Tom Blomqvist and the #98 ROWE Racing crew battled their way to fourth place at a treacherous, rain-interrupted Nürburgring 24 Hours - with a stunning double stint from the 26-year-old pushing the team into the battle for the podium.
With weather conditions typically unpredictable across the weekend, the team entered qualifying optimistic of a strong result. Tyre choice proved crucial with occasional rain showers hitting only certain parts of the track. Prevailing through the challenging conditions, the team’s efforts pushed their BMW M6 GT3 inside the top-ten in eighth place.
Looking ahead to the race, Tom and co-drivers Marco Wittmann, Lucas Auer and Philipp Eng were confident of a strong performance across the 24-hour marathon.
Wittmann took the start of the race and climbed to seventh in the early exchanges before dropping to 23rd place by the end of the first hour. Scything their way back through the field, the team had recovered to 12th place as the race reached the six hour mark and the weather, once again, took a turn for the worse.
As conditions soon became perilous, and several cars had found themselves off and into the barriers, the race was red flagged shortly after 22:00. With the forecast suggesting no upturn in the weather until Sunday morning, the decision was taken to not restart the race until 08:00 at the very earliest.
Tom assumed control of the #98 machine and prepared himself for the restart after one lap behind the safety car. A sensational double stint in mixed conditions saw the 26-year-old vault up the order from 12th place at the beginning of his stint to fourth and within contention for the final podium place.
From there the team continued to push hard and crossed the finish line to take fourth, just six seconds shy of third place on the road.
"What a race! Probably one of the toughest races I've done but I'm really pleased to bag a P4 finish. Congrats to BMW, ROWE Racing and the sister #99 car on the win. We knew our race pace was going to be strong so it was just a case of keeping the lap times consistent and staying out of any drama. The conditions were incredibly tough, so much rain and we were aquaplaning everywhere, so the right call was made to red flag the race. I was the first one back in the car after the red flag and felt like I did a really good double stint to get us into the podium fight. I would have loved to have finished on the podium, as that's now the second time I've come 4th here, but I'm still really pleased with the weekend. A massive thanks to my teammates, ROWE Racing and BMW Motorsport for their hard work."
Image courtesy of BMW Motorsport.