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P8 for Primat in rain-lashed Nurburgring finale

• Swiss ace finishes sixth in Blancpain Endurance Series Pro Cup standings

Heavy rain scuppered Harold Primat’s chances of ending his successful Blancpain Endurance Series campaign on a high at the Nurburgring 1000 earlier today (September 21) after a potential podium ultimately became eighth in class.

It was the first time that the Swiss, who was once again partnered by Nico Verdonck and Bernd Schneider aboard the #84 HTP Motorsport-run Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3, had finished outside of the Pro Cup top-six all season. Nevertheless, he still picked up enough points to secure sixth in the final Drivers’ championship standings while helping HTP claim joint-third in the Teams’ classification.

Torrential rain prior to Sunday’s six-hour/1000km event ensured that the first 20 minutes were spent behind the Safety Car, but once racing began in earnest Verdonck was quick to exploit the Mercedes’ potential in wet conditions. 11th on the grid became eighth after the first competitive lap, before eventually ending his double stint third overall.

Racing legend Schneider then continued his team-mate’s good work and had established a 10secs lead by the time another Safety Car period prompted many of the frontrunners – including HTP – to make earlier-than-planned third pit-stops, where Primat was ready to climb aboard.

But with very little experience of racing GT cars in the wet, Primat was soon caught out by the appalling weather conditions and standing water that helped harmlessly loop his Mercedes around at the final corner. But instead of simply pushing the car free, track marshals then attempted to pull it across the gravel trap, which ultimately contributed to a loss of three laps.

From there it was a case of playing catch-up as Primat and then Schneider spent the final half of the race attempting to pick their way back through the field on a drying track.

“That wasn’t the way I’d hoped to finish the season,” explained Primat afterwards. “Nico and Bernd drove very well at the start to get us into podium contention, but I have to say that the conditions were really tough out there. I guess I paid the price for not having enough experience of racing GT cars in the wet, and those conditions were some of the worst I’ve ever encountered in any category.

“The rear-end just came around on me and I slid into the edge of the gravel. It was an easy thing to do but, although it obviously cost us some time, I was fully expecting the marshals to push me free. Unfortunately they decided to try dragging the car away, which I still can’t understand. It cost us dearly today, especially as extra points were available. Without that we still had a good chance of making the podium.”

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