Audi customer teams contested with some of the worst conditions in the history of the Nurburgring 24 Hours, with the best finisher coming in the form of a fifth place from Marcel Fassler, Mike Rockenfeller, Frank Stippler and Markus Winkelhock.
The result marked the first time since the R8’s debut in 2009 that no Audi team had come away from the Nordschleife with a trophy, having won the GT3 class for the past four years and overall victory in 2012.
Phoenix Racing were the best of the Audi teams, after Stippler placed the #4 car on pole position, with all four drivers, including Rockenfeller, who had just flown in from winning the DTM at Brands Hatch, battling in the top three during the early stages of the race before an exchange of the oxygen sensor dropped down to tenth, recovering to fourth before the weather brought out the red flag.
After the race restarted, many teams were caught out by the tricky conditions, with three Audi R8s falling foul to the mixture of water, oil and mud, while the #4 Audi of Michael Ammermuller, Ferdinand and Johanne Stuck and Stippler came home in 8th, followed in 9th by the G-Drive Racing by Phoenix R8 of Frank Biela, Christer Jons, Luca Ludwig and Roman Rusinov.
“I’ve never experienced such a tough event of the 24-hour race since the R8 started running here,” said Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “Still, our customers demonstrated a great fighting spirit. Our congratulations today go to those who finished the race and of course to the overall winners of Mercedes-Benz. I’m sure that our customers will attack again at Spa in July at the next 24-hour race.”