After nine hours of red flag for bad weather during the hours of darkness the 2013 Nurburgring 24 Hours got back to racing at the start of the 16th hour, despite the continuing rain.
With the red flag treated as a lengthy full course caution the field met the green flag to begin racing in a pack with the time differences from the Sunday running effectively deleted though deficits of entire laps were maintained as the race restarted. The bunching of the field – combined with the tricky conditions shuffled the order significantly.
The main driver to take advantage was Maxime Martin who moved from fifth to the lead in the length of the Grand Prix track on the first green flag lap. Martin, who had excelled in the conditions before the red flag built up a lead fantastically quickly, keeping a lead of over 20 seconds over the #23 ROWE Racing Mercedes until both teams made pitstops at the end of lap 43. However, as Martin handed over to Yelmer Buurman the team lost time to their Mercedes rivals who inherited the lead once Peter Dumbreck had pitted the Falken Motorsports Porsche that led a lap after the top three (the #1 G-Drive Racing by Phoenix Audi also stopping) called into the pits for the first time following the restart.
Buurman ended the 18th hour a minute in arrears to the Mercedes ahead with another of the ROWE fleet in third place, another minute behind with the #1 G-Drive/Phoenix Audi fourth and the Falken Motorsports Porsche lurking back in fifth.
Pedro Lamy, who had taken the green flag in pole position in the Aston Martin Racing entry was bundled down the order to fifth on the racing lap and the car was only just in the top ten at the end of the 18th hour
The conditions, improving markedly toward the end of the 18th hour did catch out some driver with both the #22 ROWE entry and the #20 – the surviving BMW Team Schubert Z4 GT3 – suffering spins, the BMW lucky to escape relatively undamaged from a spin approaching the crest of the hill at Flugplatz. DTM legend Bernd Schneider was another to explore the outer reaches of the track, sailing wide under braking for turn one in the #9 Black Falcon Mercedes as he sought fourth position ahead of Bas Leinders in the second Marc VDS entry.
Leinders was to crash at Bergwerk further round the same lap, eliminating the #26 car from the race.
There were not only problems for front runners on track. Both the pole sitting #4 Phoenix Racing Audi and the #29 Belgian Audi Club WRT were pulled back into the garage almost simultaneously. The Phoenix car was returned to the race – though the delay knocked it off the lead lap. However, suspension failure added the #29 car to the list of retirements.
2013 Nurburgring 24 Hours selected class leaders after 18 hours
SP9 – #23 ROWE Racing Mercedes – Arnold/Jager/Seyffarth/Roloff
SP7 – #18 Manthey Racing Porsche – Bernhard/Dumas/Lieb/Luhr (6th overall)
SP3T – #111 Raeder Motorsport Audi – Breuer/Deegener/Schmidtmann/Wohlfarht (21st overall)
SP8 – #81 Corvette – Guttroff/Kiesch/Klasen/Strycek (24th overall)
SP10 – #65 Nova Racing Ginetta – Cressoni/Fletcher/Simpson/Scarpaccio (30th overall)
SP2T – #216 Peugeot Automobiles Peugeot – Frankenhout/Niederhauser/Radermecker/Ricci (31st overall)
SP4T – #105 Besaplast Racing Audi – Kovac/Lestrup/Thiim/Tshornia (35th overall)