Published on May 29th, 2016 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
12 hours racing of the 2016 Nurburgring 24 Hours, the #88 Haribo Mercedes leads
Currently the #88 leads over the charging #9 Black Falcon car, which was still making up for ground lost at the restart. In third, the #30 HTP Mercedes had slipped back, but overall it must be noted that the top five was made up entirely of Mercedes AMG-GTs. With conditions continuing to improve, the frontrunners were back on intermediate tyres hoping to move to slicks at the next stop; although the forecast for the second half of the race still looked bleak.
After the cars had finished their third stops, they headed out on slicks. Once the field was back into sync, it was lap 23, with 16 hours and 45 minutes remaining. The order at the front remained roughly the same, but the #88’s lead had increased to over a minute.
The battle for second was raging on though, as the #4 SAP Mercedes climbed the order while the #9 slipped to fourth. It was close, with the trio of #4, #30 & #9 all within a couple of seconds of each other with 16 and a half hours to go, in full darkness on the Nordschleife as the fourth round of stops approached.
It was clear after the fourth round of stops that the #912 Porsche was beginning to come into its own, lapping quickly and gaining on the Mercedes armada up front. It was down in sixth when it rejoined, but was just 2:26 behind the leading #88 Haribo Mercedes and gaining.
There were a few incidents through the opening night hours, the biggest being Alex Yoong in the #10 Audi Race Experience R8 LMS, which went off hard at Hohe Acht on drivers right. Yoong was reported as okay.
Shortly after 1am local time, the #007 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 was confirmed as a retirement – with the only silver lining for the British brand being that works driver Darren Turner was now freed up to run more stints in the #48 Vantage GT4, which moved into third in the SP8 class around the 10-hour mark.
At the same time, the #88 Haribo Mercedes continued to lead on 41 laps, ahead of the #9 Bilstein and #29 and #30 HTP Mercedes in second, third and fourth. Top non-Merc runner was the fifth-place #100 Schubert BMW, with the sole remaining works Porsche, the #912, holding sixth.
The #702 SCG 003 led the SPX class, dropping out of the overall top 10 during the pit cycle, while the #19 BMW M3 headed SP8, three minutes ahead of the aforementioned recovering Aston, which managed to get past the second-in-class #20 Ford Mustang on its charge back up through the field after running out of fuel earlier.
With just under 13 hours remaining, the lead briefly changed as the #9 Black Falcon Mercedes got ahead of the #88 on track, with the #4 Mercedes (the other Black Falcon machine) having moved up to third and the #912 Porsche to fourth following the incident for the #30.