Third race, third victory: Jordan Lee Pepper is the first…
Phoenix Racing has won the 42nd ADAC Zurich 24h Race at the Nürburgring. At the end of an exciting race including a total of 32 first position changes, Christopher Haase / Christian Mamerow / Rene Rast / Markus Winkelhock powered their Audi R8 LMS ultra #4 to victory, followed by Jeroen Bleekemolen / Andreas Simonsen / Christian Menzel / Lance David Arnold in the #1 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 of last year’s winners Black Falcon.
In addition to winning the race, the Phoenix Racing squad established a new distance record by completing 159 laps on the 25.378-kilometre combination of GP circuit and Nordschleife, representing a total mileage of 4,035.102 kilometres. Rounding out the podium was Michael Zehe / Christian Hohenadel / Nico Bastian / Maro Engel in the Rowe Racing #22 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3.
“A fantastic success in our home race,” beamed Phoenix Racing Team Principal Ernst Moser, after the squad’s fourth triumph in Eifel classic. “And I’m particularly proud of the fact that we prevailed against the arguably toughest competition in the history of this trace.” In the early morning hours, the battle forth lead reached its climax. At the end of lap 102, the Black-Falcon-Mercedes #1 und the Phoenix-Audi #4 crossed the line side by side. In the end, the supercar from Ingolstadt took the lead to afterwards extend it consistently. After the triumph at Le Mans, this was the second Audi win within a week. “We gave our very best to repeat last year’s success,” said Black Falcon driver Lance David Arnold, “But in the end we were pipped. It goes without saying that we are disappointed right now but I think that we may be happy with having finished runner-up, in the end.”
The excitement of the event began during Top-30 Qualifying, as Frenchman Kevin Estre stunned the crowd with a incredible 8:10.921-minute lap, establishing a new qualifying record time in the #66 McLaren MP4-12C GT3.
From the start, the race provided exactly what the motor-racing enthusiasts on hand had hoped for: enthralling battles for positions on the most beautiful and challenging racetrack of the world. In the opening stages, the race was dominated by the pole sitting McLaren, however as the #66 pitted at the end of lap four, the BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS BMW Z4 GT3 #25 took the lead.
Following a tumultuous first hour, things calmed down slightly, however much to the delight of the huge crowd in attendance around the circuit this didn’t make an impact on the excitement. Again and again, cars at the very top were passed for the lead, while the battles for the positions behind the leaders were just as close.