Rast secures the best result by finishing sixth
In the Nürburgring 24h Race, the DTM drivers had to cope with several disappointments. Accidents and retirements were the order of the day and the night. The drivers struggled with changeable weather conditions and with 3.5 more hours to go, the race even had to be temporary red-flagged due to dense fog and was restarted only about two hours later. The 46th edition of the prestigious event was won by the Porsche team around Ex-DTM driver and Team Principal Olaf Manthey, represented by the driver line-up Richard Lietz, Patrick Pilet, Frederic Makowiecki and Nick Tandy.
For the reigning champions, Audi, the sixth place secured by DTM Champion René Rast together with Kelvin van der Linde, Sheldon van der Linde and Christopher Mies represented the best result. A clearly better result would have been possible for the Team Land Audi but then, last year’s winner Kelvin van der Linde touched the crash barriers in the Hohe Acht area on intermediates and repairing the damage cost the team three laps. The Audi Sport Team Phoenix car, raced by DTM driver Nico Müller as well as Christopher Haase, Frank Stippler and Frédéric Vervisch, followed right behind. Meanwhile, Audi Sport Team BWT, represented by the DTM pairing Nico Müller and Mike Rockenfeller plus Christopher Haase and Markus Winkelhock came 12th, in their first Nürburgring 24h Race appearance.
13th position behind the Audi – the best result in the overall rankings for the BMW camp – was clinched by a BMW M6 GT3 with DTM driver Augusto Farfus as well as Markus Palttala, Christian Krognes and Fabian Schiller at the wheel. The car lost a lot of time due to a slight collision in the early stages of the race. “The new constellation represented by team, vehicle, tyres and drivers represented a major challenge,” explained the Brazilian. “In consideration of this situation we did a good job. We are the best BMW team and brought the car home in one piece.”
At the same time, DTM rookie Robin Frijns as well as the Mercedes-AMG works drivers Daniel Juncadella and Edoardo Mortara had to cope with early retirements. The 2015 winners, Audi Sport Team WRT, who were represented by Frijns and two-vehicle competitor Rast as well as Dries Vanthoor and Kelvin van der Linde were forced into retirement by an accident. During an overtaking manoeuvre, Vanthor touched a slower car and crashed heavily into the guardrails. The early end of the race for the squad after just 05:30 hours. With their HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3, the two DTM drivers Juncadella and Mortara as well as Dominik Baumann and Renger van der Zande started into the race from seventh position on the grid. In the night the team already had worked its way up to third but then, their race also was made an early and sudden end to by an accident.