24h Nürburgring: BMW triple top in night qualifying

BMW has finished the start of the 2024 24h Nürburgring with a one-two-three lead. After the first and second qualifying sessions on Thursday, the #72 RMG-BMW (Harper/Hesse/Weerts) led the classification ahead of the #98 Rowe-BMW (Marciello/Martin/Wittmann/Farfus) and the sister car with the #99 (Frijns/S. van der Linde/D. Vanthoor/Farfus).

The qualifying sessions today and on Friday afternoon (1:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. in our live ticker) are not only about preparing for the Eifel classic, but also about the remaining five places in the top qualifying, which will decide the final starting grid.

The BMW M4 GT3 with starting number #72, fielded by the former DTM team RMG from Niederzissen, was the fastest of the 25 GT3 cars in both qualifying sessions. BMW works driver Dan Harper managed to improve on his previously set best time in the night qualifying session: the Briton needed 8:17.236 minutes for his fastest lap in the Green Hell.

Raffaele Marciello crashes in Rowe BMW

Harper came closest Raffaele Marciello in the #98 BMW of the 2020 Nürburgring winner, Rowe Racing. The Italian-Swiss driver was exactly 4.183 seconds behind his BMW colleague in the night-time qualifying, which took place entirely in dry conditions.

BMW’s newcomer Marciello was in the spotlight when he crashed on the Nordschleife around an hour before the end of the session. According to BMW Motorsport Director Andreas Roos, he collided with a slower car and then hit the guard rails. For Marciello and co., qualifying ended prematurely after the crash.

“I took a hit from behind and was then just a passenger,” said Marciello, who is contesting his first Nürburgring 24-hour race for BMW after leaving Mercedes-AMG. “It’s better that it happened today than during the race. Our team has to work hard, but I’m sure they can repair the car.”

24h qualifying: Many brands in the top positions

Behind the three BMWs, the #5 Renauer Porsche (Renauer/Kolb/Olsen/Campbell) took fourth place with a gap of 6.5 seconds. The #4 HRT Mercedes (Stolz/Götz/Juncadella/Maini) and the #15 Scherer Audi (Vervisch/Haase/Winkelhock/Feller) followed in fifth and sixth place. The #44 Falken Porsche (Heinemann/Eriksson/Menzel/Ragginger) and the #11 Schnitzelalm Mercedes (Marchewicz/Härtling/Heyer) completed the top 8 of the combined qualifying.

Frikadelli Ferrari disqualified from Qualifying 1

The #1 Frikadelli Ferrari (Laser/Keilwitz/Ludwig/Varrone) caused quite a stir before the second qualifying: The defending champions were disqualified from the first qualifying session in the afternoon due to a violation of the BoP. According to information from Motorsport-Magazin.com Ferrari engineers entered incorrect boost pressure data that did not match the classification.

“They forgot to put a little tick where you enter it in the list for the turbo boost,” said Frikadelli team boss Klaus Abbelen. “Unfortunately they used the standard values. We were justifiably disqualified. They let us do the laps because the drivers drove. Minimal damage, but I could kick myself!”

In the night qualifying, Frikadelli’s newcomer Nicolas Varronne managed a late improvement in his time to 13th place, but this was not enough to qualify for the top qualifying on Friday evening. In the session, which was slowed down by numerous Code 60 phases, Maro Engel in the #130 GetSpeed ​​Mercedes (Engel/Gounon/Schiller/Christodoulou) managed to squeeze in front of the only Ferrari in the starting field in the final minutes.

Audi catches fire

The #775 Audi RS3 LMS TCR caused a real moment of shock when the engine suddenly caught fire on the Grand Prix track. The track marshals got the blazing flames under control after a while. Driver Raphael Hundeborn was able to get out of the Audi quickly enough, remained unharmed – and after the shock on the track, lit a cigarette in the best Winkelhock spirit…

Previously, during the first hour of qualifying, the #111 Mercedes-AMG GT4 of Schnitzelalm Racing had caught David Schumacher makes his debut at the Nürburgring 24-hour race. The American David Thilenius hit the guard rails in the Fuchsröhre area, triggering a long Code 60 phase. The Schnitzelalm Mercedes will be repaired overnight in the team factory.

HRT Mercedes has to be repaired in the team factory

The #6 HRT Mercedes (Fetzer/Haupt/Aron/S. Owega) also has to be transported from the track to the factory at home. The reigning ADAC GT Masters champion Salman Owega flew off in Metzgesfeld – the ‘most popular’ accident site on Thursday – and damaged the yellow GT3 car of the racing team known from the DTM.

Other cars in the top SP9 class ran into difficulties in different ways. The returning #706 Glickenhaus (Mutsch/Mailleux/Arnold/Ledogar) had to have its power steering replaced in the meantime, and later a tire burst.

The #36 Walkenhorst-Aston-Martin Vantage GT3 (Walkenhorst/Aust/Bollrath/Buchardt) from the Pro-Am classification, with Christian Bollrath at the wheel, hit the track barrier head-on and had to come into the pits. The #24 Lionspeed Porsche (Au/Niederhauser/Kolb/Dontje) with Antares Au also ended up in the guard rails of the Nordschleife.

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