HTP Mercedes Holds on to Qualifying Race Pole


HTP Motorsport's overnight time held strong for pole position (Credit: ADAC Zurich Nurburgring 24 Hours)

Though there was a final hour of qualifying for the six hour qualifying race for the ADAC Nurburgring 24 Hours there were relatively few improvements amongst the top teams, leaving the top two places on the grid unchanged from last night’s opening qualifying session.

Thus HTP Motorsport’s team of Maximilian Gotz, Harold Primat, Kenneth Heyer and Roland Rehfeld will start on pole position courtesy of their 8:20.835 lap from last night’s opening session. The #502 Audi Race Experience keep their second place from the results of the same session with an 8:25.503 lap around the 26km track.

Prosperia-Abt Racing’s #10 team – Christopher Mies, Christer Jöns and Dominik Schwager sharing the R8 LMS ultra would have been starting third if not for speeding in pitlane, the punishment – deletion of their best time from both session pushing them down to fifth.

The confirmation of that penalty was part of a frantic final few minutes of the session until when it seemed as though the top four spots from the session would remain unchanged. Up to that point all the fighting had been over the final spot in the top five with overnight holder Schulze Motorsport, the #18 Audi Race Experience and both BMW Sports Trophy Team Schubert entries battling for possession of the spot.

Oddly the two BMW’s held exactly the same best time (8:31.192) for much of the session, and though initially it held them either side of the top five divide the rapid improvements around them in the final ten minutes left them straddling the top ten with the same times at the end of the session.

The session was propelled into life by the movement of the Haribo Racing Team Porsche up into fourth – deposing the Black Falcon Mercedes from the place it held overnight. However, the Porsche team were then bettered by both the #9 ProsperiaAbt Racing Audi team and the G-Drive Racing team of Roman Rusinov, Stephane Ortelli, Edward Sandstrom and Nico Mueller.

Having had their first qualifying session interrupted by a stay in the pits for repairs following a brush with the wall early in the session it was they who took fourth place ahead of the Black Falcon team, able to reclaim fourth ahead of the Haribo Porsche and the penalised #10 Audi at the death while the #9 Hankook liveried was penalised for the same infringement as their teammates and pushed down to ninth fastest.

Behind the Porsche was the Schulze Nissan NISMO GT-R GT3. Having been shuffled back down the order they were able to retake their overnight place in fifth with a time of 8:29.603. However, seconds later the blue and white machine had slowed to a crawl, eventually stopping on its way back to the pits around the GP track.

The #18 Audi team were eighth fastest, with the #9 Abt team ahead of the quartet of BMW Z4 GT3, the Team Schubert examples heading the Marc VDS entries to close out a top 13 comprised of GT3 cars with GetSpeed Performance relying on their Saturday night to lead the SP7 Class.

In terms of British interest further down the grid Rob Huff and the Rotek Racing ream in the SP4T class Audi TT RS will start 21st, the squad – completed by American Kevin Gleason and Brit Richard Meins handed a five a five place grid penalty after being deemed to have ignored flag signals. The penalty drops them from the midst of the all-Porsche SP7 class to tail of the category.

The team’s SP8 Audi RS4 will start from 32nd while the Mazda Motorsports Team Jota team, featuring car magazine road tester and former Britcar and British GT racer Owen Mildenhall will start from 47th in their MX-5 having improved their time by 11 seconds from the first session.

The six hour race that brings the weekend’s action on the Nordschleife to a close is scheduled to start at noon local time (11am UK).