· Polesitter Phoenix Racing enjoys enthralling fight with SAINTéLOC Racing during opening stages.
· CP Racing and WTM Racing in the hunt for overall podium finish.
· Red Camel-Jordans.nl leads title rival Red Ant Racing in 992 ranks.
· Drama for RAM Racing as Lion Speed by Car Collection Motorsport moves into GT4 class lead.
· TCR Teams’ leader BBR currently 1-2 in TCE division.
· Second generation BMW M Motorsport heads its class on 24-hour racing debut.
PORTIMAO (9 July, 2022) – CP Racing currently leads the 2022 Hankook 24H PORTIMAO after the opening four laps, albeit only briefly ahead of long-time leader Phoenix Racing.
The Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II (#18, Michael Doppelmayr / Pierre Kaffer / Elia Erhart / Swen Herberger) led without interruption for the opening 112 laps of CREVENTIC’s fifth 24-hour event at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, but was unable to break away from its nearest competitors in the early stages. The Audi had to rebuff staunch attacks from both the WTM Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 (#22, Georg Weiss / Leonard Weiss / Jochen Krumbach / Daniel Keilwitz / Indy Dontje) off the line, and, later on, the SAINTéLOC Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II (#26, Olivier Esteves / Christian Kelders / Simon Gachet / Nicolas Baert / Lucas Légeret). For lap after lap across the opening 90 minutes, the two Audi R8s were rarely split by more than a second.
After its scintillating battle for the lead with Phoenix Racing though, SAINTéLOC Racing has now slipped to the tail of the overall top 10 after the Audi brushed the wall at turn 11 due to a “misunderstanding” in traffic, causing significant front-end damage in the process.
Electric pace thereafter meant Phoenix Racing was able to extend its lead by more than one lap over the following hour, the event polesitter only losing the top spot when the CP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#85, Charles Putman / Charles Espenlaub / Joe Foster / Shane Lewis), now on an opposing pit strategy after maximizing all three of the Code 60s thrown so far, continued on-track when the Audi eventually pitted for fuel.
Behind the leading pair, the WTM Racing Ferrari has bounced back from two early pit stops and is now running 3rd. The German team has twice finished on the overall podium at the Hankook 24H PORTIMAO.
The Red Camel-Jordans.nl Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (#909, Ivo Breukers / Luc Breukers / Rik Breukers / Fabian Danz), which leads the 992 class, is currently running an impressive 4th overall after four hours, just ahead of 992 Teams’ championship rival Red Ant Racing. Despite losing time to an early spin at turn eight, the Belgian team’s lead Porsche 992 GT3 Cup (#903, Ayrton Redant / Bert Redant / Yannick Redant / Sam Dejonghe) is 2nd in-class and 5th overall.
Though slightly further back in 8th overall, the sister Red Ant Racing Porsche 922 GT3 Cup (#904, Philippe Wils / Jimmy de Breucker / Kobe de Breucker / Gavin Pickering) rounds out the 992-class podium thus far. The returning ID Racing and Rabdan Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (#977, Gunnar Jeannette / PJ Hyett / James Gue / Marco Signoretti) had been battling Red Ant Racing for 3rd in-class early on only for on-going gearbox issues to strike. The German team has since slipped out of the overall top 20.
BMW M Motorsport’s first 24-hour race with the new BMW M4 GT4 is off to a good start. Despite suffering two front left punctures in the opening two hours, the M4 GT4 Concept (#482, Daniel Harper / Max Hesse / Neil Verhagen / Jörg Weidinger) was just 24 seconds behind the GTX class leader after the fourth hour ticked by.
In an attrition-hit opening four hours for the GTX contenders, the Leipert Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo (#710, Kerong Li / Jean-Francois Brunot / Glenn McGee / Anthony McIntosh / Tyler Cooke), which heads the GTX Teams’ standings, has already lost time to two left rear punctures and heat-related issues with its fuel tank, but has managed to retain its lead. Similarly, the RD Signs – Siauliai racing team Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo (#720, Audrius Butkevicius / Nicola Michelon / Paulius Paskevicius / Arturs Batraks) had been in contention for the lead early on but also lost time to a puncture and a small fire during refueling. No injuries were reported and the Lithuanian Lamborghini continues to circulate.
A hefty impact against the barriers at turn three means GTX championship contender Vortex V8 (#701, Lionel Amrouche / Philippe Bonnel / Olivier Gomez) has lost considerable time in the garage as the French team continues to repair the front end of its eponymous lightweight sports car.
24H SERIES returnee RAM Racing (#405, Jon Minshaw / Katarina Kyvalova / John Loggie / Phil Keen) had been holding a commanding lead in GT4 until a rollover valve problem brought the new Mercedes-AMG GT4 into the garage. The British team has since returned to the track, but has dropped behind the Lionspeed by Car Collection Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT4 (#499, Andreas Bakkerud / José Garcia / Patrick Kolb / Daniel Miller).
RAM Racing rejoined just ahead of Herberth Motorsport (#91, Daniel Allemann / Ralf Bohn / Alfred Renauer / Robert Renauer / Jürgen Häring), one of the first high-profile GT teams to hit trouble at the Hankook 24H PORTIMAO. A left rear puncture on the main start-finish straight cost the Bavarian team, and 2020 event winner, 20 laps in the pits to rear bodywork repairs, though the Porsche 911 GT3 R is now back on-track in 20th place after four hours.
GT4 Teams’ championship leader TEAM ACP - Tangerine Associates BMW M4 GT4 (#421, Catesby Jones / Wim Spinoy / Ken Goldberg / Jim Norman) meanwhile is still in the garage after electrical issues struck the BMW M4 GT4 after just six laps.
TCR Teams’ standings leader BBR is currently 1-2 in the TCE division after four hours, though the Thai team’s BBR CUPRA Leon Competición TCR (#158, Chariya Nuya / Munkong Sathienthirakul / Sandy Stuvik / Grant Supaphongs / Nattanid Leewattanavalagul) lies just 31 seconds clear of the sister CUPRA TCR (#159, Kantadhee Kusiri / Kantasak Kusiri / Anusorn Asiralertsir / Tanart Sathienthirakul / Pasarit Promsombat). The Hankook 24H PORTIMAO marks the first time this season that the Thai team has entered two cars for a 24H SERIES event.
Following its early exit last time out at Hockenheim, reigning Overall TCE Teams’ champion Wolf-Power Racing (#116, Jasmin Preisig / Ivars Vallers / Calle Bergman / Charles Dawson) heads fellow Audi RS 3 LMS runner AC Motorsport (#188, David Lau / Tommy Ku / Shaun Thong / Andy Yan), and currently rounds out the TCR podium. Impressively, the top three in TCR are currently running inside the overall top 10 in 6th, 7th and 10th respectively.
The returning Lestrup Racing Team (#110, Mats Olsson / Peter Fahlström / Stefan Nilsson / Patric Olovsson) continues its solid run of form with its Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR in 5th, just ahead of the returning Viper Niza Racing CUPRA TCR (#165, Douglas Khoo / Dominic Ang / Melvin Moh / Gilbert Ang). Having suffered a puncture in the early stages, the Malaysian team also briefly lost drive on its out lap, but has since recovered and was just 54 seconds behind Lestrup Racing after four hours.
The 2022 Hankook 24H PORTIMAO will continue to run uninterrupted throughout the night at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve until the chequered flag is flown at 14.00 hrs on Sunday 10 July. Live streaming of the race in HD quality will be available on our official website and the 24H SERIES YouTube channel. Regular updates will be published on Twitter (@24HSeries), Facebook (24H Series) and Instagram (24H Series). Further information can be found HERE