The new Scirocco GT24 continues to lead the class for cars with two-litre turbo engines and is eleventh overall in the field of 219 cars after three-quarters of the 24-hour race around the Nürburgring.
After 18 hours of hard fought racing in the well represented class, Jimmy Johansson (S), Florian Gruber (D), Thomas Mutsch (D) and Hans-Joachim Stuck (A) led the sister car of rally aces Carlos Sainz (E), Giniel de Villiers (RSA), Dieter Depping (D) and again Hans-Joachim Stuck (A), who were 17th overall. The third Scirocco driven by Dr Ulrich Hackenberg (D), Volkswagen Board of Management of the Volkswagen Brand with responsibility for Development, and the journalists Bernd Ostmann (D) and Matthias Malmedie (D) and Nürburgring specialist Altfrid Heger occupied fifth position and 38th overall at this time.
The Natural Gas powered R-Line Golf GTI of German quartet Thomas Klenke, Kai Jordan, Mario Merten and Peter Terting, which had moved up to 17th place over night, was in the pits six hours before the chequered flag – a piece of debris damaged the gearbox housing at the Döttinger Höhe and thus made a time consuming gearbox change necessary.
Kris Nissen, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
“We can be satisfied with the current positions: The new Scirocco now leads its class by a large after 18 hours. The rain during the night was difficult to handle and our strategy based on consistency and not taking unnecessary risk has paid off. We’ve had a good race up to now, but it isn’t over till the chequered flag falls. We changed the servo-pump on the steering after about 17 hours as it was getting worse and worse. The team only needed 16 minutes 44 seconds – a fantastic performance.”
#116 – Volkswagen Scirocco GT24 – silver identification – 5th in class
Dr Ulrich Hackenberg (D): “Our race has run very well up to now. The cars really are beautifully prepared and the team is well organised. Now we’ll keep our fingers crossed for the final six hours.”
Altfrid Heger (D): “The more laps I do with the Scirocco the more fun it is – even though it was sometimes really difficult on the wet or damp track. I ran out of road once but luckily I was on the Grand Prix circuit at the time.”
Bernd Ostmann (D): “The conditions during the night were not exactly easy. The problem with the servo steering getting steadily worse also didn’t really make things easier for us.”
Matthias Malmedie (D): “I started my stint in the dry on slicks, but unfortunately it started to rain shortly after. After changing to rain tyres it was great fun overtaking so many cars.”
#117 – Volkswagen Scirocco GT24 – orange identification – 2nd in class
Carlos Sainz (E): “Just as I was overtaking a car in front the driver probably hadn’t seen me and we touched. I had to drive slowly back to the pits with a puncture. The repair and suspension set-up cost us more than 15 minutes. We then lost more time because of a Stop-and-Go penalty because I had apparently overtaken under yellow.”
Giniel de Villiers (RSA): “It’s very difficult to see in some parts of the Nordschleife in the dark. I had a scary moment at the Döttinger Höhe when another driver hadn’t seen me and almost collided with me.”
Dieter Depping (D): “The rain during the night made things very difficult and there were several accidents around the Nordschleife. The race ABS fitted to our Scirocco gave us enough extra performance to overtake off the clean line and save lots of time as a result.”
Hans-Joachim Stuck (A): “I drove almost two hours in one go during the night. Our Scirocco is running superbly and the other competitors were very cooperative. The race is a lot of fun.”
#118 – Volkswagen Scirocco GT24 – yellow identification – 1st in class
Jimmy Johansson (S): “I only managed to sleep for 30 minutes between my stints, but I feel top fit and am more than satisfied. We are leading our class and are edging towards the top-ten. It can continue like this all the way to the flag.”
Florian Gruber (D): “A faulty fuse stopped us from leaving the pits just as it started to rain heavier. After the problem had been solved the team had already fitted rain tyres which saved us making an extra stop – a blessing in disguise.”
Thomas Mutsch (D): “Everything is fine. During the night I started by taking things a little easier on the damp track. After sunrise it was huge fun – I would have preferred to drive even longer.”