Equipe Verschuur may well have secured the first ever pole position in the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook for a Renault R.S.01 GT3 (albeit not the first front row start), but the Dutch team’s hopes of a runaway victory were short-lived, terminal engine problems brutally bringing the French sports car to a stand-still after just 16 laps. Few were surprised that, following the Verschuur’s retirement, perennial front runner Herberth Motorsport found itself in the pound seat thereafter, with all three of the Bavarian team’s Porsche 911 GT3 Rs vying for victory.
Fewer still expected the hard-charging KTM GTX prototype of Reiter Engineering to throw its metaphorical hat into the ring for outright victory at the first-ever Hankook 12H MONZA. The ‘GTX’ class leader worked its way into the lead, on merit, on lap 63, retook the lead once again on lap 75, and went on to collect the chequered flag at the end of the first four hours after a tense, grandstand sprint to the line against the #91 Herberth Motorsport Porsche. Could Reiter Engineering really pull a shock win out of the bag at the temple of speed?
Questions aplenty concerned the TCE division too. Brutal Fish by KCMG collected the best qualifying result in the 24H SERIES for a Honda Civic Type-R to-date, but the Hong Kong team found itself swamped in the opening pit stop scramble and jettisoned back to 4th come the first chequered flag on Friday. The race was on over the final eights to see whether the Brutal (and presumably cheesed-off) Fish could retake its lead from the similarly hard-charging Red Camel-Jordans.nl – itself recovering from suspension issues – reigning Overall TCE Teams’ champion Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing, and Dubai winner, AC Motorsport. Who would dare predict a winner from that lot?
Were all that not enough to keep our eyes trained on the timing screens, a rain storm of almost biblical proportions led to a near two-hour red flag period. After which, bizarrely, a bone-dry track gave no hints to the monsoon that, only hours earlier, had threatened to wash out the Hankook 12H MONZA altogether.
Not enough? How about Italian team MP Racing (interview HERE) vying for an outright podium finish in its maiden 24H SERIES outing? The thoroughly out-gunned WEC Motorsport holding off a hard-charging Autorama Motorsport for ‘TCX’ honours? The Coronel brothers racing in, and tweeting about – ‘GT4’ victory? And an historic parade lap on Monza’s famed banked oval?
The inaugural Hankook 12H MONZA truly had it all.