An eventful first hour of the 2014 ADAC Zurich Nurburgring 24 Hours passed with several potential winners finding problems early on.
Having claimed pole position Kevin Estre led the early laps in the #69 Dorr Motorsport McLaren MP4-12C, with Maxime Martin slotting into second position from second on the grid in the #25 BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS Z4 GT3. Markus Palttala, Martin’s teammate in the team’s #26 car was the first to find trouble in the race, tapping the Schubert BMW of Claudia Hurtgen in to a spin through the tight chicane at the very start of lap two.
Martin himself would be another to suffer early incident. Spinning on oil potentially left by the #50 Hyundai Genesis Coupe the Belgian spun through the NGK chicane, pitting from the back of the Grand Prix track and thus falling down the order.
Only a minute later the Car Collection Motorsport Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 went for a similar spin at the same corner. However, while Martin ended relatively harmlessly into the gravel the Mercedes crashed into the Manthey Racing #12 Porsche, severely damaging both machines.
At about the same time Estre made minor contact with the #301 BMW 235i at the top of the Flugplatz jump, the BMW being a lazy spin towards the tyre barriers on the outside of the following right hander. As those following tried to avoid the spinning car Thomas Jager’s #23 Rowe Racing Mercedes was hit from behind by another of the lower class BMWs, pushed into a spin against the barriers on the inside of the corner.
In the aftermath the second of the BMWs involved stopped further round the track, requiring the intervention vehicles to be scrambled and a yellow flag area to be thrown around it. While others slowed down as instructed the AT Class Dodge Viper arrived on the accident scene at unabated speed, slamming into the Besaplast Racing Team Mini and narrowly avoiding one of the Audi intervention vehicles.
Estre gave up the lead to pit after just four laps, passing the position to Lucas Luhr in the #19 BMW Sports Trophy Team Schubert entry with the #4 Phoenic Racing Audi (Rene Rast) and #14 Black Falcon Mercedes of Yelmer Buurman to battle over second place, with Buurman coming out ahead at the end of lap six – the last completed within the opening hour.
The issues for some team began before the race did with both the Frikadelli Racing Team Porsche and the #80 Nissan GT Academy Team RJN pitting at the end of the formation lap, the Porsche of Patrick Pilet due to a loose water hose while Alex Buncombe brought the GT-R to the pits with left-front damage after contact on the formation lap.
2014 ADAC Zurich Nurburgring 24 Hours overall standings after 1 hour:
1 – #19 BMW Sports Trophy Team Schubert – Werner/Muller/Luhr/Sims
2 – #14 Black Falcon Mercedes – Al Faisal/Haupt/Christodoulou/Buurman
3 – #4 Phoenix Racing Audi – Haase/Mamerow/Rast/Winkelhock
4 – #1 Black Falcon Mercedes – Bleekemolen/Simonsen/Menzel/Arnold
5 – #26 BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS – Leinders/Palttala/Catsburg/Adorf
Selected Class leaders:
SP7 – #41 Manthey Racing Porsche
SP8 – #48 Gazoo Racing Lexus
SP10 – #94 Team Mathol Racing Aston Martin
SP3T – #118 Subaru Tecnica International
SP4T – #110 Besaplast Racing Team 1 Audi