home round, the 41-year-old pro from Bad Münstereifel achieved the fifth-best time in the #audi #r8lms for Phoenix #racing. The Dutchman Robin Frijns clinched grid position ten for Belgian #audi Club Team WRT, trailed by René Rast (Audi Sport Team Phoenix) in position 16, Pierre Kaffer (Audi Sport Team WRT) in 22nd place following a puncture, and Marc Basseng (montaplast by Land-Motorsport) in position 25. Christian Mamerow (Twin Busch Motorsport), after an accident, only took 30th place.
The two qualifying days were centered on preparation for the 24-hour race distance. “The six teams from #audi Sport customer #racing thoroughly geared up for the challenges,” says Chris Reinke, Head of #audi Sport customer #racing. “From the set-up and choice of the right tire compound through to deploying all the drivers, they went through varied programs.”
Three teams had previously secured their grid positions in the second qualifying session. The #audi race experience is entering the race with both #r8lms cars from rows 18 and 19. Christian Bollrath/Maximilian Hackländer/Ralf Oeverhaus/Micke Ohlsson (D/D/D/S) qualified for position 36 ahead of their teammates Franky Cheng/Marchy Lee/Shaun Thong/Alex Yoong (CN/HK/HK/MAL). Starting from position 46 will be Ronnie Saurenmann/Peter Schmidt/Andreas Ziegler (CH/D/D) in the #audi #r8lms of Car Collection Motorsport.
The starting flag will fall on Saturday, May 28, at 15:30. RTL Nitro will broadcast the race for nearly 26 hours, starting at 15:00 (CEST). At www.audi-motorsport.com, fans can even watch the race from four perspectives. In addition to the TV view, #audi is offering on-board footage of #audi Sport Team WRT (1 Pierre Kaffer/Christopher Mies/Nico Müller/Laurens Vanthoor (D/D/CH/B), #audi Sport Team Phoenix (6 Christopher Haase/René Rast/Frank Stippler/Markus Winkelhock (D/D/D/D) and montaplast by Land-Motorsport (28 Marc Basseng/Connor De Phillippi/Mike Rockenfeller/Timo Scheider (D/USA/D/D).
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1 Maro Engel (Mercedes 9) 8m 14.515s
2 Augusto Farfus (BMW 18) 8m 16.146s
3 Maximilian Götz (Mercedes 88) 8m 18.380s
4 Uwe Alzen (Mercedes 8) 8m 18.530s
5 Frank Stippler (Audi 5) 8m 19.138s
6 Christian Krognes (BMW 999) 8m 19.390s
7 Nicki Catsburg (BMW 22) 8m 19.862s
8 Nicki Thiim (Aston Martin 7) 8m 20.332s
9 Christian Hohenadel (Mercedes 29) 8m 20.514s
10 Robin Frijns (Audi 2) 8m 20.662s
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