32nd ADAC Nürburgring 24 Hours – Race Report 3
BMW 1- 2

First, the bad news: the #11 Sport auto Honda NSX is now officially a retirement. A broken rear differential sealed this car's fate, Armin Hahne was on board when the car coasted to a halt at Pflanzgarten, in tenth place and leading its class at the time. "Trying to change the diff. won't do because we would have to remove the engine and 'box to get to it", said team manager Georg Severich. "We will now concentrate on the NSX-R which is in 14th place at the moment, and also leading its class." Robin Liddell's summary of the weekend: "We knew the diff. and the gearbox were this car's weak points; all the drivers stayed well within the car's limits. It was good fun!"

Robin Liddell was not the only Scot to retire; Peter Dumbreck's Opel #5 was taken out of the race by the OPC Phoenix team. The rejuvenated #1, on the other hand, put on a brisk pace and climbed steadily up the leaderboard. "Make or break" is strategy now for Opel; they have nothing to lose. And they nearly broke it. Timo Scheider stepped over the line at Schwedenkreuz, another repair session was needed to keep the Astra running. Is there still a single component left on this car that started the race? Dirk Theimann is in charge of the OPC Phoenix on-site operation, his comment was, "We will continue no matter what; but I hope we don't run out of spare parts!" This has not been Opel's weekend.

Another retirement sprang to life again: the #66 Zakspeed Viper had been retired with engine damage due to an earlier oil pump failure; in the wee small hours of the morning, it took to the circuit again, 34 lapsdown on the leaders, #42 who were on a lap of their own.

The weather continued to play a role in the way the race developed. Again almost the whole field assembled on pit lane as it started raining heavily at Schwalbenschwanz. The #86 Raeder V8STAR was literally washed into the barriers, and out of the top 10. Repairs would take a long time. At 1 a.m., the persistant drizzle over large parts of the track caught out the #46 Porsche; the damaged rear bumper was quickly replaced, but the Porsche was out of immediate striking distance to the BMWs. Three minutes later, it was Audi #7's turn: crash at Döttinger Höhe, five laps worth of repair work. It all played nicely into BMW's hands. Audi decided not to use a traction control system on the TT-R; BMW has one, and is not afraid to use it; and it obviously works well. Whenever the conditions - we have talked about "the conditions" a lot so far but the weather really has been an important factor all race long - so whenever the conditions would allow, the M3s broke into the sub-9min. time bracket. It also helps to have four-wheel drive: the Nissan Skyline almost matched the lap times of the leaders in the rain.


Hans Stuck was the winner of the first 24 hour race on the 'Ring in 1970, he was part of Schnitzer's last winning team in 1998, now his name shows up in first and second place as he alternates between #42 and #43. Will he win AND take second place this year?


Dense fog is settling down over the Grand Prix track and the Döttinger Höhe.
Johannes Gauglica

Positions at 04.30
1 42 BMW M3 GTR Dirk MÜLLER / Jörg MÜLLER / Hans-Joachim STUCK / Pedro
LAMY 79 13:18:18.481
2 43 BMW M3 GTR Pedro LAMY / Boris SAID / Duncan HUISMAN / Hans-Joachim
STUCK 77 13:09:49.743
3 46 PORSCHE 911 GT3 MR Lucas LUHR / Arno KLASEN / Timo BERNHARD / Olaf
MANTHEY 76 13:15:21.991
/ Christian ABT 76 13:19:14.200
/ Georg BERLANDY 73 13:15:31.874
6 44 NISSAN Skyline GT R Roland ASCH / Dirk SCHOYSMAN / Takayuki
KINOSHITA / Tetsuya TANAKA 73 13:16:47.361
7 38 PORSCHE GT3 RS Marc BASSENG / Franz KONRAD / Patrick SIMON / Marino
FRANCHITTI 73 13:18:12.584
8 34 PORSCHE 996 GT3 Cup Jörg OTTO / Georg WEISS / Artur ERKES / Thomas
ZINNOW 71 13:08:03.826
9 2 PORSCHE 996 Turbo Jürgen ALZEN / Uwe ALZEN / Michael BARTELS / Klaus
LUDWIG 71 13:12:06.030
10 7 AUDI Abt-Audi TT R Christian ABT / Mattias EKSTRÖM / Fredrik EKBLOM
/ Patrick HUISMAN 70 13:08:02.751
11 79 PORSCHE GT3 Karl-Christian LÜCK / Hubert HAUPT / Klaus RADER /
Marcel WINTERSOHL 70 13:12:11.797
12 85 PORSCHE 996 GT3 Thomas JÄGER / Frank SCHMICKLER / Jonathan PRICE
70 13:16:24.009
13 11 HONDA NSX R Horst SAURMA-JELTSCH / Peter-Paul PIETSCH / Jochen
ÜBLER / Uwe NITTEL 70 13:17:41.607
14 99 V8-STAR Jaguar Sascha BERT / Donny CREVELS / Altfrid HEGER 69
15 49 PORSCHE 996 RS Lennart PEHRSON / Ulf KARLSSON / Koit VEERTEE /
Örnulf WIRDHEIM 69 13:08:47.038
16 22 BMW M3 Alfred WOLFSGRUBER / Joachim KIESCH / Michael TISCHNER /
Matthias TISCHNER 69 13:10:56.264
17 106 VOLVO S60 Ulrich ANDREE / Heinz-Josef BERMES / Andreas MIDDENDORF
/ Jörg SEIDEL 69 13:13:16.737
18 32 PORSCHE 996 GT3 RS Matthias WEILAND / BUGS BUNNY / Oliver MAYER 69
19 40 PORSCHE 996 GT3 Stefan BEIL / Norbert FISCHER / Patrick SPADACINI /
Paul HULVERSCHEID 69 13:17:16.307
20 134 HONDA S 2000 Stefan SCHLESACK / Klaus NIEDZWIEDZ / Harald
JACKSTIES / Andreas MÄDER 68 13:08:21.519.


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