1am at the Nurburgring means nine hours gone in the 40th edition of the Nurburgring 24 Hours with 59 laps in the book and the no.2 Audi Sport Team Phoenix R8 LMS (Marcel Fassler, Christopher Mies, Rene Rast, Frank Stippler) leading.
The Audi team had taken the lead a lap earlier when the BMW Team Schubert no.19 made a scheduled pitstop, giving up a 21 second lead as the final stage in a sequence of laps where the Audi was cutting into its lead.
The no.65 Hankook Heico Mercedes SLS has fallen away from the lead, last leading just after the end of the sixth hour and now running in fourth behind the ROWE Racing no.22 (Klaus Graf, Thomas Jager, Alexander Roloff, Jan Seyffahrt) and the no.19 BMW. The ROWE quartet have quietly established themselves as top Merdedes, though they lie more than two minutes away from the lead in second place.
16 cars lie on the lead lap in the darkness, the no.28 Porsche the first car a full tour behind with the Lexus LFA leading SP8 in 19th overall and the no.150 Kremer Porsche leading SP7 just inside the top 20 three laps behind.
The Kremer team hold a full lap's advantage over a fleet of chasing Porsches for the class lead, the LFA enjoys a full four lap gap to the Aston Martin Zagato in second in class, though the Gazoo Racing car ended the ninth hour in the pits with the delay starting to eat into their advantage in class and threaten their top 20 place.
Elsewhere the class lead in SP4T has moved from one Raeder Motorsport Audi TT R2 to another with no.111 – recovering from a lost wheel earlier in the race – now leading after problems for the no.110 entry.
Also starting to recover are both Young Driver AMR GT3 cars – both repaired and back out on track and starting to climb back up the order.
2012 Nurburgring 24 Hours Selected Class Leaders After Nine Hours
SP9 GT3 – No.2 Audi Sport Team Phoenix Audi R8 LMS – Fassler/Mies/Rast/Stippler
SP8 – No.83 Gazoo Racing Lexus LFA – Kinoshita/Iida/Wakisaka
SP7 – No.150 Kremer Racing Porsche 911 GT3 KR – Kaufmann/Heger/Schornstien/Kuke
SP3T – No.133 Subaru Tecnica International Subaru GVB – Yoshida/Sasaki/Engels/van Dam
SP10 GT4 – No.61 Team Mathol Racing Aston Martin Vantage – Weber/Bermes/Belka/Verdonck
SP4T – No.111 Raeder Motorsport Audi TT RS – Deegner/Wohifarth/Breuer/Landmann
SP8T – No.123 Team GT Academy Nissan GT-R – Yamauchi/Ordonez/Schulz/Yamamoto