Audi R8 LMS fill the first four slots of the for the Nurburgring 24 Hours after the manufacturer dominated the second qualifying session for the event – its first pole position coming in the race's 38th running.
It was the Abt Sportsline and Phoenix Racing teams who moved to the front of the field, with times nearly a minute faster than those posted in the opening session, conducted on Thursday night in wet conditions. Even in Friday's shorter two-hour session the quartet only truly went out on flying laps in the closing minutes.
Marco Werner broke the lap record for the 25km Nordschleife layout by almost two seconds to put his no.100 Abt car on pole position for the race with a time of 8:24.753. However, Werner was quick to downplay the significance of the achievement; “We are satisfied to be on pole position, even though it isn't really a very important step for a 24-hour race [but] it's always 'nice to have'.”
“My lap was good, I only came across traffic on two or three occasions. That is the key to success for the last few seconds, which is what it was about in the end and led to pole position. We could show that Audi and ABT have produced a good package with the R8 LMS. Thanks also to Michelin, to whom we only switched to last week. Everything worked well.”
Werner will share the car with DTM trio Oliver Jarvis, Mattias Ekstrom and Timo Scheider.
Werner leapfrogged the markers put down by Phoenix's Mike Rockenfeller and Lucas Luhr in the sister Abt entry, demoting them into second and third respectively, Luhr only three seconds adrift.
The annexing of the front two rows was completed by Pierre Kaffer's lap of 8:29.250 in the second Phoenix R8 LMS.
“That four of our customer cars occupy the first four grid positions underlines the qualities of the Audi R8 LMS on the world's longest and most demanding race track,” said Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Motorsport. “And is fantastic advertising for our new customer car, which we have developed over the last two-and-a-half years,”
The third Phoenix Racing car will start from 12th and the pair of Black Falcon entries 17th and 22nd. The Hankook Team Farnbacher Ferrari, which held provisional pole after the first qualifying session plunged to 46th fastest after failing to complete a lap on Friday.