The Porsche Motorsport customer teams have made a good start after the restart of the Nürburgring 24-hour race. During his first stint, Norway’s Dennis Olsen initially battled his way up to third place. He shares KCMG’s 911 GT3 R No. 18 with Porsche ambassador Timo Bernhard as well as Jörg Bergmeister (both Germany) and works driver Earl Bamber (New Zealand). The vehicle, however, was given a 32-second penalty due to a pit stop error. Frikadelli Racing’s No. 31 Porsche driven by Maxime Martin (Belgium) and Lance David Arnold (Germany) has also moved up into the first five. At the restart they were running in tenth place and are supported by Porsche works driver Mathieu Jaminet (France) and Lars Kern (Germany).
The endurance classic had to be halted at around 11.15 pm due to heavy rain. At 8 am on Sunday morning, all seven 911 GT3 R began turning their laps again on the still-wet 25.378-kilometre combination of the Grand Prix circuit and the Nordschleife. By 11.30 am and with four hours remaining on the clock, five of them are still running within the same lap as the leader. But then the No. 19 vehicle was involved in an accident while lapping another vehicle and had to retire.
Comments with four hours to go
Sebastian Golz (Project Manager Porsche 911 GT3 R): “After the restart, Dennis Olsen and Maxime Martin put in a strong stint. When the weather changed, we didn’t find the optimal tyre and air pressure combination and lost a lot of time in the second stint. Now we have to pull out all stops and push everyone involved to the limit. The name of the game at a 24-hour race is to survive the 24 hours. Anything can happen in the ‘Green Hell’.”
Dennis Olsen (Porsche 911 GT3 R #18): “Things went really well for us after the restart. I made up places and moved into third on the drying track. During the pit stop, we decided we didn’t want to take any risks so we opted again for the full wet tyres. Unfortunately, that was the wrong choice at that point and we lost a bit of time. Now we’re back on the right racing and tyre strategy.”
Maxime Martin (Porsche 911 GT3 R #31): “The first stint was good, despite the tough competition out there on the track. Our Porsche ran perfectly. We had a decent pace and I was able to catch the leaders and make up positions. However, we mounted the wrong tyres during the pit stop and lost ground again. That’s how it goes sometimes in racing. My apologies again for nudging the No. 19 Porsche.”
Dirk Werner (Porsche 911 GT3 R #33): “The restart of the race was rather unspectacular for me, but difficult despite the predictable conditions. At first, I didn’t have any grip and slid around a lot. That’s why I couldn’t maintain the pace. Initially, the Nordschleife was totally wet, then there was less and less water on the track.”