· WTM by Rinaldi Racing leads home Ferrari 1-2 at Estoril.
· Haas RT takes podium finish and GT3 Teams’ championship lead.
· Red Camel-Jordans.nl secures 992 win; RPM Racing overcomes gearbox change for 992-AM victory.
· Atlas BX Motorsport bests Buggyra ZM Racing for GT4 win.
· Grid set for tomorrow’s Hankook 12H ESTORIL (Saturday 8 July).
ESTORIL (7 July, 2023) – WTM by Rinaldi Racing completed a commanding run to win CREVENTIC’s 6H Qualifying Race at Estoril in its first 24H SERIES outing with the brand-new Ferrari 296 GT3.
The WTM by Rinaldi Racing Ferrari (#22, Georg Weiss / Leonard Weiss / Jochen Krumbach / Torsten Kratz) secured pole position for the six-hour event earlier this morning, and thereafter led 162 of the completed 196 laps around the 4.182km Circuito Estoril to secure its first win of the 2023 24H SERIES powered by Hankook season. Demonstrating how hard the Ferrari had been pushing, Torsten Kratz, before collecting the chequered flag, hit pit road for a final splash-and-dash with less than 10 minutes of the race to run.
The result means the German team will start tomorrow’s inaugural Hankook 12H ESTORIL from outright pole position.
For added context, the WTM by Rinaldi Racing Ferrari completed more than 819 km en-route to victory, further even than the distance from the northern most tip of Portugal to the country’s southernmost point (561 km).
Hankook 12H MUGELLO winner HAAS RT (#21, Frédéric Vervisch / Mathieu Detry / Gregory Servais) had looked set to finish 2nd overall, the Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II even taking the overall lead in the first hour during the event’s only Code 60. Shortly afterwards however, the Antiguan team lost two laps to a left-rear puncture, and, adding insult to injury, was handed a 42-second penalty for exceeding the speed limit during the opening Code 60. Served post-race, the penalty ultimate dropped Haas RT to 3rd overall, though the podium finish nevertheless vaults Haas RT to the top of the GT3 Teams’ championship standings.
Despite tyre wear concerns, Kessel Racing (#8, Alessandro Cutrera / Marco Talarico / Marco Frezza / David Fumanelli / L.M.D.V.), and after Haas RT’s penalty, was elevated to 2nd overall and took its first 24H SERIES podium during the 6H Qualifying Race, securing a 1-2 finish for Ferrari’s 296 GT3 in the process.
6H Qualifying Race, Estoril – Overall GT podium
1. WTM Racing by Rinaldi Racing (#22, Ferrari 296 GT3) – 196 laps
2. Kessel Racing (#8, Ferrari 296 GT3) – 195 laps
3. Haas RT (#21, Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II) – + 16.338s
Fittingly, GT3-AM Teams’ title rivals CP Racing (#85, Charles Putman / Charles Espenlaub / Joe Foster / Shane Lewis) and E2P Racing (#90, Javier Morcillo / Pablo Burguera / Antonio Sainero) finished line astern in 4th and 5th overall. The American team’s Mercedes-AMG GT3 and the Spanish team’s Porsche 991.2 GT3 R were split by just 58 seconds at the chequered flag.
The Scherer Sport PHX Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II (#1, Michael Doppelmayr / Pierre Kaffer / Elia Erhart / Christer Jöns) completed a strong comeback drive to finish 6th. The reigning GT European Trophy winner had slipped back to 12th during the frenetic opening stages, and was later served a 30-second penalty for causing a collision with PCR Sport Mercedes-AMG GT4: on the approach to the Parabolica, the Audi rear left made contact with the Mercedes’ front right, breaking the latter’s steering arm. Though at one stage battling for an overall podium spot, a late-race tyre change eventually dropped Scherer Sport PHX back down to 6th.
The MP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#58, Thomas Gostner / Manuela Gostner / Corinna Gostner / David Gostner / Fabrizio Crestani) was the last of the classified GT3 runners, having survived tyre wear issues and several spins to round out the overall top 10.
The Red Camel-Jordans.nl Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (#909, Ivo Breukers / Rik Breukers / Luc Breukers / Fabian Danz) secured its first 992 class win of the season – its first since last year’s Hankook 12H HOCKENHEIMRING – as well as class pole position for tomorrow’s race after a commanding performance. The Porsche Cup Car’s pace was so strong, the Dutch team was even battling with the Kessel Racing Ferrari for 5th overall during the opening stages. Behind the winner, Willi Motorsport by Ebimotors (#955, Sergiu Nicolae / Sabino de Castro / Papi Cosimo) finished just 38s adrift in 2nd.
Reigning 992 Teams’ champion Red Ant Racing completed a confident run to finish 3rd (#903, Ayrton Redant / Yannick Redant / Kobe de Breucker) and 4th (#904, Jimmy de Breucker / Michiel Haverans / Brent Verheyen) in-class, a result that maintains the Belgian team’s healthy lead in the 992 standings.
Trouble befell both 992-AM runners in the 6H Qualifying Race. Niggling electrical problems meant HRT Performance (#967, Roberto Pampanini / Amedeo Pampanini / Stefano Monaco / Nicolas Stürzinger) failed to take the race start at all, the Porsche in the end completing only 13 shakedown laps in preparation for tomorrow’s Hankook 12H ESTORIL. Interestingly, after 120 laps, the German team also opted to rest its sister entry (#930, Kari-Pekka Laaksonen / Antti Buri / Axel Sartingen / Daniele Di Amato) and its drivers.
992-AM Teams’ championship leader RPM Racing meanwhile (#907, Tracy Krohn / Niclas Jönsson / Philip Hamprecht) was among the 992 frontrunners in the early going, but lost more than 90 minutes to a gearbox change. The latter eventually took the chequered flag 17th overall, but still managed to seal 992-AM victory.
6H Qualifying Race, Estoril – Overall GT podium
1. Red Camel-Jordans.nl (#909, Porsche 992 GT3 Cup) – 191 laps
2. Willi Motorsport by Ebimotors (#955, Porsche 992 GT3 Cup) – + 38.128s
3. Red Ant Racing (#21, Porsche 992 GT3 Cup) – 190 laps
The RD Signs - Siauliai racing team Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo (#720, Audrius Butkevicius / Nicola Michelon / Paulius Paskevicius) enjoyed an untroubled run to GTX victory, and class pole for tomorrow’s Hankook 12H ESTORIL, after an early incident eliminated Vortex V8 (#701, Lionel Amrouche / Philippe Bonnel / Gilles Courtois) from contention. The French independent suffered brake failure on lap six and hit the barriers hard. Fortunately Gilles Courtois was unhurt in the impact, and, amazingly, managed to recover the Vortex 1.0 to the pits under its own steam. Repairs to the rear left corner took almost three hours to complete, but the team still completed sufficient race distance to be classified 2nd in-class.
An amazing fight for the GT4 class win ended in grandstand fashion when the Buggyra ZM Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 (#416, Aliyyah Koloc / David Vršecký / Adam Lacko) overtook the class leading Atlas BX Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4 (#403, Steven Cho / Roelof Bruins / Jongkyum Kim / Taekeun Yang / Donggi Noh) on-track in the closing 15 minutes. At the chequered flag, the pair were split by less than two seconds. A bizarre incident between Buggyra and MP Racing on the final lap however meant the Emirati-team was served a 30-second time penalty handing the GT4 class win back to Atlas BX Motorsport.
Further back, PCR Sport (#418, Josep Parera / Vicente Dasi / José Nuñez) lost just over 90 minutes in the pits after on-track contact with Scherer Sport PHX, but recovered enough ground to still be classified 3rd in GT4.
With the grid now set, endurance racing action continues this weekend on CREVENTIC’s first official visit to Circuito Estoril with tomorrow’s inaugural Hankook 12H ESTORIL (Saturday 8 July). The green flag is set to fly at 09.00 hrs local time, and will run uninterrupted until 21.00 hrs. 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