After unanticipated travel restrictions led to its last-minute cancellation in 2021, the Hankook 24H PORTIMAO will instead be held next year and will count towards the 2022 24H SERIES powered by Hankook championship.
The Hankook 24H PORTIMAO is now set to feature prominently on the 2022 24H SERIES powered by Hankook calendar following last minute travel restrictions that prevented the event from running as scheduled earlier this month.
The fifth annual edition of the Hankook 24H PORTIMAO was set to take place on 16-17-18 July. However, heightened travel restrictions put in place by the German government on 29 June, which extended quarantine periods in Portugal to 14 days in light of an increased number of Covid-19 Delta variants recently detected in the region, made it impossible for most 24H SERIES competitors to attend the 24-hour event. Following feedback from teams, a mutual decision was made to cancel the 2021 running of the event.
Following discussions between CREVENTIC and management at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve though, it can now be confirmed that the Hankook 24H PORTIMAO will return next year, and will count towards the 2022 24H SERIES powered by Hankook championship standings.
The next round of this year’s 24H SERIES will thus be the Hankook 24H BARCELONA on 3-4-5 September. The now seven-round 2021 season will draw to a close as planned with the inaugural Hankook 24H SEBRING on 18-19-20 November.
News of Portimão’s cancellation was made official in an exclusive interview with Midweek Motorsport by Ivo Breukers.
“It was kind of a nightmare!” Ivo explained to RSL Studio’s Jon Hindhaugh. “We were planning full force and [things] were looking good, but then the German government decided to [introduce] a 14-day quarantine period on return from Portugal. Completely unexpected. Last year we had a lot of problems of course, with red zones and yellow zones, but we managed to get through it.
“But this time, we were caught a little by surprise: who had expected, with the summer coming up, with everything opening up and with vaccines now available, that we couldn’t race in Portimão? That was really unexpected.
“A lot of German teams were having problems with other schedules so they couldn’t afford to go for 14 days quarantine. There was no exception either regarding whether you went to Portugal for work or international sporting events. It was a Delta variant zone. So we decided to [cancel] the race.
“We looked into different weekends during this year, but knowing what was going on in Portugal and also looking at clashes with other races, we decided to move the Hankook 24H PORTIMAO to next year.”
In the run-up to the 2022 Hankook 24H PORTIMAO, the Hankook 24H DUBAI will open the 24H SERIES season as is traditional for the 17th time on 13-14-15 January. One week later on 21-22 January, the Yas Marina Circuit, home to the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix since 2009, will host the Hankook 6H ABU DHABI for the second consecutive year.
In 2020, the Hankook 24H PORTIMAO became the first international motor race in Europe to be held ‘behind closed doors’ on 12-13-14 June in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak. Alongside a well-earned victory for former Overall GT Teams’ champion Herberth Motorsport, CREVENTIC’s updated health and safety protocols at the venue were praised by competitors, fans and media personnel alike, and provided a blueprint for all subsequent 24H SERIES races hosted since then.