The race circuit described by Germans as the "Green Hell" has lived up to its reputation for unpredictability, at the last moment denying Hankook Tyre of a double-podium in the Nurburgring 24 Hour race.
Two Hankook-backed Mercedes-Benz SLS GT3 AMGs campaigned by the German HEICO team were on track for second and third place outright when the second-placed car driven by Alexandros Margaritis was sidelined with mechanical issues just 15 minutes from the flag.
"We suspect that the track had become very dirty and that some debris got into the engine compartment, causing a failure," said co-driver (and multiple DTM champion) Bernd Schneider.
The other car, driven by Lance David Arnold, Christiaan Frankenhout, Pierre Kaffer and Andreas Simonsen hung on to cross the line third behind two factory-backed Audis.
In what was one of the most intensely competitive Nurburgring 24 Hour races yet, new qualifying rules created excitement from the outset.
The top-40 grid positions were determined in the three previous races of the VLN Endurance Championship Nurburgring as well as in a four-hour qualifying session.
The next day the top 40 were given two more laps of the 25-kilometre course to determine start positions for the race.
Arnold qualified the #65 car fourth, while Kaffer started the #66 car from seventh.
From there until the end the Hankook Team HEICO cars were never outside the top 10 and always on the lead lap.
"We probably saw one of the most exciting 24 Hour races of all," said Hankook Motorsport Director for Europe, Manfred Sandbichler.
"We brought an outstanding package to the race - from drivers, to vehicles and tyres - and they all fulfilled our expectations."
HEICO team manager Norbert Bruckner was equally pleased.
"Large praise must go to the entire team who did a great job throughout the weekend and were finally rewarded with a podium finish," said Bruckner.
"All involved carried out good work over the whole 24 hour running and our tyre partner, Hankook, provided fantastic material.
"While we leave with mixed feelings, we are very happy with our performance," said team member Brice Bosi.
"The team did an excellent job and the drivers made no mistakes. Of course, we are disappointed that our other car was forced to retire shortly before the end of the race, but that's motorsport."
Hankook will take the lessons learnt from developing tyres for the Nurburgring 24 Hour into the Australian GT Championship, where it has been appointed as one of three official tyre suppliers to the series.
Hankook is also exclusive tyre supplier to the new V8 Supertourers Championship in New Zealand.