After a hectic run to 2nd in-class at the 2022 Hankook 12H KUWAIT, Jasmin Preisig has praised the efforts of Wolf-Power Racing, which fought back from damage sustained on-track and limited pre-race preparation.
Words – James Gent
Images – Petr Frýba and Jasmin Preisig
Newly-crowned TCE Ladies Cup winner Jasmin Preisig has congratulated Wolf-Power Racing for “their tireless efforts and unbelievable perseverance” at a troubled Hankook 12H KUWAIT.
The German team finished this year’s 24H SERIES powered by Hankook season finale at Kuwait Motor Town 2nd in-class behind TCR Champion of the Continents BBR, albeit only after repairing significant damage sustained during the opening half of the event.
Transport problems meant Wolf-Power Racing’s Audi RS 3 LMS only arrived late on Wednesday night, with the German team’s mechanics working through the night to get the car prepared for three hours of private testing on Thursday morning. Sadly, on-track running was further limited to just 17 laps after Mohammad Al Sabah hit the tyre barriers hard, damaging the front end as a result. Fortunately the Kuwait driver walked away unscathed.
To further compound matters, after significant repairs were completed in time for qualifying, the #116 Audi was back in the garage after just 15 laps of the race itself when Ivars Vellers hit a large chunk of tyre debris that had splintered off the right rear corner of QMMF by HRT Thuraya Qatar’s #929 Porsche Cup car. Vellers was unharmed, though the Audi’s radiator and front end was badly damaged, leading to the first of several lengthy pit stops for repairs. Indeed, so much time was spent in the pitbox, that the three-time Overall TCE Teams’ champion had completed just 29 laps after five hours, compared with leader BBR’s 131.
After returning to the track shortly before half-distance however, Wolf-Power was able to run unhindered to the flag, and even moved up to 2nd in TCR after long-time rival AC Motorsport – running its brand-new Audi RS 3 LMS for the first time in Kuwait – opted to retire on safety grounds two hours from home whem the source of a severe vibration could not be found.
Amazingly, AC Motorsport’s retirement meant that, despite its earlier travails, Wolf-Power Racing was able to leapfrog its Belgian rival for the runners-up spot in the TCE Championship of the Continents standings. Jasmin Preisig was similarly able to move ahead of AC Motorsport’s Mathieu Detry to 2nd in the TCR Drivers’ ‘Continents’ standings.
“Many thanks to my team, Wolf Power Racing, for their tireless efforts and unbelievable perseverance,” Preisig explained on her website. “Ivars drove the start and first had to find his way around the track. Shortly before the end of his stint, he collided with a scrap of tyre lying around, which was not warned in advance with a yellow flag. Since the impact was very hard at about 200 km/h, the radiator, front end, etc, were destroyed accordingly. So we were in the box for a long time.
“Once everything was fixed, I got back in the car. But then I had quite severe vibrations, so much so that the bonnet even deformed slightly, twice. Eventually we found the problem and were then able to finish a calm and accident-free race. Since our competition also had a bigger problem, we were able to catch up the 70 laps and cross the finish line in 2nd place and thus as vice champion for 2022.
“We really had a lot of technical problems this season, which cost us a lot of points and nerves.”
With a luckless 2022 season now behind it – ironically, 2nd at the Hankook 12H KUWAIT proved the best result of the year after 3rd place finishes at Mugello and Portimão – Wolf-Power Racing is now focusing its attention on the Hankook 24H DUBAI on 13-14-15 January. The team has confirmed two Audi RS 3 LMS’ will compete at the Dubai Autodrome. Marcus and Marlon Menden, Peter Posavac and 2012 World Touring Car Champion Rob Huff are confirmed for the #116 entry, while Preisig and Vellers are set to race in the sister #121 RS 3 with Sweden’s Calle Bergman.
With Preisig and Vellers also scheduled to compete at the Hankook 6H ABU DHABI on 20-21 January, Wolf-Power Racing will be eligible to compete for TCR honours in CREVENTIC’s brand-new Middle East Trophy.