Uwe Alzen Gives BMW Nurburgring 24 Pole After New Shootout

by James Broomhead
Uwe Alzen qualified the no.19 BMW Z4 in the new quick fire qualifying format (Photo Credit: Chris Gurton Photography)

Uwe Alzen qualified the no.19 BMW Z4 in the new quick fire qualifying format (Photo Credit: Chris Gurton Photography)

Uwe Alzen set the fastest lap around the Nurburgring Nordschleife of the Nurburgring 24 Hours weekend so far to take pole position for the event at the end of a new qualifying top-40 shootout.

Under the new format for this year the top-40 cars from the two qualifying practice sessions were given two flying laps around the track to decide their starting spots within the first starting group. Starting at roughly ten seconds apart as they began their out lap – a full circuit of the Nordschleife – resulted in several cars being held up on at least one of their laps.

After starting second behind Marco Werner in the Audi Race Experience no.25 Audi R8 LMS it was Tomas Enge who set the first flying lap (8:27.248) around the mammoth 25km track but was quickly shuffled back by faster cars lying deeper in the random draw that had decided the starting order.

After Enge Mercedes and Audi teams swapped the top time. Lance David Arnold in the Hankook Team Heico lowered the benchmark time in the 8:22 bracket, though the Mercedes SLS driver then lost the provisional pole to Audi's Marc Basseng before the SLS teams took the top time once more with first Sean Edwards in the Black Falcon no.15. However, the fastest time of the first flying laps – by some distance (8:19.700) – went to Chris Mamerow in the Mamerow Racing Audi.

Mamerow's time proved strong enough for second place amid a sea of drivers to improve on their second lap.

Alzen moved the BMW Team Schubert Z4 onto pole position by more than a second over Mamerow's time with both Edwards and Arnold improving their time to move their respective SLS into third and fourth for the start.

Behind Dirk Adorf, qualifying the other Team Schubert car was the best Porsche with Marc Lieb piloting the no.11 Team Manthey car to be the only Porsche in the top eighteen. Porsche works man Lieb was in the heard of a tightly back group with eleven cars split by just three seconds.

The two Young Driver AMR teams – Enge and Darren Turner the men at the wheel qualified 16th and 17th. Tommy Milner in the Haribo Racing Team Corvette was 18th, despite the American slowing through the second half of his second flying lap.

Though the battle for pole was always an affair for the SP9 GT3 cars several other classes were involved.

In nineteenth overall Jochen Krumbach easily set the pace in SP7 for Team Manthey, his best time sixteen seconds faster than Porsche of their nearest challengers – Kremer Racing. In the only SP8 in the top 40 Akira Iida qualified the Gazoo Racing Lexus LFA 32nd fastest while the Raeder Motorsport Audi TT RS of Stefan Landmann will start 38th – the slowest car to set a time – but the only SP4T car in the top 40.

Finally, the double BTCC champion Fabrizio Giovanardi qualified the Ferrari powered P 4/5 Competizione 30th overall.

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