The first qualifying session for the Nürburgring 24 Hours on Thursday lunchtime saw the usual cautious start as drivers, ever keen not to find themselves in the barriers so early on, tiptoed around a wet but drying Nordschleife.
Of the 125 cars on the entry list, all but three posted a lap time and by 2pm there were five different manufacturers making up the top 10 in a largely uneventful session.
It was the #6 Mercedes-AMG Team HRT Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo driven by Patrick Assenheimer, Nico Bastian, Maro Engel and Hubert Haupt that came out on top. It was Engel and Bastian who shared the opening session and with Bastian taking the lions share of the track time he clocked a time of 8.23.596 which was enough to take the top spot ahead of Dennis Olsen in the #31 Frikadelli Porsche.
With the car carrying a tribute to the late Sabine Schmitz, Olsen was 0.2 seconds behind Bastian but only driving 3 laps in the session it was enough to keep within touching distance of the leading Mercedes. Patrick Pilet took the majority of the laps driving for over 43 minutes compared to Olsen and Maxime Martin who needed just 12 minutes each to acquaint themselves with the Porsche. Fred Makowiecki makes up the foursome but the Frenchman didn’t make an appearance in this session.
P3 went to the #2 Audi Sport Team Car Collection Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo with Markus Winkelhock and Christopher Haase putting the times in ahead of teammates Nico Müller and Patric Niederhauser. It was Haase who got the time of 8:24.841 on his third lap having taken two laps to get a feel for the course before handing over to Winkelhock and then going back out for his third stint to set the time on the now dry track.
With no major incidents or stoppages all the teams will be in good shape preparing for qualifying 2 which starts at 20:30 CET and can viewed live here on GT REPORT.
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