Nurburgring 24h: Land Audi grabs unlikely win on final lap

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Nurburgring 24h: Land Audi grabs unlikely win on final lap
May 28, 2017, 2:04 PM

Kelvin van der Linde snatched an unlikely victory on the final lap of the Nurburgring 24 Hours after a sudden downpour played into the Land Motorsport Audi’s hands.

#29 Audi Sport Team Land-Motorsport, Audi R8 LMS: Christopher Mies, Connor De Phillippi, Markus Winkelhock, Kelvin van der Linde
#29 Audi Sport Team Land-Motorsport, Audi R8 LMS: Christopher Mies, Connor De Phillippi, Markus Winkelhock, Kelvin van der Linde
#29 Audi Sport Team Land-Motorsport, Audi R8 LMS: Christopher Mies, Connor De Phillippi, Markus Winkelhock, Kelvin van der Linde
#98 Rowe Racing, BMW M6 GT3: Markus Palttala, Nicky Catsburg, Richard Westbrook, Alexander Sims
#29 Audi Sport Team Land-Motorsport, Audi R8 LMS: Christopher Mies, Connor De Phillippi, Markus Winkelhock, Kelvin van der Linde
#43 BMW Team Schnitzer, BMW M6 GT3: Alexander Lynn, Antonio Felix Da Costa, Timo Scheider, Augusto Farfus
#9 Audi Sport Team WRT, Audi R8 LMS: Nico Müller, Marcel Fässler, Robin Frijns, René Rast

The long-time race leader was dealt a cruel hand just before the final hour when the #29 Audi slowed on track with an electrical fault.

He crawled back to the pits for a full system reset that allowed Rene Rast to steer the #9 WRT Audi into what seemed an easy run to victory.

The #29 Audi eventually returned to the track in third behind the #98 ROWE Racing BMW that had put itself in podium contention after a superb stint from Alexander Sims earlier.

But the race then turned on its head at the final pitstops. Slick stops for Rast and the #98 BMW returned them to the track on dry tyres, but a loose fuel cap delayed van der Linde and the team quickly decided to put him on wets.

It proved an inspired choice when the rain fell and the leading Audi and BMW was forced into the pits for wet tyres, allowing van der Linde to return to the lead and share the race win with teammates Markus Winkelhock, Christopher Mies and Connor De Phillippi.

The #98 BMW of Nicky Catsburg also passed Rast on the last tour, completing a weekend in which he took podiums in both the 24 Hours and the WTCC.

The ROWE BMW was followed across the line by the #42 Team Schnitzer BMW, which consolidated its position through Sunday morning.

Fifth fell to the 2016 race winning #1 Black Falcon Mercedes, with Frikadelli Racing Team’s Porsche 911 GT3 R taking an opportunistic sixth.

The top 10 had looked spread out until the wet weather changed the dynamic of the race, but one constant was the battle for seventh between the Team Falken BMW driven by Peter Dumbreck and Tom Onslow-Cole’s Schubert car.

The Falken car had looked set for a podium finish overnight before a puncture after contact with the Walkenhorst BMW Z4 dropped it down the order and into the clutches of Onslow-Cole.

Onslow-Cole finally found a way past late in the final hour, but crashed on slicks in the wet, dropping to 12th.

The Falken BMW would prove unable to hold onto seventh, as the #22 WTM Racing Ferrari 458 GT3 sealed the position after running on the fringes of the top 10 throughout.

One of the biggest losers in the wet was the #8 HTP Motorsport Mercedes, falling from sixth down to ninth ahead of the #99 Rowe BMW late on.

Race results:

Pos#DriversCarTime/Gap
1 29 germany Markus Winkelhock 
united_states Connor de Phillippi 
germany Christopher Mies 
south_africa Kelvin van der Linde 
Audi R8 LMS 158 laps
2 98 united_kingdom Richard Westbrook 
finland Markus Palttala 
netherlands Nicky Catsburg 
united_kingdom Alexander Sims 
BMW M6 GT3 29.418
3 9 netherlands Robin Frijns 
switzerland Marcel Fässler 
germany René Rast 
switzerland Nico Müller 
Audi R8 LMS 50.622
4 42 brazil Augusto Farfus 
germany Marco Wittmann 
united_kingdom Tom Blomqvist 
germany Martin Tomczyk 
BMW M6 GT3 6'54.159
5 1 germany Maro Engel 
united_kingdom Adam Christodoulou 
netherlands Yelmer Buurman 
germany Manuel Metzger 
Mercedes-AMG GT3 7'10.835
6 31

denmark Michael Christensen 
austria Norbert Siedler 

germany Lucas Luhr

austria Klaus Bachler

Porsche 911 GT3 R 157 laps 
7 22 germany Jochen Krumbach 
germany Daniel Keilwitz 
germany Georg Weiss 
germany Oliver Kainz 
Ferrari 488 GT3 1'35.339
8 33 germany Marco Seefried 
switzerland Alexandre Imperatori 
netherlands Stef Dusseldorp 
united_kingdom Peter Dumbreck 
BMW M6 GT3 1'58.634
9 8 netherlands Renger van der Zande 
germany Maximilian Götz 
germany  Lance David Arnold
germany Uwe Alzen 
Mercedes-AMG GT3 2'31.898
10 99 belgium Maxime Martin 
germany Marc Basseng 
austria Philipp Eng 
united_kingdom Alexander Sims 
BMW M6 GT3 3'28.817
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Land Audi's race was "over" before final Nurburgring 24h stop

Land Audi's race was "over" before final Nurburgring 24h stop
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