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24 hour race – premature end in fog

24 hour race – premature end in fog

Rain clouds and the Eifel – they somehow belong together. But even before the start of the race, it had been raining so heavily for days that parking and camping sites became the biggest mud party in Germany. The fans at the Nordschleife sank into the green Eifel meadows with their tents, caravans and the elaborately constructed grandstands. The fact that, as in 2021, it was a foggy race with hours of interruption, which was finally canceled, created a special atmosphere. Ultimately, the race was restarted behind a leading vehicle shortly before the supposed end of the race, only to be finally neutralized shortly afterwards. The Scherer Team’s Audi R8 GT3 with starting number 16 (drivers Dennis Marschall, Ricardo Feller, Frank Stippler and Christopher Mies) was the touring car that had led the night and was ultimately the first to cross the finish line.

The two GT racers following behind, the Porsche 911 GT3 R (number 911, Laurens Vanthoor, Thomas Preining, Kevin Estre and Ayhancan Güven) of the Manthey team and the BMW M4 GT3 (number 72, Daniel Harper, Max Hesse and Charles Weerts) were no longer able to attack the leader. “I would like to thank all the fans who made this week a huge motorsport festival and celebrated the 24 Hours of Nürburgring with us despite all the vagaries of the weather,” said race director Walter Hornung, “I would like to thank the participants and teams for their understanding that we had to finish this special race in this way.” A few minutes after the premature end of the race, the fog cleared, which caused irritation among teams and many spectators alike.

Exciting until the fog

Before the fog-related interruption shortly before midnight, the 240,000 spectators had been able to watch an exciting race. Numerous overtaking maneuvers, accidents and freak weather provided the best entertainment despite the constant rain. The spectrum of fans could hardly have been more colorful. Some cheered the Dacia Logan, which had been completely written off and had been boosted to an impressive 280 hp, and which was little more than a traffic hazard for the other 130 participants, and not just in the Brünnchen section of the track. Here the yellow Porsche 911 GT3 R of the Manthey team, which everyone just calls Grello, thundered past. The BMW M4 GT3 with starting number 72 was on its tail, and just a few centimeters behind it was the eventual winner, the Audi R8 GT3. There were a handful of older BMW coupés, countless Cup Porsches, a Renault Megané and a Toyota Supra fueled with e-fuel. That is the 24-hour race in the Eifel. Volkswagen sent its new Golf GTI into the race and Mini even entered a prototype of the Cooper S JCW into one of the toughest endurance races in the world with the small Bulldog team.

Legendary PS Party

The 24-hour race at the Nürburgring is one like no other. Over the four days, more than 240,000 motorsport fans come – most of them camp, and this time it was anything but easy, because the weather had the Eifel firmly in its grip. But the constant rain of the past few weeks may have softened the ground in the countless camping and parking lots, but not the enthusiasm of the fans, because the visitors from all over Europe came anyway, as they do every year, and celebrated a party that could hardly be found anywhere else in the motorsport scene worldwide.

Every year they build their own grandstands by clearing out their own living rooms, build entire tent cities and the cricket giants have no need to hide from the big barbecue parties in the American South. Many fans come for a whole week, some extend their stay to the Rock am Ring festival afterwards and celebrate their annual holiday with the whole family, which this time is particularly rainy. Only those who take a tour of the campsites at Brünnchen, Wippermann or the Caracciola carousel will understand how crazy the fans really are. There are countless stories, myths and anecdotes about the Nordschleife, known as the Green Hell – in very different versions and new ones are added every year.

Fans and drivers meet

Alcohol consumption is almost as massive as the ingenuity of some fans. Many barely notice the racing action; others can hardly tear their eyes away from overtaking maneuvers when the cars thunder past just a few meters away during training runs and 24-hour races or 210 historic touring cars start in the supporting program. The drivers enjoy the atmosphere no less than the fans, because the winding ups and downs of the race track, overtaking maneuvers and the weather make the major event a unique challenge for everyone involved. This time, the bad weather again influenced the racing action far more than the camping fans. Tire choice, pit strategy and technical defects usually do the rest to ensure that hardly anyone can sleep. Except this year, because the fog, as in 2020/2021, made for an unusually quiet night.

Source: Stern

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