"Mission Defend Title" couldn't have got off to a much better start for the ROWE Racing team. In top qualifying on Friday ahead of the race, last year's winner Nick Yelloly in the #1 BMW M6 GT3 clinched pole position and also spent much of the race with the battle for getting the overall win again looking promising. After the race had to be suspended for more than 14 hours, Yelloly, Nick Catsburg, John Edwards and Philipp Eng were leading the pack, but then dropped down the field after a long pit stop mandated by the regulations, before retiring due to a technical defect soon after. Up until that point, three BMW M6 GT3s were doing battle for the overall win – one of which was the sister car of the defending champion. In the #98 BMW M6 GT3, an outstanding catch-up performance saw Sheldon van der Linde, Martin Tomczyk, Marco Wittmann and Connor De Phillippi fight their way up the field. Tomczyk in particular really made up ground on Saturday afternoon, in difficult conditions with some sections of the track very wet while others were dry, and moved up from 25th into third place during his double stint. In the final sprint after the restart on Sunday afternoon, van der Linde was embroiled in a gripping duel for victory with the #911 Porsche and crossed the finish line in second place, trailing by just 8.8 seconds. Schubert Motorsport also gave a strong performance. Jens Klingmann, Jesse Krohn, Alexander Sims and Stef Dusseldorp were on track to finish on the podium for much of the race, but were unlucky with Code 60 periods in the final stage, and crossed the finish line in sixth place.