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Storm brings out red flag after 50 minutes of the Nürburgring 24 Hours – BMW M6 GT3 running second.

The 2016 Nürburgring 24 Hours (DE) endured an eventful start: the endurance classic in the Eifel Mountains began at 15:30, in dry conditions and with a field featuring 40 BMW racing cars. However, the 44th staging of the race was red flagged just 50 minutes later after hail and heavy rain had transformed the Nordschleife into a dangerously slippery cross between a water slide and an ice rink.

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Nürburgring (DE), 28th May 2016. The 2016 Nürburgring 24 Hours (DE) endured an eventful start: the endurance classic in the Eifel Mountains began at 15:30, in dry conditions and with a field featuring 40 BMW racing cars. However, the 44th staging of the race was red flagged just 50 minutes later after hail and heavy rain had transformed the Nordschleife into a dangerously slippery cross between a water slide and an ice rink.

After an exciting start, with no major incidents, the number 18 BMW M6 GT3, with Jörg Müller (DE) at the wheel, was running second and embroiled in a close battle with the leading Mercedes. Four of the six BMW M6 GT3s in the field were in the top 15. Then came the bad weather front, which left many cars stranded out on the track. Some cars made it back to the pit lane under their own steam, others were towed back.

The 24-hour race is still suspended at the moment.

Quotes from the drivers after the start:

Jörg Müller (Schubert Motorsport, number 18 BMW M6 GT3):
“I have seen a lot on the Nordschleife, but hail is a new one – even for me. I have never seen a track here covered in ice in May. The storm came out of nowhere. I was doing 60 km/h when I went off, and only touched the brakes very lightly. The next thing I knew, the car was aquaplaning. I am very happy with the decision to suspend the race.”

Martin Tomczyk (Schubert Motorsport, number 100 BMW M6 GT3):
“That is the Nordschleife for you. We knew that something like this was going to happen. However, it came as quite a surprise that ice started to fall from the skies so early in the race. My wheels were spinning and I simply could not get up the Fuchsröhre section. Unbelievable. The car is okay.”

Dirk Werner (ROWE Racing, number 23 BMW M6 GT3):
“At first it was just heavy rain, then it turned to hail – I have never seen anything like it. It was just impossible to continue. We were really lucky that the car was not damaged.”

Klaus Graf (ROWE Racing, number 22 BMW M6 GT3):
“I am speechless. That was incredible. I am just happy that we came through that situation in one piece. I was the first in my group to arrive at Schwedenkreuz – and there was nothing I could do. By the time I hit the clutch, it was already too late.”

Christian Krognes (Walkenhorst Motorsport powered by Dunlop, number 999 BMW M6 GT3):
“Even by Nordschleife standards, today was extreme. It was great that the team had already given me wet-weather tyres when I came into the pits before the storm. Our car did not pick up so much as a scratch. Despite this, the stewards still stopped us, as the track was blocked.”

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Current positions at the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring:

#18 BMW M6 GT3, Schubert Motorsport, 2nd place

Augusto Farfus (BR), Jesse Krohn (FI), Jörg Müller (DE), Marco Wittmann (DE)

#22 BMW M6 GT3, ROWE Racing, 5th place

Klaus Graf (DE), Richard Westbrook (GB), Nicky Catsburg (NL), Markus Palttala (FI)

#23 BMW M6 GT3, ROWE Racing, 11th place

Alexander Sims (GB), Philipp Eng (AT), Maxime Martin (BE), Dirk Werner (DE)

#100 BMW M6 GT3, Schubert Motorsport, 15th place

John Edwards (US), Jens Klingmann (DE), Lucas Luhr (DE), Martin Tomczyk (DE)

#101 Walkenhorst Motorsport powered by Dunlop, 22nd place

Matias Henkola (FI), Kazunori Yamauchi (JP), Max Sandritter (DE), George Richardson (GB)

#999 Walkenhorst Motorsport powered by Dunlop, 34th place

Victor Bouveng (SE), Tom Blomqvist (GB), Christian Krognes (NO), Michele di Martino (DE)

#99 BMW Z4 GT3, Walkenhorst Motorsport powered by Dunlop, 26th place

Henry Walkenhorst (DE), Peter Posavac (DE), Daniela Schmid (DE), Jaap van Lagen (NL)

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