Overall TCE Teams’ AC Motorsport is looking for improved fortunes at this weekend’s Hankook 12H HOCKENHEIMRING, following late-race issues last month at Circuit Paul Ricard and early drama last year in Germany.
AC Motorsport must avoid trouble if it hopes to keep its Overall TCE Teams’ championship hopes alive at this weekend’s Hankook 12H HOCKENHEIMRING, explains team cornerstone Stéphane Perrin.
The Belgian team looked set to take its second TCE win in the 24H SERIES last month at Circuit Paul Ricard until issues with the left rear hub assembly brought a commanding run for the #188 Audi RS 3 LMS to a end with just 90 minutes to go. On top of that, at last year’s inaugural Hankook 16H HOCKENHEIMRING, AC Motorsport tangled on the start-finish straight with Red Camel-Jordans.nl’s Ivo Breukers and TOPCAR Sport’s Fabian Danz seconds after the green flag flew. Though the repaired Audi ran well into the second half of the event, AC Motorsport eventually retired from the event altogether.
With the Belgian team now lying just one point adrift of TCE championship lead Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing, Stéphane Perrin believes staying out of trouble this weekend is crucial to AC Motorsport’s title aspirations.
"We will clearly start from zero," Perrin explained in an official team communique. “The [Hockenheimring] is not ideal for Audi, but we demonstrated at Mugello earlier this season that we can play for the win even on tracks where the Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR and the CUPRA TCR are more comfortable. Moreover, the presence at the start of another Audi RS 3 LMS TCR, entered by Bonk Motorsport, will be a good benchmark for us.
“But as we have seen in previous races, there are a lot of top teams competing and they will always run at the front [of the TCE division]. So there is no choice: if we want to win the title, which is clearly the goal of our season, we must not only finish but avoid trouble until the end."
Like last month, Perrin will partner with TCR Benelux race winner Mathieu Detry. This weekend however, the pair will joined in the #188 Audi by series returnee, Stefan Wieninger. The German driver last competed in the 24H SERIES at the 2017 Hankook 12H IMOLA in an LMS Engineering TT R2.
“We will indeed be accompanied by Stefan Wieninger, a German driver who is in the Audi fold and who knows the circuit particularly well,” Perrin continues. “He rode an Audi TT RS2 [in the Spezial Tourenwagen Trophy], in the Audi R8 LMS Cup, and he won the Touring category at the Nürburgring 24 Hours in 2017. He is undoubtedly a very good recruit for this event, and it is one of the charms of endurance racing to ensure that a unique crew is complementary and efficient from the start."
Track action for this weekend’s Hankook 12H HOCKENHEIMRING gets under way with official Free Practice at 17.40 hrs local time on Friday 21 May. TCE and GT qualifying sessions go green on Saturday 22 May at 09.00 hrs, and the first half of the Hankook 12H HOCKENHEIMRING gets underway at 13.30 hrs later that same afternoon. Live coverage of qualifying and the race itself will be available on the 24H SERIES’ official YouTube channel.
- Images – Petr Frýba and Boost Racing Images