32nd ADAC Nürburgring 24 Hours – Race Report 2
Tale Of Two BMs

Does it take a BMW to prevent a BMW from winning this race? We nearly found out as #43, on cold tyres, spun in front of #42, and the two cars came to a halt nose to nose, but emerged from BMW's Worst Possible Nightmare scenario without a scratch. The same cannot be said for Opel. Both Astra OPC coupés limped back to the pits with accident damage. Swiss Nürburgring rookie Marcel Fässler in #5 was luckier than Manuel Reuter in #1, the former allowing himself a minor slip-up at the Schwalbenschwanz "little Karussell" after which the car only required some new bodywork and a precautionary change of brake pads, while the latter returned a severely crippled racecar into the care of the mechanics.

In pouring rain (yes it was still raining) Reuter lost control over his car on the Döttinger Höhe straight, and spun into the barrier at high speed. Suspension damage in the front and back, aerodynamic components broken or missing, bodywork in shreds, it was a major restoration job for the Phoenix pit crew. An hour later, five laps back on the leading BMWs, and in 47th place, the car rejoined the race at 21:30.

We certainly will not see an all-BMW podium, as Mario Merten had a collision with two other cars at Fuchsröhre. The #10 Scheid BMW was towed back to the pits but the fastest Bavarian privateer machine had to be retired.

Shane Lewis: "I have done nineteen 24 hour races, and this is unlike anything I have ever done. I had only had one lap in the dark last night (in practice), so I went out there and I thought I was being conservative. - we were in 60th place or so when I got in, and when I got out we were in 23rd - it was hugs all round! The fastest guys are unbelievably aggressive in traffic. Our car (the #4 Porsche) is running fine, our engine trouble in practice was just a water hose that came off. But our radio isn't working which in a place like this is not an advantage."

Soon the two works BMWs met again, this time on the timing screens, when #43 moved past the #64 Manthey Porsche (Luhr / Bernhard / Klasen /Manthey) and up into second place. The works-supported Abt Audis regrouped in fourth (#7) and fifth (#8) place. Behind them, the V8STAR "Jaguars" of Zakspeed and Raeder travelled in a British-American convoy. The #99 Zakspeed car of Crevels / Bert / Heger made up terrain by leaps and bounds and established itself as the leading silhouette car, while the #86 Raeder team (Tilke / Adorf / Galladé) had the other Manthey Porsche to contend with.

The Honda NSX continued to be the success story of the race as it made up place after place. As the last sunlight faded around 10 p.m., the Honda was homing in on the 11th placed Nissan Skyline, for an All-Japan Nürburgring Championship match. Another success story took a turn for the worse, the #38 Land Porsche found the barrier at Brünnchen and ended up immobilised on the inside of the turn, beached on the kerb.
Since no help in the shape of an intervention car was forthcoming, eight good Samaritans climbed over the guardrail and provided the car with the momentum it needed to get moving again. The other vehicles in the area managed to avoid not only the 996 as it reversed back onto the track, but also the helpful fans as they crossed the road and disappeared where they had come from.

And so the pace picked up at the head of the field. BMW #42 broke into the 8:50s, then the 8:40s, then the 8:30s; and the others, led by the Manthey Porsche, responded, and continuously took split-second by split-second out of the works.car's lead. This car still continues to be the fly in the ointment for BMW Motorsport. When the 996 Special moved back into second place shortly after 10 o'clock, #42 got a move on and right away turned laps that were a minute faster than in "cruise" mode. At the same time, #43 made up no less than a minute in the pits.

Late update #1: the NSX is in trouble, making its way back to the pits at slow pace, it has lost eight laps and has dropped out of the top 120, presumed retired. A disappointing end to a valiant effort. Well done Honda.

Late update #2: at five minutes to eleven, Dumbreck has thrown Opel #5 away again. The Opels are now in 80th and 81st place.
Late update #3: the weather forecast for tomorrow mentions "a spot of rain".
Johannes Gauglica

Top 20 At 23.30
1 42 BMW M3 GTR Dirk MÜLLER / Jörg MÜLLER / Hans-Joachim STUCK / Pedro
LAMY 46 7:53:54.365
2 46 PORSCHE 911 GT3 MR Lucas LUHR / Arno KLASEN / Timo BERNHARD / Olaf
MANTHEY 46 8:00:06.648
3 43 BMW M3 GTR Pedro LAMY / Boris SAID / Duncan HUISMAN / Hans-Joachim
STUCK 46 8:01:46.685
4 7 AUDI Abt-Audi TT R Christian ABT / Mattias EKSTRÖM / Fredrik EKBLOM /
Patrick HUISMAN 45 7:55:42.472
5 8 AUDI Abt-Audi TT R Patrick HUISMAN / Frank STIPPLER / Karl WENDLINGER
/ Christian ABT 45 8:02:55.061
6 99 V8-STAR Jaguar Sascha BERT / Donny CREVELS Altfrid / HEGER 44
7:59:06.145
7 86 V8-STAR Jaguar Hermann TILKE / Ulrich GALLADÉ / Dirk ADORF 44
8:02:29.542
8 45 PORSCHE GT3 MR Wilhelm D KERN / Bert LAMBRECHT / Andreas BOVENSIEPEN
/ Georg BERLANDY 43 7:53:35.009
9 44 NISSAN Skyline GT R Roland ASCH / Dirk SCHOYSMAN / Takayuki
KINOSHITA / Tetsuya TANAKA 43 7:56:12.025
10 38 PORSCHE GT3 RS Marc BASSENG / Franz KONRAD / SIMON Patrick / Marino
FRANCHITTI 42 7:54:29.577
11 34 PORSCHE 996 GT3 Cup Jörg OTTO / Georg WEISS / Artur ERKES / Thomas
ZINNOW 42 7:56:14.134
12 2 PORSCHE 996 Turbo Jürgen ALZEN / Uwe ALZEN / Michael BARTELS / Klaus
LUDWIG 42 7:56:40.053
13 79 PORSCHE GT3 Karl-Christian LÜCK / Hubert HAUPT / Klaus RADER /
Marcel WINTERSOHL 42 7:57:29.783
14 40 PORSCHE 996 GT3 Stefan BEIL / Norbert FISCHER / Patrick SPADACINI /
Paul HULVERSCHEID 42 8:00:21.452
15 11 HONDA NSX R Horst v. SAURMA-JELTSCH / Peter-Paul PIETSCH / Jochen
ÜBLER / Uwe NITTEL 42 8:03:04.555
16 31 PORSCHE 911 GT3 RSR Marc GINDORF / Peter SCHARMACH / Dennis ROSTEK
/ Oliver MATHAI 41 7:41:04.050
17 32 PORSCHE 996 GT3 RS Matthias WEILAND / BUGS BUNNY / Oliver MAYER 41
7:54:44.909
18 49 PORSCHE 996 RS Lennart PEHRSON / Ulf KARLSSON / Koit VEERTEE /
Örnulf WIRDHEIM 41 7:55:42.899
19 52 BMW M3 GTR Willie MOORE / David COX / Gareth LLOYD 41 7:56:21.640
20 106 VOLVO S60 Ulrich ANDREE / Heinz-Josef BERMES / Andreas MIDDENDORF
/ Jörg SEIDEL 41 7:57:21.365

 

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