Nicky Catsburg, Esteban Guerrieri and Tiago Monteiro were among the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup drivers to star in the ADAC TOTAL 24h-Rennen, which took place following the WTCR Race of Germany double-header on the iconic 25.378-kilometre track.
In challenging conditions, Catsburg and team-mates Alexander Sims and Nick Yelloly took the outright victory in a BMW M3 GT6.
There was more WTCR-based success in the TCR category with Guerrieri and Monteiro winning for Team Castrol Honda Racing, the second year running that Monteiro and a Fugel Sport-run Honda Civic Type R had triumphed in the class.
Partnered by defending winners Dominik Fugel and Markus Oestreich, the crew made rapid progress from fourth on the TCR category grid, first in the hands of Oestreich and then Fugel as the Civic took an early lead.
Their fine work was continued by Monteiro and Guerrieri and, though the Argentinian briefly lost the lead during his first stint, he soon had it back as conditions deteriorated after nightfall.
By the time the race was halted approaching midnight the Civic was a lap clear of its closest rival – an advantage that was maintained when the race resumed after a suspension of more than nine hours, and was still intact come the finish, with Monteiro guiding the car home in the final stint to seal an emphatic victory.
“Wow! It's a fantastic experience once again to win this race,” said Portuguese driver Monteiro. “It felt much tougher this year, even though there was a longer red flag, because the conditions were very hard – there was lots of rain, it was very cold, very slippery, and our rivals were always on the same lap or just behind, pushing us to our limits. The team did a great job, the drivers were brilliant in every stint with no mistakes, and the car was amazing - we had no issues whatsoever during the race. I'm very proud of the win and particularly proud to be part of the Honda Racing family right now. Thank you to Honda, to Honda Germany, to Fugel, and to my team-mates. Once again I had the pleasure of driving during the day, during the night, and to bring the car to the finish. What an honour."
Guerrieri, who was making his ADAC 24h-Rennen debut, said: “I’m very happy to secure this victory – it was a great experience and a nice moment as a team when the car crossed the line. The race was tough, especially during my first stint. I would say it was one of the most difficult situations I have had behind the wheel because of the conditions we experienced – there was rain, fog, and plenty of cars crashing; the Nordschleife at that time was certainly the Green Hell! The Sunday morning was still intense because we were in a straight fight with our main rival, so we needed to push quite a bit. But victory was a brilliant reward for the team’s efforts, and made a really enjoyable race – not only because of the result, but because of the experience – even sweeter.”
WTCR Rookie Driver award contender Luca Engstler finished fourth in the TCR class after the Hyundai i30 N TCR he was sharing with Antti Buri, Manuel Lauck and Hari Proczyk was black-flagged for exceeding circuit noise limits, the lengthy stoppage allowing the issue to be remedied prior to the restart.
Tom Coronel, who enjoyed another strong WTCR weekend with fifth and eighth in the two races, also took part in the ADAC 24h-Rennen but was down in P76 at the finish.
Photo:Torsten Weigl/Honda Germany