January 26, 2021

Nurburgring 24h: Drama as leaders crash out, race halted

First, the Haupt Racing Team lost its long-time leading #4 entry with Manuel Metzger hitting the barriers at the exit of Schwalbenschwanz. Metzger was on the so-called ‘drying wet’ tyre just as the rain started pouring down, catching him out after a brief dry-ish period which even led some teams to unsuccessfully gamble on slick tyres.  

With the leading Mercedes entries out, it was the GetSpeed #9 car taking over the lead, followed by the three factory-entered Audi R8 LMS cars. This car too hit trouble when Raffaele Marciello smashed the wall hard at Kallenhard in a bizarre crash, leading to speculation that something might have broken on his car after an earlier clash.

Just moments before he had already lost control of his Mercedes-AMG GT3 at Adenauer Forst at low speed, spinning off into the grass.

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The three Audis now dominated, led by the #1 Phoenix entry with Dries Vanthoor at the wheel. However, just one lap before the red flag, the Belgian lost it at the same place as Marciello before, making slight contact with the barriers.  

That brought Christopher Haase in the #3 Car Collection Audi into contention, but the next lap saw the German spinning at Hatzenbach, just avoiding the barriers. Shortly after his spin the race was red flagged.

All cars were allowed back into their pit garages with no Parc Ferme rules in place. The Phoenix crew is changing the #1 Audi’s whole gearbox.

The race is not going to be restarted until at least 7am local time. Sixteen cars are left on the lead lap, all of which will be in contention for victory once the race gets underway again.

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