The #4 Phoenix Racing Audi of Christopher Haase, Christian Mamerow, Rene Rast and Markus Winkelhock has established itself at the very front of the Zurich Nurburgring 24 Hours, leading as – at nine hours in – the race arrived at 1am local time.
The team got ahead of their earlier rivals in the #26 BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS car early in the seventh hour as the top teams cycled through a sequence of scheduled pitstops, but then proceeded to pull away to a lead of nearly 30 seconds before the next round of stops commenced, briefly handing the lead back to the #26 BMW before the #22 Rowe Racing Mercedes took the lead for the first time in the race.
Their own stop gave the #4 team the lead back with an advantage of north of a minutes over the #1 Black Falcon Mercedes.
They were helped to the lead – or at least the size of it – by problems for the #26 BMW that brought the car back into the pits through the emergency access of the Coca-Cola Kurve twice, the team fighting throttle valve problem.
The #9 Prosperia-Abt Audi had an off at Exmuhle but continued while a crash for the #30 Nissan GT Academy Team RJN meant the car returned to the pits minus a substantial portion of its front end, dropping it from the top 20 overall. In its place had risen the #23 Rowe Mercedes, now sporting a taped together rear end after its first hour contact, which runs 18th overall at the end of the hour two laps off the pace.
Though the sister SLS and the #25 Marc VDS BMW were the #4 team’s nearest challengers at the end of the ninth hour, but were expected to pit imminently, which would promote the #1 team back to second.
The top 20 also included the leader of the SP-Pro class, the #11 Manthey Porsche in 19th overall with its only class rival – Gazoo Racing’s Lexus LFA Code X just one place behind.
Elsewhere in the top 40 lie the SP7, SP3T, SP4T and SP10 class leaders, the Team Mathol Racing #94 Aston closing out the top 40 at the head of the SP10/GT4 class.
2014 ADAC Zurich Nurburgring 24 Hours overall standings after 9 hours:
1 – #4 Phoenix Racing Audi – Haase/Mamerow/Rast/Winkelhock
2 – #22 Rowe Racing Mercedes – Zehe/Hohenadel/Bastian/Engel
3 – #25 BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS – Martin/Muller/Alzen/Wittmann
4 – #1 Black Falcon Mercedes – Bleekemmolen/Simonsen/Menzel/Arnold
5 – #20 BMW Sports Trophy Team Schubert – Klingmann/Baumann/Hurtgen/Tom
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 – #108 Besaplast Racing Team Audi