Night of highs and lows for the BMW Sports Trophy teams

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Nürburgring (DE), 22nd June 2014. The new day has dawned over the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring-Nordschleife (DE), and the BMW teams have a night of highs and lows behind them. While the number 20 BMW Z4 GT3 is battling with the front-runners, crashes mean the two BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS cars are no longer involved.

 

Martin Tomczyk (DE) moved into the lead with the number 20 car during the night. Jens Klingmann (DE) and Dominik Baumann (AT) were then embroiled in a hard-fought three-car battle with a Mercedes and an Audi. The quartet was running third when the car was handed over to Claudia Hürtgen (DE) after almost 15 hours of racing.

The race was already over by this point for the other three works-assisted BMW Z4 GT3s. The race came to a premature end for the two BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS cars in its tenth hour. First to crash out was the number 25 car. Marco Wittmann (DE) was hit by another car in the Pflanzgarten section of the track and was pushed into the crash barriers. Wittmann and his colleagues Maxime Martin (BE), Jörg Müller (DE) und Uwe Alzen (DE) had previously managed to fight their way back into the leading group following an early spin.

A short time later, a similar fate struck the number 26 car. Bas Leinders (BE) came off the track while attempting to avoid hitting other cars. The resulting damage to the BMW Z4 GT3 was so serious that it was impossible to continue. Leinders, Markus Palttala (FI), Nick Catsburg (NL) and Dirk Adorf (DE) were in the midst of a fightback, having lost time and places with a technical problem at around midnight. The number 19 BMW Sports Trophy Team Schubert car, with Dirk Werner (DE), Lucas Luhr (DE), Dirk Müller (DE) and Alexander Sims (DE) at the wheel, suffered a damaged suspension and was forced to retire in the fourth hour of the race.

The two BMW Z4 GT3s fielded by the Walkenhorst Motorsport team are running 15th and 16th overall. The BMW M235i Racing with the appropriate start number 235, driven by Alexander Mies (DE), former MotoGP rider Alex Hofmann (DE), and journalists Marcus Schurig (DE) and Jethro Bovingdon (GB), is 56th. The Adrenalin Motorsport team leads the BMW M235i Racing Cup class.

Quotes from the BMW drivers after 15 hours.

Dominik Baumann (BMW Sports Trophy Team Schubert, #20):
“I drove through dawn, so I had happy hour with good light and relatively few cars on the track. My stint was good. I was able to lap consistently on the soft tyres and did not have any problems of note. I was easily able to keep pace with the other cars in the leading group. The battle for the lead is incredibly tight, but everything is still running smoothly.”

Jens Klingmann (BMW Sports Trophy Team Schubert, #20):
“I am very happy that we are still among the front-runners. The car is good and smooth to drive, which gives us great hope for the rest of the race. I always love driving in the night. It takes a lap to get used to it, but then you find your rhythm and can enjoy it. I spotted some smoke here and there, so I had the smell of barbecued sausages in my nose. The atmosphere is superb and it is great fun.”

Marco Wittmann (BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS, #25):
“I was hit on the rear right of the car and spun off into the crash barriers. The contact damaged the car to such an extent that we had to retire from the race. It is a massive shame for everyone in the team. We had good pace and were performing well. We had fought our way back into the leading group and were very confident. However, 24 hours is a long time and you have to get through to the finish. It is a huge shame. We had spent a long time preparing intensely for the race. The team had worked hard and the cars were perfect.”

Bas Leinders (BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS, #26):
“It is obviously very disappointing. Marco was unlucky that a slower car made a mistake and hit him. My crash came about when I tried to avoid a car that had been forced to swerve to avoid two slow cars. You know that this kind of thing can happen on the Nordschleife, as it is very narrow, you are travelling quickly, and there is a big difference in speed between all the different cars. We will regroup and prepare for the Spa 24 Hours.”

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