· Battle for the win between CP Racing and Team GP-Elite is decided by a moment in the gravel and a mechanical failure.
· Team Kuwait claims hard-earned runners-up spot at home event.
· 992 class winner Red Camel-Jordans.nl on the overall podium.
· Sensational comeback GTX win for Leipert Motorsport; Century Motorsport Aston Martin victorious in GT4
· BBR seals TCE Continents Trophy with commanding win in TCR.
KUWAIT (3 December, 2022) – CP Racing has taken outright victory at the inaugural Hankook 12H KUWAIT after a sensational late-race mechanical gremlin struck down long-time leader Team GP-Elite.
The CP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#85, Charles Putman / Charles Espenlaub / Joe Foster / Shane Lewis) and the Team GP-Elite Porsche 911 GT3 R (#32, Lucas Groeneveld / Jesse van Kuijk / Daan van Kuijk) repeatedly swapped the lead – including several on-track passes – throughout the 12-hour race at the 5.608 km Kuwait Motor Town, the Dutch team eventually stealing a march after a bizarre incident with RABDAN Motorsport’s Porsche 992 GT3 Cup car ended with the CP Racing Mercedes in the turn one gravel trap with less than three hours left to run.
Amazingly, what looked to be an easy run to the flag for Team GP-Elite ended when the Porsche ground to a halt with drivetrain issues just 45 minutes from home. This allowed the recovering CP Racing to retake the lead, and ultimately, take its second outright win of the 2022 24H SERIES powered by Hankook season.
The results secures CP Racing the GT Continents Trophy in what was, fittingly, the 50th CREVENTIC event for both Charles Putman and Charles Espenlaub.
“Oh my God, I’ve got such a great team!” a jubilant Charles Putman explained to radiolemans.com’s Joe Bradley. “As we got into that last 30 minutes or so, just before [Team GP-Elite] broke down, I said, ‘well, they’ve got us on pace and they’re looking good,’ and you never wish ill luck on anyone because those guys did an excellent job. But you just never know. It’s never over until it’s over in endurance racing!”
“Obviously the CP Racing guys gave us a great car,” Charles Espenlaub continued. “The AMG’s an awesome, awesome machine and we’ve had great success this year. We had the strategy to take the battle to the end [with Team GP-Elite]. We needed a bit of luck, and I hate that they had bad luck because those guys were fast the whole time, and drove a really good race. But this is still a great result.”
Following Team GP-Elite’s issue – the bitterly disappointed Dutch team was eventually classified 8th overall – the Team Kuwait by MRS GT-Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R (#47, Mohammad Al-Kazemi / Zaid Ashkanani / Ahmad Al Ghanem) was elevated to 2nd overall. The Kuwait outfit, which started its home event from a popular pole position, led the opening stages of the race but lost considerable time after a wheel-banging moment with one of the two Hofor Racing by Bonk Motorsport TC-class BMWs with less than three hours left on the clock. A collision that briefly left the Porsche beached in the gravel.
Team GP-Elite’s demise also meant that, amazingly, 992 class winner Red Camel-Jordans.nl (#909, Ivo Breukers / Luc Breukers / Rik Breukers) completed a meticulous run in Kuwait on the outright podium. This marks the second time in as many years that a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car has finished in the overall top three at a 24H SERIES powered by Hankook season finale.
ARC Bratislava was another high-profile GT3 front-runner not to go the distance. The Lamborghini Huracán GT3 (#44, Miro Konopka / Matej Konopka / Zdeno Mikulasko) was well in contention early on but the Slovakian team’s efforts were felled by setup issues and multiple punctures. The Lamborghini briefly returned to the track during the closing two hours, setting the event’s fastest lap – a 1m 52.062s – in the process.
Willi Motorsport by Ebimotors (#955, Fabrizio Broggi / Sergiu Nicolae / Sabino de Castro) completed a successful maiden run for its new 992-generation Porsche GT3 Cup in 4th place overall. Behind, a close battle for the final 992-class podium spot eventually went to HRT Performance (#928, Gijs Bessem / Harry Hilders), the team besting RABDAN Motorsport (#979, Saif Alameri / Olivier Dons / Enrico Fernando Fulgenzi) to do so. The United Arab Emirates entry recovered from an early spin and its close moment with winner CP Racing at turn one to finish 6th overall.
Fittingly, HRT’s collaborative entries with the Qatar Motor and Motorcyle Federation – the ‘QMMF by HRT Thuraya Qatar’ Porsche 992 GT3 Cups – also finished inside the top 10 in 7th and 9th respectively, the #929 (Abdulla Ali Al Khelaifi / Abdullah Al-Abbasi / Ibrahim Al-Mannai / Kim André Hauschild) overhauling the sister #930 (Ghanim Al Ali / Ibrahim Al Abdulghani / Hamad Saeed Al-Asam / Anders Fjordbach) despite an early puncture, loose front bodywork, and a beached moment in the gravel at turn 18.
The Leipert Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo (#710, Kerong Li / Jean-Francois Brunot / Gregg Gorski) rounded out the overall top 10, claiming a sensational GTX victory in the process. The German team completed just two hours of track time ahead of the race owing to delays to the arrival of its equipment container. The result also secured Leipert Motorsport the runners-up spot in the GT Continents Trophy.
Vortex V8 (#701, Philippe Bonnel / Lionel Amrouche / Nicolas Nobs) finished a solid run at Kuwait Motor Town, truncated only by rear brake issues, to claim 2nd in-class. Having recovered from an early spin and a grid penalty, razoon-more than racing (#714, Dominik Olbert / Daniel Drexel / Haytham Qarajouli) was leading GTX after the opening four hours only to suffer engine failure, and a small fire. Having lost just under two hours replacing the engine and gearbox, the KTM X-BOW GTX then suffered alternator failure, but did eventually cross the line 3rd in GTX. The team’s superb efforts were dutifully rewarded with radiolemans.com’s Spirit of the Race award.
Despite an early problem with a loose fuel filler cap, the Century Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 (#429, David Holloway / Adam Hatfield / Bradley Ellis / Piers Johnson) emerged victorious in GT4 ahead of the sister RHC Jorgensen-Strom by Century BMW M4 GT4 (#450, Daren Jorgensen / Brett Strom / Nathan Freke). The BMW spent most of the first half of the race in the category lead only to run out of fuel shortly afterwards. An error during its recovery, which led to the front towing eye being ripped out, meant RHC Jorgensen-Strom by Century lost even more time, though the American-British collaboration was still able to withstand the Herberth Motorsport prepared Lionspeed Racing Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 CS MR (#491, José Garcia / Daniel Miller Andreas Bakkerud / Patrick Kolb) for 2nd in-class.
A formidable season for BBR (#159, Pasarit Promsombat / Tanart Sathienthirakul / Kantadhee Kusiri / Kantasak Kusiri / Anusorn Asiralertsiri) concludes with the Thai team’s sixth TCR win from seven outings and victory in the TCE Continents Trophy after another metronomic run for the CUPRA Leon Competición TCR. The ‘Continents’ title win joins the Overall TCE Teams’ European championship BBR secured last time out in Barcelona.
“We’ve had a really amazing season this year!” Tanart Sathienthirakul explained to radiolemans.com’s Joe Bradley. “We didn’t really think it was going to happen at the beginning [of 2022], but all that hard work has paid off. We had a couple of issues around eight hours, but the team did an amazing job, they put us back on the track again, and after that it was just a case of staying out of trouble and staying in one-piece.”
A good start to the event for AC Motorsport (#188, Stéphane Perrin / Mathieu Detry / James Kaye), which also came into the Hankook 12H KUWAIT in contention for the TCE Continents Trophy, sadly came to naught when the Audi RS 3 LMS suffered rear wheel hub failure and, shortly afterwards, an undiagnosed severe vibration. The plagued the team for the majority of the event before the decision was made to retire the car on safety grounds. Similarly, title rival Wolf-Power Racing (#116, Jasmin Preisig / Ivars Vallers / Mohammad Al Sabah) endured a host of issues with its own Audi RS 3 LMS, which started with an off in Free Practice and a loose front splitter during the early stages of the race itself. This was followed with a punctured radiator, front-end bodywork damage and suspected damper issues en-route to a hard-earned 4th in TCE.
High attrition in TCR meant the overall TCE podium was completed by Hofor Racing by Bonk Motorsport’s two TC-entered BMW M2 CS Racings, the first of which (#331, Michael Mayer / Martin Kroll / Michael Bonk / Rainer Partl / Hermann Bock) had looked on course for the TC win before a collision with the Team Kuwait Porsche caused significant damage to the front left suspension and steering arm. Incredibly, 10 minutes later, the sister #332 365hp BMW suffered an almost identical accident at turn one, yielding similar front left damage. A quick turnaround though meant the latter emerged victorious in its inter-team battle.
Though the 2022 season is in the bag, and the opening round of CREVENTIC’s brand-new Middle East Trophy has been completed, endurance racing action continues in just over one month’s time with the 18th annual Hankook 24H DUBAI on 13-14-15 January. The event will be followed one week later by the final round of the Middle East Trophy – the Hankook 6H ABU DHABI – on 21-22 January. Further details regarding the 2023 24H SERIES calendar and championship standings can be found HERE