Having dominated the race through the earliest hours of Sunday morning the #4 Phoenix Racing Audi lost the lead as the ADAC Zurich Nurburgring 24 Hours neared the half way point.
The new leaders of the race just before 4am local time is the #20 BMW Sports Trophy Team Schubert entry of Jens Klingmann, Dominik Baumann, Claudia Hurtgen and Martin Tomczyk. They took the lead three laps before the half way point, moving into a 26 second lead of the Audi team in the time left to 4a. The #1 Black Falcon Mercedes picked up the lead twice during exchanges of pitstops, though each turn in the lead lasted only a lap before it too headed for the pitlance, allowing the Audi to retake the overall class lead.
The half point was reached with only five cars on the lead lap, the lead trio joined by Rowe Racing’s #22 Mercedes and the Team Falken Tire Porsche.
The number of lead lap cars had been six or seven until shortly before the half way point when the #14 Black Falcon Mercedes suffered a suspension failure – possibly as a result of contact – during the first half of the Nordschleife lap. Meanwhile, the HTP Motorsport fell off the lead lap due to the pace of the race leaders.
The major story at the front of the race was the retirement of both of the BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS entries are separate accidents. Marco Wittmann was the first out, reportedly hit from behind through the Pflanzgarten section of track in the #25 putting the then fourth placed car out of the race. Bas Leinders, in the #26 Z4 GT3 followed soon after crashing, crashing out at the Karussell.
The continuing attrition at the front of the race is allowing for some of the teams delayed earlier in the race to recover back up the order. The most startling of these is the #23 Rowe Racing Mercedes that was punted into the barriers in the opening hour. Though with a rear end patched with tape and cable ties the entry was in 10th place at the half way point of the race.
The problems for the GT3 cars also allowed increased encroachment by the other classes.
Both of the SP-Pro entries, as well as the leading pair of SP7 class Porsches and the SP8 leading Lexus LFA all ended the 12th hour inside the top 22 that make it onto the first of the race organiser’s timing screens.
2014 ADAC Zurich Nurburgring 24 Hours overall standings after 12 hours:
1 – #20 BMW Sports Trophy Team Schubert – Klingmann/Baumann/Hurtgen/Tomczyk
2 – #4 Phoenix Racing Audi – Haase/Mamerow/Rast/Winkelhock
3 – #1 Black Falcon Mercedes – Bleekemmolen/Simonsen/Menzel/Arnold
4 – #22 Rowe Racing Mercedes – Zehe/Hohenadel/Bastian/Engel
5 – #44 Falken Motorsports – Henzler/Dumbreck/Ragginger/Imperatori
Selected Class leaders:
SP-Pro – #11 Wochenspiegel Team Manthey Porsche
SP7 – #56 Black Falcon Porsche
SP8 – #48 Gazoo Racing Lexus
SP10 – #94 Team Mathol Racing Aston Martin
SP3T – #111 Raeder Motorsport Audi
SP4T – #110 Besaplast Racing Team