Just as in yesterday night’s longer qualifying session it was Black Falcon and the #10 Mercedes SLS that set the overall pace in the decisive two hour second qualifying second for the Nurburgring 24 Hours.
The importance of the session was shown as soon as the first complete flying laps. With no overnight rain the track was dry for the first time in this year’s event and straight away 13 seconds were cleaved from the #10 cars overnight provisional pole as the Mercedes team briefly occupied the top three spots – the #10 leading the #9 and #63 before Manthey Racing’s Porsche moved between the gullwinged machines to take second place.
Times continued to fall during the session – though with the final fastest time being 8:23.181 the improvements were nothing on the scale set during the hours of darkness in the first session.
The #10 team (Andril Lebed, Andreas Simonsen, Dennis Rostek and Harald Proczyc) set the time with 20 minutes of the session, pushing the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT #29 out of the provisional pole spot. They (Laurens Vanthoor, Edward Sandstrom, Christopher Haase, Christopher Mies) finished the session second fastest, with the #4 Phoenix Racing third after a late improvement.
“We are absolutely happy,” said Ferdinand Stuck, one of the drivers in the #4. “In the dry the car is really good. Now we have to make sure that we will be able to also deliver in the rain. Frank [Stippler]‘s was fantastic. A top-10 position in the top-40 qualifying would be great – everything else would be not so good.”
There may have been further improvements with the final laps of the session. However, a red flag halted the session with just over a minute remaining after Akira Ida crashed one of Gazoo Racing’s Toyota GT86 heavily near the bridge at Briedscheid.
With the end of the race a slightly anti-climactic affair Abt Team Mamerow finished fourth – having themselves held the top spot for a time during the session with – the best of the ROWE Racing Mercedes fifth. G-Drive Racing by Phoenix – with the #1 plate on their Audi – were sixth followed by the GT3 Vantage of Aston Martin Racing seventh.
Manthey Racing’s talent packed #18 car continued their dominance of SP7 in eighth overall – the only non SP9/GT3 car in the top 22 places overall. The next car outside of the premier class was the SP8 topping Gazoo Racing Lexus LFA with a time of 8:33.840.
The top 30 in the session were all under the fastest time from the first session, the last of those the Schulze Motorsport Nissan GT-R GT3 that only improved its overnight by two seconds, though it remained safely inside the top 40, securing its place in the ‘shootout’ qualifying session – scheduled for 5:50pm local time – that will set the starting order for the first 20 rows of the grid.
Outside of the top 40 Besaplast Racing and Raeder Motorsport lead the SP4T and SP3T classes respectively, each in differently spec-ed Audi TT. the #56 Porsche 997 was the fastest car in SP10 class for GT4 cars, just as they were in the first session. Nova Race‘s #65 Ginetta G40 – including British drivers Mike Simpson and Henry Fletcher was third quickest in class.
In the Sp3 class – which includes Toyota GT86 and Honda S2000 – it was the ageing Opel Manta of Kissling Motorsport that showed the way, 77th overall when times from the two qualifying session were combined with near 180 cars setting a time for the grid.