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Nurburgring 24 Hours result upheld after Rowe Racing appeal fails

Scherer Sport Phx Audi squad retains its Nurburgring 24 Hours victory after DMSB rejects appeal from BMW rival Rowe Racing

Winners #16 Scherer Sport PHX Audi R8 LMS GT3 evo II: Frank Stippler, Christopher Mies, Ricardo Feller, Dennis Marschall

Winners #16 Scherer Sport PHX Audi R8 LMS GT3 evo II: Frank Stippler, Christopher Mies, Ricardo Feller, Dennis Marschall

Photo by: Gruppe C GmbH

Rowe Racing's appeal against the result of the Nurburgring 24 Hour race has failed, ensuring Scherer Sport Phx drivers Christopher Mies, Dennis Marschall, Frank Stippler and Ricardo Feller remain victorious.

Following a race that was ended prematurely by fog that had caused the race to be stopped for 14 hours overnight before a final attempt at restarting proved abortive, the Audi crew was cleared the winner in the Intercontinental GT Challenge event.

However the Rowe BMW team announced that it wanted to challenge the result before the appeal court of the German Motor Sport Association (DMSB) in Frankfurt, after its on-site protest was rejected.

The main issue was the race management's justification for ending the race in accordance with Article 22 of the DMSB circuit regulations, which Rowe Racing felt was misused.

It argued that only the red flag should have been used to end the race with 54 minutes left on the clock, but the appeal court saw things differently.

"In justification, the court, chaired by Rainer Wicke, stated orally that the race had been correctly ended with the black-and-white checkered flag," a DMSB statement read.

"Since the race director is fundamentally responsible for preventing harm to participants and other participants in the event and Walter Hornung is considered one of the leading motorsport experts in the field of safety, particularly on the Nurburgring Nordschleife, he was able to end the race after 50 laps within the scope of his authority."

Article 22 of the DMSB circuit regulations states: "If the checkered flag is shown early, this point in time is decisive for the classification."

Podium: Winner #16 Scherer Sport PHX Audi R8 LMS GT3 evo II: Frank Stippler, Christopher Mies, Ricardo Feller, Dennis Marschall, second place #911 Manthey EMA Porsche 911 GT3 R (992): Laurens Vanthoor, Thomas Preining, Kevin Estre, Ayhancan Güven, third place #72 BMW M Team RMG  BMW M4 GT3: Daniel Harper, Max Hesse, Charles Weerts

Podium: Winner #16 Scherer Sport PHX Audi R8 LMS GT3 evo II: Frank Stippler, Christopher Mies, Ricardo Feller, Dennis Marschall, second place #911 Manthey EMA Porsche 911 GT3 R (992): Laurens Vanthoor, Thomas Preining, Kevin Estre, Ayhancan Güven, third place #72 BMW M Team RMG BMW M4 GT3: Daniel Harper, Max Hesse, Charles Weerts

Photo by: Gruppe C GmbH

Hornung told Autosport's sister website Motorsport-Total.com that he was informed by a weather station that conditions would improve between 2:00 and 2:15 pm, but when this did not transpire by 2:30 pm, "this made my trust in this weather station even smaller".

As soon as the decision against a restart was announced, the fog finally lifted for the first time in more than 15 hours but it was too late.

Rowe team principal Hans-Peter Naundorf protested in the belief that his BMW M4 GT3 #98 of Raffaele Marciello, Maxime Martin, Marco Wittmann and Augusto Farfus would have won the race if a red flag had been shown instead.

This would have meant that two laps would have to be counted back and the remaining minimum pit stop times would have had to be added. This would have given all vehicles placed ahead of the Rowe BMW #98 an additional time of 95 seconds, as they had completed three laps since the last stop under red flags.

However, the placement of the finish line on the track meant its protest was based on a false assumption from the start.

Vehicles that drive into the pits cross the finish line first and only then complete their pit stop; the Rowe BMW crossed the start-finish line in the pit lane on lap 48, but only completed its pit stop on lap 49, a few meters further on.

The stewards also came to this conclusion when dealing with the protest on site and argued that Rowe Racing would not have had an advantage if the race had been counted after 48 laps.

The DMSB information now confirms this view: "In addition, calculations by the organiser had shown that even if the red flag had been used on the 50th lap, the result would not have been any different, since the 48th lap would then have been used as the basis for the calculation."

Rowe's argument in court that the cool-down lap should be counted as the 51st lap was also dismissed by the DMSB on the basis that it would "not have been suitable as a basis for a result".

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