Nurburgring 24 Hours: Opel wins as Audi falls short

The raging battle between Audi and Opel for victory in the Nurburgring 24 Hours was decided in favour of Opel after the lead Audi required a gearbox change with less than four hours of the race remaining. It was a famous victory for Opel, achieved in front of a massive 194,000-strong crowd

Nurburgring 24 Hours: Opel wins as Audi falls short

The Abt Sportsline TT-R of Nissen/Abt/Wendlinger/Werner was stranded in the garage for 46 minutes, allowing the Opel of Reuter/Scheider/Tiemann/Strycek to race clear. The Opel had done well to make up lost ground after a 15 minute stop to replace its alternator at 4am, following a gravelly off earlier this morning had caused a stone to break its belt. Marcel Tiemann lapped in an incredible 9m04s after that to catch up with the Audi, a time just four seconds off the pole position, and the car ran like clockwork for the remainder of the race.

The Zakspeed Dodge Viper of Zakowski/Lamy/Lechner should have taken at least second place, but ended the race down in fifth. It first received a five-lap penalty for running a larger fuel tank than the regulations demanded, and was then slapped with an extra 45-minute punishment. The team says it will appeal the penalty, with Peter Zakowski saying: "I have never experienced such a thing in my life. To put a penalty like this on us is just not fair at all."

A brace of Porsche 996s finished third and fourth, with the Manthey-run version of Luhr/Collard/Bernhard beating the Grohs/Schamarch/Fischer/Reisert car.

The BMW fightback was a feature of the race after both its cars broke down on the opening lap yesterday. Although the Stuck/Said/Nielsen/Duez car crashed out in the wee small hours, but the J Muller/D Muller/Hurtgen/Duez machine was on course for sixth, but Dirk crashed out with just over an hour remaining after a collision with a backmarker.


Reuter/Scheider/Tiemann/Strycek Opel Astra V8 Coupe, 143 laps
Nissen/Abt/Wendlinger/Werner Abt Audi TT-R, +4 laps
Grohs/Schamarch/Fischer/Reisert Porsche 996, +5 laps
Luhr/Collard/Bernhard Porsche 996 Turbo, +7 laps
Zakowski/Lamy/Lechner Dodge Viper, +8 laps
Scheid/Kainz/Merten BMW M3, +9 laps

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