Redeeming victory for Team Bleekemolen SEAT at the Hankook 24H SILVERSTONE
SILVERSTONE (02 April, 2017) – The Team Bleekemolen SEAT Leon TCR V2 SEQ (#100, Sebastiaan Bleekemolen/Melvin de Groot/Rob Smith/Rene Steenmetz) won the Hankook 24H SILVERSTONE, the opening round of the 2017 24H TOURING CAR ENDURANCE SERIES powered by Hankook. Last year, the Dutch team had led the race for 19 hours, but then had to retire with an engine failure. This time though, the Team Bleekemolen stayed out of harm's way. Rene Steenmetz took the chequered flag with 549 laps completed on the 5.901 kilometre circuit, equalling a distance of 3.239,65 kilometres. Due to their consistency, the Pit Lane Competizioni Audi RS3 LMS TCR DSG (#122, Alberto Vescovi/Roberto Ferri/Zach Arnold/Enrico Bettera/John Filippì) moved up into second place, five laps behind the leaders. Ten further laps down, third position went to the Modena Motorsports Seat Leon TCR V3 DSG (#217, Marcel Tjia/Christian Chia/Michael Soeryadjaya/Benny Simonsen/Philippe Descombes).
The leader of the starting phase, the Red Camel-Jordans.nl SEAT Leon TCR V3 DSG (#303, Rik Breukers/Ivo Breukers/Sjaco Griffioen/Klaus Kresnik), retired with engine issues on Sunday morning. The pole setting MONLAU COMPETICION SEAT Leon TCR V2 DSG (#107, Jurgen Smet/Jose Manuel Perez Aicart/Alba Cano Ramirez/Alvaro Bajo) had lost its winning perspective after a gearbox change on Saturday evening and finished in seventh place overall. Last year's overall winners, the Team ABBA with Rollcentre Racing BMW M3 V8 (#234, Richard Neary/Martin Short/Ian Stinton/Graham Coomes), had an engine blow up three hours into the race. Having fitted a new engine, Ian Stinton took the BMW out for the final lap.
After an hour long battle for the CUP1 class lead, RMA Track Days - JJ Motorsport BMW M235i Racing Cup (#156, Leyton Clarke/Tony Rodriguez/James Little/Jason Baker) dropped down into third position, handing the victory to the QSR BMW M235i Racing Cup (#154, Jimmy de Breucker/Mario Timmers/Rodrigue Gillion/Jeffrey van Hooydonck). The Sorg Rennsport BMW M235i Racing Cup (#151, Paul Abercrombie/William Lucas/Kye Wheatley/Rob Ellice/Sam Tordoff) could secure the second place. With positions six and eight overall, the best two CUP1 cars were the only non-TCR teams in the top ten.
In twelfth place overall, the Moss Motorsport UK BMW E46 M3 (#136, Mike Moss/Chris Murphy/Scot Adam/Barry McMahon) won the SP3-GT4 class from the CWS Ginetta G55 GT4 (#178, Colin White/Philippe Salini/Patrik Matthiesen/Martin Thomas) and the Intersport racing BMW M3 CSL (#140, Kevin Clarke/Adam Hayes/Paul Black/Ryan Lindsay). Both BMW had been moved from the A3 class to the SP3-SP4 field during the race.
The Team Sally Racing Renault Clio Cup III (#52, Martin Sally Pedersen/Peter Obel/Mads Christensen/Steffan Jusjong) took the win in the A2 class. In addition, 13th place overall was a respectable achievement for the small Danish squad. The Area MS / Owens Endurance Honda Civic (#91, Jack Fabby/Carl Swift/David Vincent/Mark Harris) came home second, seven laps down.
The A3 class winner's race took a bizarre twist. The Synchro Motorsport Honda Civic Type R (#176, Alyn James/Daniel Wheeler/Martin Byford) suffered an engine blow up on Saturday evening. The mechanics rapidly changed the power plant in less than two hours. With all their rivals sustaining various setbacks as well, the British team could still reach for the top spot. Second place went to the Vanquish Motorsport Seat Leon Supercopa (#138, Paul Plant/Simon Cresswell/Chris Yarwood/JM Littman), that had lost its winning chances with damper issues on Sunday morning. The Cor Euser Racing BMW M3 (#71, James Briody/Peter Klutt/Cor Euser/Maarten Mus/John Farano) did not take the flag. Although the car was parked with a broken differential, the team was still classified third in class.
In three weeks, the 24H TOURING CAR ENDURANCE SERIES powered by Hankook heads for its second weekend with the Hankook 12H MAGNY-COURS, held from 21 to 22 April. Next week, the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook holds its third event, the Hankook 12H RED BULL RING in Austria. Further information can be found on the series’ website, www.24htceseries.com.