o Phoenix Racing Audi beats WTM Racing Ferrari in one of the closest 24H SERIES qualifying sessions to-date.
o Championship rivals Red Ant Racing and Red Camel-Jordans.nl go head-to-head for 992 pole.
o Leipert Motorsport snatches GTX pole from title rival RD Signs.
o RAM Racing takes commanding pole on endurance racing debut for its Mercedes-AMG GT4.
o Second-generation BMW M4 GT4 prepares for maiden 24-hour race.
PORTIMAO (8 July, 2022) – Phoenix Racing came out on-top of an incredibly tight qualifying session in the Algarve to secure GT pole position for the 2022 Hankook 24H PORTIMAO.
The Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II (#18, Michael Doppelmayr / Pierre Kaffer / Elia Erhart / Swen Herberger) went into the final, 15-minute qualifying session for the event just two-tenths clear of the WTM Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 (#22, Georg Weiss / Leonard Weiss / Jochen Krumbach / Daniel Keilwitz / Indy Dontje), a succession of fastest laps from Phoenix’s Elia Erhart and WTM’s Daniel Keilwitz continuing to bring the average qualifying time down for both teams as the session moved into its closing stages. At one point, just 0.008s split the Audi and Ferrari.
In the end, a personal best from Elia Erhart was enough to push Phoenix Racing’s average time around the 4.652km Autódromo Internacional do Algarve down to 1m 44.076s, just 0.024s quicker than that of WTM Racing.
Phoenix Racing thus becomes the first team to secure a second outright GT pole position in the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook in 2022.
“Sven and Pierre did an amazing job, and that made my life much easier in Q3: I just had to drive a safe lap in my session, which I did, and bring the car back in one piece!” Elia Erhart explained to radiolemans.com’s Joe Bradley. “I also want to thank Phoenix Racing for giving us a very, very good car. This is not a bad position for tomorrow!”
Asked whether the Phoenix Racing Audi could continue its pole-sitting pace across 24 uninterrupted hours, Pierre Kaffer explained: “That’s always the question! But we know our new Evo II is bulletproof, as we proved already with 24 hours around the Nordschleife. It was quite tricky to find the right setup here though. Honestly, we are really happy, in these conditions, to be on pole because our other competitors are really strong. I’m really looking forward to the race tomorrow because I think we are going to have a great battle.”
An equally remarkable Q3 run by Robert Renauer meant the Herberth Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 R (#91, Daniel Allemann / Ralf Bohn / Alfred Renauer / Robert Renauer / Jürgen Häring) fell less than five-tenths shy of outright pole position, and will thus start 3rd overall. The Mercedes-AMG GT3 of GT3-AM standings leader CP Racing (#85, Charles Putman / Charles Espenlaub / Joe Foster / Shane Lewis) lines up alongside the Bavarian team on the second row.
The SAINTéLOC Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II (#26, Olivier Esteves / Christian Kelders / Simon Gachet / Nicolas Baert / Lucas Légeret) will start 5th, though the Audi’s potential pace was demonstrated when Lucas Légeret set the fastest lap of any GT competitor – a 1m 43.609s – on his final hot lap.
Red Ant Racing (#903, Ayrton Redant / Bert Redant / Yannick Redant / Sam Dejonghe) heads into tomorrow’s Hankook 24H PORTIMAO on provisional pole ahead of 992 Teams’ championship rival, Red Camel-Jordans.nl (#909, Ivo Breukers / Luc Breukers / Rik Breukers / Fabian Danz) following an equally enthralling final session between Sam Dejonghe and Rik Breukers. The second Red Ant Racing Porsche 992 GT3 Cup meanwhile (#904, Philippe Wils / Jimmy de Breucker / Kobe de Breucker / Gavin Pickering) was bested for 3rd in-class by the returning ID Racing and Rabdan Motorsport (#977, Gunnar Jeannette / PJ Hyett / James Gue / Marco Signoretti) in the final moments of Q3.
Leipert Motorsport (#710, Kerong Li / Jean-Francois Brunot / Glenn McGee / Anthony McIntosh / Tyler Cooke) will line-up alongside fellow Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo runner, and GTX Teams’ championship rival, RD Signs – Siauliai racing team (#720, Audrius Butkevicius / Nicola Michelon / Paulius Paskevicius / Arturs Batraks) on tomorrow’s grid, despite an off-track moment for the former during Q2. The Vortex V8 Vortex 1.0 (#701, Lionel Amrouche / Philippe Bonnel / Olivier Gomez) had looked on course to take GTX class pole position heading into the final session, but ultimately dropped back when a piece of debris dislodged itself on the start-finish straight during Q3.
In its first endurance racing entry with the Mercedes-AMG GT4, and its first race in the 24H SERIES since 2018, RAM Racing (#405, Jon Minshaw / Katarina Kyvalova / John Loggie / Phil Keen) secured a commanding GT4 class pole position at the Hankook 24H PORTIMAO. Despite two separate spins on-track, the Lion Speed by Car Collection Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT4 (#499, Andreas Bakkerud / José Garcia / Patrick Kolb / Daniel Miller) will line behind the RAM Racing Mercedes and ahead of the BMW M4 GT4 of GT4 Teams’ championship leader, TEAM ACP - Tangerine Associates (#421, Catesby Jones / Wim Spinoy / Ken Goldberg / Jim Norman).
The second-generation BMW M4 GT4 makes its 24-hour racing debut this weekend in Portimão under the BMW M Motorsport banner, and completed a solid session in the GTX class to round-out the GT division, despite a brush with the SAINTéLOC Audi R8 on-track during Q2.
After 90 minutes of official Night Practice this evening, the green flag for the 2022 Hankook 24H PORTIMAO is scheduled to fly on Saturday 9 July at 14.00 hrs local time. The race will run uninterrupted throughout the night and will be brought to a close when the chequered flag is unfurled at 14.00 hrs on Sunday 10 July. The action will be live with commentary from radiolemans.com on the official 24H SERIES YouTube channel. Regular updates will also be published on Twitter (@24HSeries), Facebook (24H Series) and Instagram (24H Series). Further information can be found HERE.