The three hours to the midway point in the 2012 Nurburgring 24 Hours almost certainly claimed the challenge for victory of one of the front runners.
After leading regularly for most of the race the no.19 BMW Team Schubert BMW Z4 was pushed back into the garage with a drive shaft problem, the driver pulling out of the lead at the end of the Grand Prix circuit.
The team lost more than an hour in the pits, falling six laps off the lead and out of the top 20 overall as the no.2 Audi Sport Team Phoenix car took up the reigns at the front of the field with a near 90 second lead over the no.22 ROWE Racing Mercedes SLS – a gap that remained relatively steady for the six laps between the BMW's stop and the end of the twelfth hour.
Over the course of hour 11 rain fell on the Nordschleife between Flugplatz and Aremberg causing several drivers a few problems. The no.11 Team Manthey Porsche picked up minor front end damage in an accident, the Wochenspiegel sponsored car receiving tape to the front bumper in a pitstop at the end of the lap that did little change the order.
Unfortunately, it appears the no.44 Falken Tires Porsche that had been a top-20 fixture may have been a victim of the rain as it dropped down the order. Also – but later in the twelfth hour – the no.17 Team Vita4One BMW Z4 appears to have hit trouble as it too has dropped down the order, as has the Team WRT Audi R8 after suspension damage forced a number of stops to try and repair the problem.
The problems allowed some new names into the top twenty. Kremer Racing still lead SP7, now up to fifteenth overall, but their nearest challengers – the no.47 Timbuli Racing Porsche now 20th overall a lap shy of the class lead.
The sister Timbuli car – a GT3 Porsche has climbed to eighteenths, a lap behind the surviving Black Falcon SLS and the P 4/5 Competizione, the Ferrari powered machine the fastest non German engined car in the standings.
Elsewhere in the top classes little has changes, the Gazoo Racing team having cured whatever problem had been effecting the Lexus LFA before it lost the class lead.
2012 Nurburgring 24 Hours Selected Class Leaders After 12 Hours
SP9 GT3 – No.2 Audi Sport Team Phoenix – Fassler/Mies/Rast/Stippler
SP7 – No.150 Kremer Racing Porsche 911 GT3 KR – Kaufmann/Heger/Schornstein/Kuku
SP8 – No.83 Gazoo Racing Lexus LFA – Kinoshita/Iida/Wakisaka
SP3T – No.133 Subaru Tecnica International Subaru GVB – Yoshide/Sesaki/Belka/van Dam
SP10 GT4 – No.61 Team Mathol Racing Aston Martin Vantage – Weber/Bermes/Belka/Verdonck
SP4T – No.111 Raeder Motorsport Audi TT RS – Deegener/Wohlfarth/Breuer/Landmann
SP8T – No.123 Team GT Academy Nissan GTR – Yamauchi/Ordonez/Schulze/Yamamoto