Red Ant Racing owner Bert Redant has praised his team’s efforts at the recent Hankook 24H PORTIMAO, explaining to Belgian publication Autosportwereld the 992 class win was the team’s greatest achievement to-date.
Words – James Gent
Images – Petr Frýba
Bert Redant has called Red Ant Racing’s recent 992-class win at the Hankook 24H PORTIMAO as “the team's greatest achievement in [its] young history.”
The Belgian team took its first category 1-2 of the season at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve after a faultless 24-hour run, a result that propelled the lead #903 Porsche closer to the top of the 992-class European standings and the sister #904 992 GT3 Cup equal on points with Red Camel-Jordans.nl in the Championship of the Continents. In further proof of the team’s pace, both Red Ant Racing Porsches finished inside the overall top five.
“This is the team's greatest achievement in [its] young history,” team owner Bert Redant explained to Autosportwereld. “All pit stops were flawless and lightning fast, both cars ran… without a single problem, [and] we didn't even have a single flat tyre. Everyone on the team gave their best in extremely difficult circumstances and it is therefore a collective achievement.”
Fresh from its late-race retirement at Hockenheim, Red Ant Racing’s weekend got off to a fine start when Yannick Redant and team regular Sam Dejonghe posted the fastest laps in their respective qualifying heats, despite the increasing Portuguese temperatures. Bert Redant meanwhile, who together with eldest son Ayrton completed the #903 driver line-up, posted the second fastest lap during his own 15-minute qualifying run. Despite a “cautious start,” the combined times proved enough to secure Red Ant its fifth consecutive class pole of the season.
“The weekend started cautiously, looking for race pace during the free practice sessions, taking into account the heat and the curbstones, as the combination of the two factors significantly increased the risk of tyre blowouts and other technical damage,” Bert Redant continues. “We had prepared ourselves very well for this assignment and nothing was left to chance during preparation for the race. The drivers also stepped up their physical preparation because the heat was unusual.”
The Redant-Dejonghe quartet’s pace continued into the race itself, Ayrton Redant holding the lead, and 5th overall during the opening hours ahead of the ID Racing and Rabdan Motorsport Porsche (terminal gearbox compressor issues eventually eliminated the latter after just 109 laps). Championship rival Red Camel eventually made its way past to take the lead heading into the second hour, the Dutch team’s deft use of it stops during the opening two (of an eventual 13) Code 60s allowing the #909 Porsche to pull a gap. Red Ant Racing though, which opted against pitting under the purple flags to pursue its pre-race pit stop schedule instead, continued to run within one or two laps of the class leader during the opening stages.
Shortly after half-distance however, the Red Camel Porsche was brought into the garage with what appeared to be a broken driveshaft, though it later transpired that heat from a punctured exhaust had also caused significant damage at the rear end. The Dutch team retired altogether before dawn.
A consistent run thereafter thus allowed the #903 Red Ant Racing Porsche to retake the class lead and, after completing 690 laps, collect the chequered flag.
In an unexpected twist, post-race disqualification for the WTM Racing Ferrari, which was found to have an exhaust that did not comply with 24H SERIES regulations, meant Red Ant Racing was elevated to the overall podium. This marks the first time a Porsche Cup competitor has finished inside the overall top three at a CREVENTIC event since reigning 991 Teams’ champion Willi Motorsport by Ebimotors finished 3rd at last year’s Hankook 24H SEBRING.
Post-race, the #904 Red Ant Porsche was classified 4th overall on the road. Driven by Philippe Wils and Gavin Pickering, joined by series returnees Jimmy and Kobe de Breucker in Portimão, the #904 qualified a solid 11th overall and 3rd in-class after strong runs from gentlemen drivers Wils, Jimmy de Breucker, and Pickering, and only once fell out of the overall top eight on its way to 2nd in-class behind the #903 entry.
“The #903 drove us to pole position in our category and 6th overall, behind five GT3 cars which are obviously faster,” Aryton Redant continues. “The #904 car was 4th in-class, despite three of the four drivers being rookies in the 992. That’s a great performance!”
The Hankook 24H PORTIMAO result, plus the team’s first win of the year at Spa-Francorchamps, means Red Ant Racing (#903) now lies just one points adrift of Red Camel-Jordans.nl in the 992-class European. Father-son trio Bert, Ayrton and Yannick Redant are similarly just one point behind Ivo, Rik and Luc Breukers in the 992 Drivers’ standings heading into the final European race of the year – the Hankook 24H BARCELONA – on 9-10-11 September.