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Nurburgring 24 Hours result confirmed as Rowe Racing’s appeal rejected

Rowe Racing’s appeal against the Nurburgring 24 Hours result was rejected, with Scherer Sport Phx drivers Christopher Mies, Dennis Marschall, Frank Stippler and Ricardo Feller retaining their victory.

After the race ended early due to fog that caused it to be stopped for 14 hours overnight and the final restart attempt failed, the Audi team emerged victorious in the Intercontinental GT Challenge event.

However, the Rowe BMW team announced that it intends to appeal the result to the German Motor Sports Association (DMSB) appeal court in Frankfurt after its on-site appeal was rejected.

The real issue was that Rowe Racing’s termination of the race was justified by the race management under Article 22 of the DMSB track regulations, and Rowe Racing felt that this justification was abused.

The court, which argued that only the red flag should have been used with 54 minutes left in the race, stated that the court of appeal had a different view on the matter.

In a statement made by the DMSB, it was stated that “The court, presided over by Rainer Wicke, stated verbally that the race was correctly ended with the black and white checkered flag.”

“Since the race director is primarily responsible for preventing harm to the participants and other participants in the event, and since Walter Hornung is also considered one of the leading motorsport experts in the field of safety, especially on the Nürburgring Nordschleife, he was able to end the race after 50 laps, within the scope of his powers.”

Article 22 of the DMSB circuit regulations states: “If the chequered flag is shown early, this moment is decisive for classification.”

Podium: Winner #16 Scherer Sport PHX Audi R8 LMS GT3 evo II: Frank Stippler, Christopher Mies, Ricardo Feller, Dennis Marschall, second #911 Manthey EMA Porsche 911 GT3 R (992): Laurens Vanthoor, Thomas Preining, Kevin Estre, Ayhancan Güven, third #72 BMW M Team RMG BMW M4 GT3: Daniel Harper, Max Hesse, Charles Weerts

Podium: Winner #16 Scherer Sport PHX Audi R8 LMS GT3 evo II: Frank Stippler, Christopher Mies, Ricardo Feller, Dennis Marschall, second #911 Manthey EMA Porsche 911 GT3 R (992): Laurens Vanthoor, Thomas Preining, Kevin Estre, Ayhancan Güven, third #72 BMW M Team RMG BMW M4 GT3: Daniel Harper, Max Hesse, Charles Weerts

Photo: Gruppe C GmbH

Hornung told Autosport’s sister site Motorsport-Total.com that he received information from a weather station that conditions would improve between 14:00 and 14:15, but that when conditions did not improve by 14:30, “my confidence in that weather station has diminished even further”.

After the decision to restart was announced, the fog cleared for the first time in more than 15 hours, but it was too late.

Rowe team principal Hans-Peter Naundorf protested, believing that if the red flag had been shown, the BMW M4 GT3 #98 driven by Raffaele Marciello, Maxime Martin, Marco Wittmann and Augusto Farfus would have won the race.

This would mean counting down two laps and adding the remaining minimum pit stop times, giving all cars placed ahead of Rowe BMW #98 an additional 95 seconds as they had completed three laps since the last stop under red flags.

But the fact that the finish line was located on the track meant that his objection was based on a false assumption from the start.

Cars entering the pit lane cross the finish line first and only then complete their pit stops; the Rowe BMW crossed the start-finish line in the pit lane on lap 48 but only completed its pit stop on lap 49, a few metres further on.

Race officials also reached this conclusion when evaluating the protest on site, arguing that Rowe Racing would not have gained an advantage if the race was counted after 48 laps.

DMSB information now confirms this view: “Moreover, the organizer’s calculations showed that even if the red flag was used on lap 50, the result would not have been different, as lap 48 would have been taken into account in the calculation.”

Rowe’s argument in court that the cooling-off round should count as round 51 was also rejected by the DMSB on the grounds that it “would not provide a suitable basis for a conclusion”.