Octane126 took its maiden Nürburgring win in the second race of the VLN Nürburgring Endurance Series doubleheader weekend. After an on-track pass for the lead in the final laps, Björn Grossmann in the #26 Octane126 Ferrari 488 GT3 he shared with Jonathan Hirschi, Simon Trummer and Luca Ludwig withstood the pressure from Adam Christodoulou in the #16 Mercedes-AMG Team HRT Mercedes-AMG GT3 to give Ferrari its first Nordschleife win since 2017.
Update 23:59: Octane126 has been disqualified from the win after technical inspection. Haupt Racing Team is now the provisional winner. READ MORE.
Click HERE to read what happened in the first half of the race.
After moving into the lead when the early stoppers made their final pitstop with 50 minutes left in the 52. ADAC Barbarossapreis, Haupt Racing Team pushed the #16 Mercedes-AMG Team HRT Mercedes-AMG GT3’s stint one lap further. Using the shorter minimum pitstop time to its advantage, the former Black Falcon crew sent Adam Christodoulou out of the pits with 3 seconds to spare to Björn Grossmann in the #26 Octane126 Ferrari 488 GT3.
The Mercedes-AMG just a stone’s throw away was like a red rag to a bull for the Ferrari driver as within two laps Grossmann was all over the back of Christodoulou, pushing the Brit forward. Seeing the Mercedes-AMG get stuck in traffic at Flugplatz, Grossmann made his move and took the lead with 15 minutes to go.
However, Grossmann could not rid himself of Christodoulou, who put the Swiss under massive pressure as they went onto the Nordschleife for the final time. Despite the high-beaming Mercedes-AMG in his mirrors, Grossmann stood his ground. Coming onto the Döttinger Höhe straight the Ferrari had just a large enough gap to keep the Mercedes-AMG out of its slipstream, ensuring victory as Grossmann took the chequered flag.
Christodoulou crossed the finish line 0.728 seconds behind Grossmann for the team’s third podium finish in as many races.
Audi Sport Team Car Collection capped off a long race weekend in which the team also raced in the 24H Series at Monza with a third place. The #32 Audi R8 LMS GT3 driven by Markus Winkelhock, Christopher Haase and Mirko Bortolotti worked its way up through the field from seventh on the grid.
David Pittard secured fourth place for the #34 Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 shared with Christian Krognes by closing an eight-second gap to Mattia Drudi in the last laps and overtaking the Italian on the final lap.
Drudi was also beaten at the line by Raffaele Marciello for fifth place. The two Italians drag raced out of the Hohenrain chicane to the flag with the #2 Mercedes-AMG Team GetSpeed Mercedes-AMG GT3 (Raffaele Marciello/Maximilian Götz) nosing 0.018 seconds in front of the #29 Audi Sport Team Land Audi R8 LMS GT3 driven by Drudi, Christopher Mies and Kelvin van der Linde.
The top ten was completed by the #42 BMW Team Schnitzer BMW M6 GT3 (Martin Tomczyk/Sheldon van der Linde) in seventh, #17 Mercedes-AMG Team HRT (Hubert Haupt/Yelmer Buurman/Nico Bastian) in eighth, #18 KCMG Porsche 991.2 GT3R (Romain Dumas/Patrick Pilet/Dennis Olsen) in ninth, and #5 Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 (Frank Stippler/Vincent Kolb/Richard Westbrook) closing out in tenth.
The fourth VLN Nürburgring Endurance Series race of the season takes place on 1st August with the 43. RCM DMV Grenzlandrennen.