New Overall TCE Teams’ standings leader CWS Engineering and nearest rival Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing go into next month’s COPPA FLORIO 12H Sicily split by just one point following a win and 2nd place respectively in-class at last weekend’s Hankook 24H BARCELONA.
Just one point now separates Overall TCE Teams’ championship leader CWS Engineering from Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing heading into the penultimate round of the 2021 24H SERIES in Sicily on 1-2-3 October.
CWS Engineering survived a bizarre incident at last weekend’s Hankook 24H BARCELONA to secure both its second outright TCE podium of the season and its second category win of the year, a result that propelled the British team to the top of the Overall TCE Teams’ standings. Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing meanwhile took a commanding 1-2 finish at the Hankook 24H BARCELONA – its second of the season – to record a third consecutive win in the 24H SERIES.
Driven by Arunas Geciauskas, Sigitas Ambrazevicius, Vytenis Gulbinas and Paul Sieljes, the #112 Volkswagen Golf GTI enjoyed an error-free run to the flag. The sister #1 meanwhile was running 3rd overall until Constantin Kletzer, who raced alongside Emil Heyerdahl, Jasmin Preisig and Roberto Ferri in northern Spain, was pushed into the gravel trap at turn seven by the CP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3. The incident dropped the VW to the tail of the field and cost Autorama almost four minutes, but a clean race thereafter eventually secured 2nd place overall.
Ironically, with the #112 Volkswagen finishing ahead of the erstwhile championship-leading #1 Golf GTI in Barcelona, 26 points earned for 2nd place overall was not enough for the Swiss-German team to retain its lead in the standings heading into next month’s COPPA FLORIO 12H Sicily. The reigning Overall TCE Teams’ champion is now one point adrift in the title hunt.
Despite qualifying on TCE pole in Barcelona, CWS Engineering’s Hankook 24H BARCELONA was very much a recovery race following a bizarre incident at turn one six hours in. During Angus Fender’s first double stint in the #278 Ginetta G55, wheel hub failure led to the front left wheel detaching itself entirely from its mountings as the British driver entered turn one. Unable to slow the Ginetta, Fender then ran wide through the turn one run-off area, collecting a sausage kerb in the process. Such was the impact, the broken kerb then managed to spike itself right through the G55’s front wheel well.
“It’s a shame,” Angus explained to radiolemans.com’s Nick Daman shortly after recovering the Ginetta to the garage. “The stint was going really well and I was going for the full 12 hours, and the Code 60s benefitted us nicely. I was setting purple laps in TCE and wasn’t taking many risks at all, if any. And then, that lap, I went into turn one: didn’t hit anything; braked as normal; turning point as normal; then I hear a loud bang and the front wheel goes through the bonnet.
“I had it completely slowed for turn one. I was braking at the ‘150 board’ every single time. I know my references around here, I’ve done enough laps… but obviously you can’t really turn when the loaded wheel isn’t there! It’s a shame… but it’s the nature of the sport, and sometimes mechanical [failures] happen.”
Issues for fellow TCX runner 1 Team ACP - Tangerine Associates – which retired after just 180 laps when a piston failed in the BMW’s straight-six – meant CWS was able to retake the lead just one hour later and go on to take its second TCX win in succession. The British team has now finished all five championship rounds of the 2021 24H SERIES on the class podium.
TCE title contender AC Motorsport meanwhile had a weekend to forget at, what has fast become, a ‘bogey’ track for the Belgian team. Having qualified on the TCE front row, the #188 Audi RS 3 LMS was in the pits after just 90 minutes with mechanical issues, and eventually retired with terminal gearbox issues during the night. The DNF has left AC Motorsport an admittedly not-insurmountable 13 points adrift in the championship chase.
Its first win of the season means the #112 Autorama Volkswagen is now fourth in the standings.