2015-winner Laurens Vanthoor ran quickest in the first qualifying session of the 2016 Nürburgring 24 Hours in the #1 WRT Audi R8 LMS. The Belgian set a time of 8:21.951 with two hours left, moments before heavy rain put an end to the quick times being set by the frontrunners.
Second quickest was the #16 Twin Busch Audi R8, with René Rast setting a 8:23.166 which was good enough to go top of the screens for a time, but 1.2 seconds off the eventual quickest time.
The Busch Audi was however the first of the 13 cars that hadn’t qualified for the Top 30 Qualifying prior to the event.
Team Zakspeed’s #75 Mercedes AMG GT3 (another car needing to qualify for the Top 30) ended the three and a half hour session which ran into the night third overall. Luca Ludwig set the Merc’s quickest time, 8:23.300.
Fourth on the screens was the #6 Phoenix Racing Audi of Christopher Haase, René Rast, Markus Winkelhock and Frank Stippler, with the fastest BMW – the #18 Schubert Motorsport M6- bookending the top 5.
The first of the non-SP9 runners made it into the top 20 in the session. The SPX class-leading #701 Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus SCG003C set a 8:26.435, which was good enough for 15th with Jeroen Bleekemolen aboard.
Rain started to fall at the start of the session, but it was light and cleared up quickly resulting in the times tumbling after an hour of running when conditions improved. But with two hours to go, the rain came down hard, making the circuit treacherous until the end.
Of the visible incidents out on track, the #9 Dodge Viper was seen circulating the GP Loop with smoke bellowing out of its exhausts and the #101 PlayStation Walkenhorst BMW M6 had an off with Max Sandlotter driving, damaging the front-right corner of the car; though it did appear on track again.
Aside from a few spins caused by the rain, thankfully there were no major off track excursions.
Qualifying 2 starts at 9:30am local time in Germany.