Mercedes-AMG takes pole position and further top grid positions for Nürburgring 24-hour race
Driving the #9 Mercedes-AMG GT3 of the AMG-Team BLACK FALCON, Maro Engel (GER) posted the fastest time of 8 minutes 14.515 seconds.
Nürburgring (GER) - Everything is in place for a successful ADAC Zurich 24h-Rennen Nürburgring: during the Top 30 qualifying in the evening, for which all eight Mercedes-AMG GT3 had qualified, the teams secured starting grid positions 1, 3, 4, 9, 11, 14, 17 and 26. In the thrilling time trials, held in difficult track conditions, the performance brand from Affalterbach had the largest contingent of vehicles from all manufacturers. Driving the #9 Mercedes-AMG GT3 of the AMG-Team BLACK FALCON, Maro Engel (GER) posted the fastest time of 8 minutes 14.515 seconds.
Changeable conditions made their mark on the practice and qualifying sessions for the 44th running of the Nürburgring 24-hour race. After rain during Thursday’s night qualifying, the teams with the Mercedes-AMG GT3 used the dry track on Friday morning for an impressive hunt for fast lap times: at the end of the session, six cars from Affalterbach were among the top eight in the combined results of both qualifying sessions. Thus, all Mercedes-AMG GT3 had also made it into the concluding Top 30 qualifying.
In the decisive time trials for the best Nordschleife teams, the weather added to the excitement once again: on a partly damp track, there were turbulent situations and retirements right at the beginning of the Top 30 qualifying. Unfazed by the turmoil, the teams with the Mercedes-AMG GT3 managed to get themselves into very good positions for tomorrow’s Nürburgring 24-hour race. First and foremost Maro Engel (GER) with the #9 AMG-Team BLACK FALCON entry, who claimed a dominant pole position. The 30-year-old was the first driver to take on the Top 30 qualifying and initially dropped back a few positions during his first warm-up lap. Later on, he benefitted as the track dried out more and more and with his time of 8 minutes 14.515 seconds, he was over 1.5 seconds faster than the second-placed team. With his fastest time, Maro Engel also secured the inaugural Glickenhaus Trophy.
The HARIBO Racing Team-AMG’s two Mercedes-AMG GT3 secured the slots on the second row of the grid: driving the #88 car, Maximilian Götz (GER) completed his 25.378 kilometres long lap of the Grand Prix circuit and the legendary Nordschleife with the third-fastest time, closely followed by his team-mate Uwe Alzen (GER) with the #8 Mercedes-AMG GT3 in fourth place.
Driven by Christian Hohenadel (GER), the AMG-Team HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 with starting number #29 will line up ninth on the grid for tomorrow’s endurance race. Stefan Mücke (GER) is following with the team’s sister car (#30) in eleventh place. The MANN-FILTER Team ZAKSPEED was unfortunate: Luca Ludwig (GER) slid off the track with the #75 Mercedes-AMG GT3 on a damp patch at Eschbach, but was able to continue his Top 30 qualifying and came home with a creditable 14th place. Rounding out the good performance of the Mercedes-AMG GT3 are Adam Christodoulou (GBR) in 17th place with the #4 AMG-Team BLACK FALCON car and 26th place for Indy Dontje (NED) with the #14 BLACK FALCON entry.
Tobias Moers, Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-AMG GmbH: “Of course, conditions in the Top 30 qualifying were really demanding. Given these circumstances, a big compliment to our drivers. They have proven to take the right decisions and put in a great performance. I am very proud of the entire crew and I am obviously very happy with the fact that Maro put our new Mercedes-AMG GT3 on pole position for tomorrow.”
Maro Engel, AMG-Team BLACK FALCON #9: “Many thanks to the team, many thanks to AMG. Driving the Mercedes-AMG GT3 to pole position was great fun. I reckon that today, the key to success was that we were perfectly prepared for the conditions. The #9 has a clear view tomorrow, which is worth a lot in any case. I am mega happy.”
Uwe Alzen, HARIBO Racing Team-AMG #8: “A super lap! The times were good but, of course, conditions were difficult and parts of the track were still damp. With the yellow flags out in the uphill part towards Bergwerk, I drove very cautiously and I certainly lost some time there. However, both HARIBO cars are on the second row of the grid. I am very happy.”
Maximilian Götz, HARIBO Racing Team-AMG #88: “I didn’t take any risks on the lap, there were some sideways moments. Therefore, I didn’t want to take too many risks. Eventually, it was enough to put both HARIBO cars into third and fourth place. Of course, we want to stay there up front tomorrow.”
Christian Hohenadel, AMG-Team HTP Motorsport #29: “Getting the tyres to the right temperature on the first lap was really difficult, but the lap was quite good. On the second lap, it was difficult to push while also staying on the dry racing line. Personally, I am not entirely happy with the second lap, but there is still a long race ahead of us and we will see what can be done tomorrow.”
Jochen Bitzer, Head of AMG Customer Sports: “Congratulations to Maro and BLACK FALCON. In these conditions, they have chosen the right strategy and done a super job. All our Performance Teams are represented in the top ten. A very good situation for the race, but 24 hours are an extremely long distance."
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