Just the 2012 Nurburgring 24 Hours looked to be settling into a rhythm with lead the lead four cars pitting on the same lap – and so maintaining lock step – a morning rain shower shock up the lead order.
The first car on the leaderboard was the first car to hit the conditions and fall foul of the changing conditions, Christopher Mies in the no.2 Audi Sport Team Phoenix car coming into contact with something, damaging the front of the car forcing the team to pull the leader into the garage for repairs that would cost them three laps at the end of the 15th hour, with the car still in the garage.
The rain shower wetting the entire 25km track caused a scramble for the pits in the wake of the stricken Audi. ROWE Racing's no.22 Mercedes led the first batch of pit visitors – including the second Phoenix Audi, no.11 Team Manthey Porsche and no.65 Hankook Heico Mercedes – while the no.20 BMW Team opted to stay out for another and brave what ever the weather had left in the way.
Hindsight would prove that ROWE Racing made the right choice, the no.22 taking the lead with enough of an advantage for them to call the car into the pits twice in three laps without losing the lead to the no.3 Phoenix Audi. The Schubert Z4 slotted into third place with the no.10 Team Manthey Porsche in fourth. While ROWE and the team in the no.3 Audi can be counted as winners of the pitstop exchange the two Hankook Heico SLS were the losers as they both fell to the end of the nine car lead lap – Marc VDS the first team off the lead lap in the BMW Z4.
The P 4/5 continues to circulate, making enrodes into the top 20 to run fifteenth. Kremer Racing still lead SP7, Manthey Racing's no.14 in second a lap behind despite becoming the latest team to be given a one minute stop go penalty, still holding a minute lead over the Timbuli Racing Porsche, third in class.
The Lexus LFA still leads SP8 for Gazoo Racing, with their fellow Japanese leading the SP3T class for Subaru in 29th overall. Raeder Motorsport continue to lead in SP4T with the Audi TT RS but the lead in GT4 – or the SP10 class – has changed. Previous leaders Team Mathol Racing now run third with their Aston Martin behind two GT4 BMW M3s led by the Henry Walkenhorst lead no.71 team.
2012 Nurburgring 24 Hours Selected Class Leaders After 15 Hours
SP9 GT3 – No.22 ROWE Racing Mercedes SLS – Graf/Jager/Roloff/Seyffahrt
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.71 BMW M3 GT4 – Walkenhorst/Oeverhaus/Moetefindt/Moentmann
SP4T – No.111 Raeder Motorsport Audi TT RS – Deegener/Wohlfarth/Breuer/Landmann
SP8T – No.123 Team GT Academy Nissan GTR – Yamauchi/Ordonez/Schulze/Yamamoto