Audi defeats Mercedes-AMG in Nurburgring 24 Hours

The Audi Sport Team Phoenix entry crosses the line

Audi Sport Team Phoenix were victorious in the 50th edition of the Nurburgring 24 Hours having survived changing conditions in the second half.

The race-winning #15 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II was shared by Kelvin van der Linde, Dries Vanthoor, Frederic Vervisch and Robin Frijns.

Van der Linde took the chequered flag 23 seconds ahead of the Mercedes-AMG Team GetSpeed entry, with the Audi crew declared victorious despite a late pit stop scare.

Pockets of rain in different parts of the Nurburgring added intensity to the closing stages of the race through Sunday morning into the afternoon.

A defining moment came with three hours to go as the leading two were separated by half a second.

The rain intensified around the track and while the Phoenix Audi had opted for semi-slicks the GetSpeed Mercedes was left a lap too long on its regular slick tyres.

That left the Audi squad with a comfortable lead to control the pace to the end of the 24 hours.

GetSpeed remained second with its #3 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo of Adam Christodoulou, Maximilian Goetz and Fabian Schiller.

The sister #4 Mercedes driven by Maro Engel, Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella completed the podium.

Jaxon Evans’ #33 Falken Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R he shared with Sven Muller, Patrick Pilet and Marco Seefried finished the race ninth outright, while Matt Campbell’s Toksport WRT Porsche was a DNF.

Numerous victory contenders were eliminated from the ‘Green Hell’ 24 hours with crashes.

The most high profile was that of defending race winners Manthey Racing, with the #1 Porsche 911 GT3 R in a high-speed collision in the opening hours.

Laurens Vanthoor in the Porsche went side-by-side with brother Dries (Phoenix Audi) on the run down the Dottinger Hohe and into Tiergarten when they made slight contact.

It sent the Porsche, running in the top five, spinning at the fastest section on the race track before finding the barriers on driver’s right, destroying the car.

During the night, the race-leading TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage GT3 crashed on the Nordschleife when Nicki Thiim came across an oil patch on the track.

Moments later, Sheldon van der Linde’s BMW M4 GT3 hit the fence hard after a suspected failure, taking another top contender out on the spot.

Throughout the night and into Sunday morning Schubert Motorsport’s #20 BMW challenged the Phoenix Audi for the lead.

However, Schubert’s hopes of victory also came to an end when Alexander Sims slid off the track and into the barriers after being caught out by a rain shower.

While it was just a puncture that delayed the BMW back to the pits, the Schubert car was no longer a factor, leaving a two-horse race between the Phoenix Audi and GetSpeed Mercedes.

The 2022 edition of the Nurburgring 24 Hours was the first in two years to run uninterrupted after wild weather conditions caused significant stoppages in 2020 and 2021.

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