Dörr Motorsport kept their qualifying advantage at the end of the top-30 shootout for the ADAC Zurich Nurburgring 24 Hours. However, after the #69 had paced the two full field sessions it was the #66 that took pole position, Kevin Estre smashing the qualifying lap record in the process.
Estre scorched around the 26km track in 8:10.921, smashing the year old qualifying lap record for the little used layout which uses misses the Mercedes Arena section of the track as well as using a faster variant of the NGK-Chicane. In fact all the top 13 in the session were under Frank Stippler’s 2013 pole lap of 8:17.212.
Aside from being one of the number to dip beneath his previous time, Stippler himself made little impact upon the session, given the wheel of the #3 Phoenix Racing Audi for the session. Stippler was fourth fastest after the first flying lap, but found himself pushed back to sixth as both Adam Christodoulou in the #14 Black Falcon Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 and Dirk Werner in the #19 BMW Sports Trophy Team Schubert BMW Z4 improved on their second time around the circuit.
Estre, meanwhile, was unable to improve on his second lap while both Christian Mamerow and Maxime Martin did. They had set the second and third fastest times after the first flying lap on time of 8:14.421 and 8.14.440 respectively. Aboard the #25 BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS entry Martin – one of the heroes of last year’s soaking race – took a second off his time the second time around, leapfrogging Mamerow and the #4 Phoenix Racing Audi onto the front row as the German was only able to shave three tenths of his earlier effort.
“My teammate in the other car did a really good lap with the traffic and the conditions with the 8:18 yesterday,” Estre told www.theCheckeredFlag.co.uk. “So there was some pressure for me to beat his lap and I didn’t really know where I could because until now my best lap was 8:27, which is 17 seventeen seconds off the lap I did now with the traffic and everything. So there was a sort of pressure, especially because we are just two McLarens, the other have seven, eight or ten cars but I think I managed it pretty well.”
“It was a bit oversteery on the Grand Prix but then as soon as I got on the Nordschleife the car felt really good. There was still a little tendency to oversteer but that helped me in a lot of places. It maybe slowed me down in one or two places but overall I gained quite a lot. I took quite a lot of risks in some fast corners, I was really on the edge so I’m really happy with the lap.”
Behind Stippler’s time the #1 Black Falcon Mercedes team went some way to erasing the problems of the weekend so far. Andreas Simonsen, the man who skated into the turn one tyres with brake failure in free practice, set an 8:15.098 to take seventh with the #502 Audi Race Experience, Aston Martin Racing and the #80 Nissan GT Academy Team RJN entry completing the top ten.
Aston’s Stefan Mücke, who only moved into one of the spots to take part in the shootout in the final minutes of the morning’s qualifying session, was the biggest move up the order from the first to the second lap, leaping from 17th into ninth with an 8:15.834 lap.
Having set the lap that topped the pair of qualifying sessions the second of the Dorr McLarens, with Rudi Adams at the wheel, was only able to qualifying 18th fastest, his best an 8:18.236, just three tenths faster than his earlier effort.
The session was – mercifully – dry, and relatively quiet.
The Schulze Motorsport Nissan, repaired after Jordan Tresson’s night qualifying off, was – quite aptly – the last car off from the top 30 but Michael Schulze failed to complete a flying lap, pulling off the track. The Rinaldi by GT Corse Ferrari team – with Alexander Mattschull on qualifying duties – were thus guaranteed a 29th place start and opted to come in into the pits after only a single flyer.
The ADAC Zurich Nurburgring 24 Hours is scheduled to start at 4pm on Saturday. theCheckeredFlag.co.uk will have regular updates throughout the race.