Datum: 27.05.2012 · 24h Le Mans
24h Nürburgring: Finish received & Mission fulfilledThe 40th. 24hours at the Nürburgring ended for Pierre Ehret as desired. At sunday afternoon the Audi R8 LMS ultra #25 of the Audi Race experience crossed the finish-line as 17.th overall and 13th in the GT3/SP9-class. This was the expected result for the quartett of Pierre Ehret, Christian Bollrath, Peter Vann and 3 times Le Mans winner Marco Werner who wanted to archieve a Top-20 finish at the 24h-classic. With a constant drive the squad ended the race as 4th best Audi. This was remarkable as Audi won this 40th edition for ist first time as a doublewin with the teams of Phoenix-Racing and Mamerow-Racing, a team that also cooperated with the Audi Race experience.
Theoretically even a better result was in reach as Pierre Ehret explained: „My colleage Christian Bollrath had an encounter with the Alzen Ford-GT with just 90min into the race – resulting in a tire damage which forced us to limp home with minimum speed over half the track. Together with the repair and a later trip in the gravel we lost 20min in total which is at least 2 laps. So we even could have finished 12th. After the damage we resumed as 98th in the 169 car field but climbed up the order without any trouble then. There were no further damages, also due to our perfectly working crew. At night we were even faster as at daytime due to the possibility to use softer tires.
It was really fun and I would really like to come back to this unique track, if I had the chance. Im my first stints I started with a lot of respect for this track but after experiencing all variables during the race – dry track, wet track, day & night – I feel very comfortable with the Nordschleife. Also my laptimes improved constantly. As I may have to leave out one of my WEC-races another race at the VLN might be an alternative. But the details for this still have to be negotiated."
The 40th edition of the german 24h race was won for the first time by Audi. The Phoenix Racing R8 LMS Ultra of Marc Basseng, Christopher Haase, Frank Stippler & Markus Winkelhock crossed the line on sunday morning with 155 completed laps on the 25,378km long circuit. All 4 pilots also won the race for their first time. In the previous years only BMW (19 wins) Porsche (11), Ford (5), Chrysler (3) and Opel (1) had scored wins at the track in the Eifelmontains. The winning distance was 1 lap short of the record distance from 2011 where the Manthey-Porsche was successful.
From the start the polesetting BMW Z4 GT3 of the team Schubert took the lead of the 169 car strong grid. Even despite a tiredamage on the 4th lap is was able to hold and extend the lead until at half race distance a driveshaft broke. The top-position was handed to the blue Phoenix-Audi – the sister car of the later winner - which soon experienced a contact, which resulted in a front damage. The lead was handed to the ROWE-Mercedes #22 which lost it after a repair at the Rearaxle was necessary 8 hours before the end. The 2nd. Schubert BMW was now in the lead but was soon struck by drivetrain issues. This is where the later winning team, the Phoenix Audi int the yellow and blue Bilstein-colours, took the lead. It was followed by the Mamerow Audi while 3rd was decided on the very last lap between the #66 Heico-Mercedes and the Manthey-Porsche, which run out of fuel on the last lap and was struck by another car.
"In summary I must say it was the best decision to choose the Audi Race experience for my race. The team cared exemplary well for us Nordschleife-Rookies and the cars were extremly well prepared, considering that the R8 ultras were very new for the team. With Marco Werner we had an instructor who was 2nd to none. I can only recommend the team for every pilot who wants to complete a successful crashcourse on the Nordschleife and is looking for the best professional team for this.“