31st ADAC Nurburgring 24 Hours – Third Sunday Report
14.00 – An Hour Left

The Zakspeed team will now definitely not be on the podium this year: with two hours to go, the organisers have imposed a time penalty of 45 minutes (the rough equivalent of five laps) upon the #1 Viper.

You will recall that the car was penalised earlier in the race, but made up that five lap penalty. That first penalty was for taking on more fuel than allowed, i.e. 120l instead of 90l. This new penalty is for continuing to do so throughout the race ("taking on up to 111.33l of fuel per tank stop", according to the official ADAC press release). This is not the place to comment on the sporting value of this decision; let's stick to the facts, and Peter Zakowski's statement on TV: in an attempt to get around the handicaps imposed upon the CHRYSLER Viper by the ADAC, the car was entered as a DODGE; valid vehicle documents with this name were apparently issued. A name change, not a re-homologation. Now, the ADAC argues that the car was not homologated as a "Dodge", and there is no FIA homologation for a "Dodge" Viper at all (it has always been a "Chrysler" in Europe). A dejected Peter Zakowski ("this is random justice") claims the organisers offered them a deal before the race - run the rest of the season with the 90l tank, and get away with a stop & go penalty in the 24 Hours IF they stick to the 90l fuel limit. "We did not agree to this as we are running a legal car." - Messy business. The car (whatever its name is) will apparently be called into the pits to sit out the 45mins. there.

Trouble in the BMW camp as well: the #43 GTR has sustained accident damage, and spent some time in the pits for emergency treatment.

And trouble for the #8 Audi: it has dropped down to third, and five laps back, after a gearbox change. They are trying hard to make up for lost time but it is getting late in the race...

Harald Grohs on his race so far: "Realistically, we could have made it up to 10th or 12th place by our own merit; that's what we were aiming for, the top 10. You need luck sometimes; we only had one puncture, drove reliably, others had trouble - we are happy with where we are now". The #27 Porsche is fourth overall.

In the lead at 2 p.m., and untouched by all this, is Opel #5 - Manuel Reuter, Marcel Tiemann, Timo Scheider, and Volker Strycek, five laps ahead of everyone else and 60 minutes away from history.

#43 BMW has crashed out at Quiddelbacher Höhe (just ahead of the Flugplatz) - immobile, heavy damage, out of the race.
Cy Bersdorf


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