AUDI R8 LMS WINS GT3 AT 2010 NURBURGRING 24HR
With third place overall in Phoenix Racing's Audi LMS R8 Marc Bronzel, Luca Ludwig, Dennis Rostek and Markus Winkelhock presented the team with an unexpected surprise after they did not number among the favorites before the race started.
The Audi R8 LMS #97 encountered a small electrical problem during the opening stages. DTM driver Winkelhock, who landed a drive with the Phoenix team at the last moment, drove consistently fast times without any experience of the Nordschleife, and in the closing stages defended the class lead.
"The Audi R8 LMS and this race were great fun," beamed the Swabian. "It was a fantastic experience. My thanks go to Phoenix Racing who did a fantastic job. I'm speechless that I managed to finish on the podium here!"? ? Delight also erupted in the Black Falcon team that brought one of its two Audi R8 LMS home in fifth place overall and third in the GT3 category. Sean-Paul Breslin, Christer Jons, Kenneth Heyer and Johannes Stuck were driving.
Nevertheless, the 24-hour race around the Nurburgring did not run as desired for the new Customer Sport Centre at Audi Sport. The 38th running of the long-distance classic was plagued by numerous accidents and incidents from which none of the favorites escaped unharmed, including the Audi customer teams ABT Sportsline, Black Falcon and Phoenix Racing.?All three teams lost one of its Audi R8 LMS in accidents. Problems for two other cars ensured that only two of the seven Audi R8 LMS competing saw the checkered flag on this unusually hard and incident-packed 24-hour race.
The race on the world's longest and toughest track ended early for the two fastest Audi R8 LMS. Both the Phoenix R8 LMS #98 (Marc Basseng/Mike Rockenfeller/Frank Stippler/Hans-Joachim Stuck) and the ABT R8 LMS #100 (Mattias Estkrom/Oliver Jarvis/Timo Scheider/Marco Werner) retired on Saturday evening following accidents. Shortly after 9pm bad luck claimed Marc Basseng (Phoenix Racing R8 LMS #98), who was running second at this time in "Pflanzgarten 2".
"I was overtaking a slower car which had its left-turn signal blinking," explained the Phoenix driver. "I was completely alongside him when he suddenly moved over. I wanted to avoid having an accident and swerved onto the grass, and hit a kerb in the centre of the car." The impact from below was so hard that the V10 engine was damaged and the R8 LMS ground to a halt around the "Tiergarten".
About an hour later, bad luck also claimed Marco Werner (ABT Sportsline R8 LMS #100). The three-time Le Mans winner experienced a near identical situation in "Pflanzgarten" when also running in second position. Werner was barged off by another car and had to park his R8 LMS with the rear-left suspension torn-off.? ? Marcel Fassler (Phoenix Racing R8 LMS #99) also had external contact on Saturday night, which ended with a damaged wheel. At 10:22pm the silver/red R8 LMS took the lead for the first time and which Marcel Fassler, Frank Biela, Pierre Kaffer and Marc Hennerici extended the lead to more than two-minutes during the night. After almost 17 hours, a defective engine mounting also brought the race to an end for the second Phoenix-R8. "That really was a shame as we were running strongly up to that point," said Marcel Fassler.
Christian Abt was also involved in a collision in the second R8 LMS of the ABT Sportsline (#2) team. The result was tire failure and deranged wheel alignment. Nevertheless, on Sunday morning at 10:42am after a fantastic fight back Christian Abt, Emmanuel Collard, Lucas Luhr and Christopher Mies were once again in second place on the same lap as the leading hybrid-Porsche, when Lucas Luhr stopped on the track around the "Pflanzgarten" with a transmission problem.?
Black Falcon Racing lost one of its two Audi R8 LMS (#111) during the night because of an accident. The second R8 LMS fielded by the private team ran just as reliably throughout the entire 24 hours as the third Phoenix team car - apart from gearbox issues at the end of the race.
1 Muller/Farfus/Alzen/Lamy (BMW) 154 laps in 24h 00m 18.168s
2 Farnbacher/Simonsen/Lehman/Seefried (Ferrari) + 3m 54.191s
3 Bronzel/Ludwig/Rostek/Winkelhock (Audi R8 LMS) - 1 lap (1st GT3)
4 Hartung/Soderlund/Sandstrom/Ohlin (BMW) - 2 laps (2nd GT3)
5 Breslin/Jons/Heyer/Stuck (Audi R8 LMS) - 2 laps (3rd GT3)
6 Alzen/Schwager/Jager/Bert (Porsche) - 3 laps
7 Werner/Muller/Priaulx/Adorf (BMW) - 4 laps
8 Zehe/Schelp/Roloff/Bullitt (Porsche) - 4 laps
9 Aust/Adams/Ubler/Grossmann (BMW) - 5 laps
10 Weiland/Forbes/Riemer/Horn (Porsche) - 6 laps