With just six hours of the race remaining, the battle for victory at the Nürburgring 24 Hours (DE) is heating up nicely. Maxime Martin (BE), Lucas Luhr (DE), Richard Westbrook (GB) and Markus Palttala (FI) in the number 25 BMW Z4 GT3 are embroiled in a thrilling duel at the head of the field. The BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS drivers moved into the lead for the first time on lap 70. Since then, they have alternated at the front with the number 28 Audi, due to different pit stop strategies. The BMW quartet is currently running second.
The second BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS car, the number 26 with Dirk Adorf (DE), Augusto Farfus (BR), Nick Catsburg (NL) and Jörg Müller (DE) at the wheel, is also well placed in fourth as the endurance classic heads towards a thrilling climax.
The third BMW Z4 GT3 in the top ten is the number 17 Walkenhorst Motorsport car. Felipe Laser (DE), Michela Cerruti (IT), John Edwards (US) and Daniel Keilwitz (DE) are currently running seventh. The two BMW Sports Trophy Team Schubert cars were forced to retire after two crashes at the start of the race and during the night.
Michele Di Martino (DE), Moritz Oberheim (DE), Kevin Warum (DE) and Torsten Kratz (DE) of the Securtal Sorg Rennsport team lead the BMW M235i Racing Cup class in the number 301 BMW M235i Racing and are a very respectable 26th in the overall standings. The media cark, with Bernd Ostmann (DE), Christian Gebhardt (DE), BMW Motorsport Junior Victor Bouveng (SE) and Harald Grohs (DE) sharing the driving duties, enters the final phase of the race leading the SP 8T class.
Reactions and positions – after 18 hours.
Maxime Martin (BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS, car number 25, 2nd):
“My last two stints this morning were very difficult, because we had a lot of yellow flags. The situation was not always clear at certain spots. I really had to be careful to avoid picking up a penalty, but still to stay on the pace. We are in a very tight battle at the front. We will have to wait and see how it pans out. Whatever happens, we will do our very best.”
Jörg Müller (BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS, car number 26, 4th):
“Unfortunately we lost time in the night because of a problem during a pit stop. That is why we are not right up there with the leaders. However, the pace of the car is good and we will definitely give it our all right down to the final minute. You never know, the teams in front of us might run into problems.”
Daniel Keilwitz (Walkenhorst Motorsport powered by Dunlop, car number 17, 7th):
“I had a lot of yellow phases at the start of my stint, but was able to put my foot down again on the last couple of laps and closed the gap to the Mercedes in front of me. I am impressed how seamlessly the BMW Z4 GT3 is running. This is my first race in this car, and I had to adapt to it a bit at first – particularly the high cornering speeds. However, I am loving it now.”
Harald Grohs (BMW Motorsport, car number 235, 1st SP 8T):
“The car is still running perfectly and does not have a single scratch on it. Although I spent a lot of time in the car during the night, I am not suffering in the slightest physically. We are working superbly as a team and are all doing a very good job. The fact that there have been so many crashes means you really have to be on the ball out there. Our goal was to get through the race without any incidents or penalties – and we are on course to achieve that.”
BMW Sports Trophy Team Schubert
No 19 BMW Z4 GT3, Dirk Werner (DE), Marco Wittmann (DE), Dirk Müller (DE), Alexander Sims (GB) – Retired
No 20 BMW Z4 GT3, Claudia Hürtgen (DE), Dominik Baumann (AT), Jens Klingmann (DE), Martin Tomczyk (DE) – Retired
BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS
No 25 BMW Z4 GT3, Maxime Martin (BE), Lucas Luhr (DE), Richard Westbrook (GB), Markus Palttala (FI) – 2nd
No 26 BMW Z4 GT3, Dirk Adorf (DE), Augusto Farfus (BR), Nick Catsburg (NL), Jörg Müller (DE) – 4th
Walkenhorst Motorsport powered by Dunlop
No 17 BMW Z4 GT3, Felipe Laser (DE), Michela Cerruti (IT), John Edwards (US), Daniel Keilwitz (DE) – 7th
No 18 BMW Z4 GT3, Henry Walkenhorst (DE), Ralf Oeverhaus (DE), Christian Bollrath (DE), Stefan Aust (DE) – 18th
BMW M235i Racing media car
No 235 BMW M235i Racing, Bernd Ostmann (DE), Christian Gebhardt (DE), Victor Bouveng (SE), Harald Grohs (DE) – 1st (SP 8T)