Nurburgring 24 Hours: Late rain hands Team Land Audi surprise win

Kelvin van der Linde snatched an unlikely victory on the final lap of the Nurburgring 24 Hours after a sudden downpour played into the Team Land Audi's hands

Nurburgring 24 Hours: Late rain hands Team Land Audi surprise win

The long-time race leader was dealt a cruel hand just before the final hour when the #29 Audi slowed on track with an electrical fault.

He crawled back to the pits for a full system reset that allowed Rene Rast to steer the #9 WRT Audi into what seemed an easy run to victory.

The #29 Audi eventually returned to the track in third behind the #98 Rowe BMW that had put itself in podium contention after a superb stint from Alexander Sims earlier.

But the race then turned on its head at the final pitstops.

Slick stops for Rast and the #98 BMW returned them to the track on slicks, but a loose fuel cap delayed van der Linde and the team quickly decided to put him on wet tyres.

It proved an inspired choice when the rain fell and the leading Audi and BMW was forced into the pits for wet tyres, allowing van der Linde to return to the lead and take the win in the car he shared with Markus Winklehock, Christopher Mies and Connor De Phillippi.

The #98 BMW of Nicky Catsburg - sharing with Sims, Richard Westbrook and Markkus Palttala - also passed Rast on the last tour, completing a weekend in which Castburg took podiums in both the 24 hour race and the World Touring Car Championship.

Behind Rast's Audi was the #42 Team Schnitzer BMW after consolidating its position through Sunday morning.

Fifth fell to the 2016 race winning #1 Black Falcon Mercedes, with Frikadelli Racing Team's Porsche 911 GT3 R taking an opportunistic sixth.

The top 10 had looked spread out until the wet weather changed the dynamic of the race, but one constant was the battle for seventh between the Team Falken entry driven by Stef Dusseldorp and Tom Onslow Cole's Shubert car.

The Falken car had looked set for a podium finish overnight before a puncture after contact with the Walkenhorst Z4 dropped it down the order and into the clutches of Onslow-Cole.

Onslow-Cole finally found a way past late in the final hour, but rear damage to his car - suffered when he crashed in the wet while still on slick tyres - dropped him to 12th.

The Falken BMW would prove unable to hold onto seventh, as the Wochenspiegel Ferrari 458 GT3 sealed the position after running on the fringes of the top 10 throughout.

One of the biggest losers in the wet was the #8 HTP Motorsport Mercedes, falling from sixth down to ninth ahead of the #99 Rowe BMW late on.

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