ROWE RACING celebrates successful dress rehearsal for the 24h race at the Nürburgring with second place in the qualifying race
BMW works drivers Martin Tomczyk and Nick Catsburg on the podium with a black bonnet / Both BMW M6 GT3 secure early ticket for the top 30 qualifying
St. Ingbert, 15th April 2018 – ROWE RACING celebrated a successful dress rehearsal for the major highlight of the season at the Nordschleife, four weeks before the 46th ADAC Zurich 24h race at the Nürburgring. The St. Ingbert team followed up their win in the 2nd VLN race eight days ago with second place in the 24h qualifying race on Sunday, once again showing speed and consistency, alongside an almost perfect strategy. Two and a half hours before the race, ROWE RACING achieved the most important objective of the weekend, clinching the ticket for the important top 30 qualifying for the ‘Eifel Marathon’ on 12th/13th May with both BMW M6 GT3s.
The former DTM champion Martin Tomczyk, drove in only his second race appearance for ROWE RACING, with his fellow BMW works driver Nick Catsburg from the Netherlands. Their #99 BMW M6 GT3, which retained the black bonnet as a lucky charm following the successful VLN race, moved up from 13th on the grid into ninth place on the first lap of the six-hour race and remained in the extended leading group. After the final late pit stop, about 30 minutes before the end, Catsburg was suddenly within striking distance of the Mercedes that went on to win; after three spectacular final laps amid numerous lapped cars, Catsburg was beaten by just 2.158 seconds.
In the two-part qualifying, one on Saturday evening and one on Saturday morning, Bavarian Tomczyk steered the #99 into fifth place, thereby clinching a place in the top 30 qualifying for the 24h race. The fastest 30 cars receive a blue light for the front windscreen, which makes overtaking the numerous slower cars much easier, particularly at night. Finishing tenth in qualifying, Catsburg also secured a blue light for #98. Now the team can focus on race preparations during the practice and qualifying sessions for the 24h race.
Hans-Peter Naundorf, team principal ROWE RACING: “We finished on the podium after four hours at the VLN with our black bonnet last weekend, and finished on the podium again after six hours in the qualifying race. Four times six is 24 – and according to my racing calculations, it could work again for the 24h race. We had the final two of our seven drivers in the car here and were able to give them a lot of driving time. All the guys complement each other well, the harmony between them all works. Overall, it was very good preparation for the 24h race.”
Martin Tomczyk, #99 ROWE RACING BMW M6 GT3: “For the team and me, the most important thing today was to secure the blue light as one of the fastest 30 cars in the 24h race. That was the main objective of the weekend. It was also important for me to complete as many laps as possible on the Nordschleife. As a driver, you need a good rhythm on this track. I’ve got that again now. It’s fantastic that we even managed to finish on the podium, and I’m delighted for the team in particular, who I really get on with and who did a great job.”
Nick Catsburg, #99 ROWE RACING BMW M6 GT3: “The final rounds were a great deal of fun. I noticed that I was able to make up ground on the leading Mercedes and give it my all. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to catch him in the end, but second place after the win for the car in the last VLN race is another great success, which gives us confidence for the 24h race. It was real racing today. Driving on this track with this car, and having so many free laps is the greatest pleasure that you can have as a racing driver.”