Nurburgring 24h: Porsche leads Mercedes after 18 hours
With six hours remaining in the Nurburgring 24 Hours, the sole remaining Manthey Porsche holds a narrow advantage over the best of the Mercedes runners.
Rain hit the Nordschleife not long after the demise of the #911 Porsche 911 GT3 R, and with eight-and-a-half hours left on the clock the sister #912 Manthey Racing car had a scare when Nick Tandy tapped a backmarker and spun.
That necessitated a trip to the pits for a replacement door and nose repairs, but the car was able to continue and became locked in a lead battle with the #4 Black Falcon Mercedes AMG-GT3.
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Dirk Muller completed a nine-lap stint in the #4 car before finally pitting just before 0930 local time, handing the lead back to Patrick Pilet in the #912 Porsche. The gap between the pair had been a little over a minute until Muller pitted and now stands at more than two minutes in Pilet's favour.
Just two other cars remained on the lead lap with eight hours remaining: the #1 Land Motorsport Audi R8 LMS of Kelvin van der Linde and the #7 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 of Marco Sorensen. Van der Linde was more than eight minutes off the lead.
Another two Black Falcon Mercedes cars, the #6 of Gabriele Piana and the #5 of Yelmer Buurman, completed the top six runners, a lap down, followed by Frederic Vervisch in the #3 Audi.
Among the frontrunners to drop out of contention in the night were the #98 ROWE Racing BMW M6 GT3, which suffered a drive-by-wire failure, and the #47 HTP Mercedes after a crash for Dani Juncadella.
UPDATE: A major crash for van der Linde at Hohe Acht has resulted in the #1 Audi dropping out of third place. The #7 Aston Martin has inherited the place, and remains the final car on the lead lap.
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