Having finished 2nd in-class at the Hankook 24H BARCELONA, Miguel Oliveira is happy that his 24H SERIES debut provided “an exciting excursion to car racing”. KTM boss Hubert Trunkenpolz also praises the MotoGP factory rider and the class winning Reiter Engineering.
Three-time MotoGP race winner Miguel Oliveira has praised his debut in the 24H SERIES as “an exciting excursion to car racing” following his maiden endurance race at the Hankook 24H BARCELONA.
Oliveira, a KTM factory rider in the MotoGP with one win already to his name in 2021, was one of eight drivers selected to race True-Racing’s two KTM X-BOW GTXs at the recent Hankook 24H BARCELONA. A full-time competitor in MotoGP since 2019, and a regular in Moto2 and Moto3 prior to that dating back to 2011, Portugal’s first MotoGP race winner had yet to make his car racing debut before his first 24H SERIES outing.
Heading into the night at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, the #716 True-Racing KTM in which Oliveira, Peter Kox, Reinhard Kofler and Ferdinand Stuck was competing had held the GTX-class uninterrupted for 12 hours. However, a loss of power on the main start-finish straight just five laps into Kox’s stint meant the KTM had to be recovered to the box, the subsequent 37-minute pit stop eventually dropping the #716 to 2nd in-class at the flag behind Reiter Engineering’s own X-BOW.
Oliveira maintained though that, despite the disappointment, his car racing debut had nevertheless met his pre-race expectations.
“That was an exciting excursion to car racing,” 26-year-old Oliveira explained in an official KTM communique. “It was a completely different form of racing for me, no doubt. Because of the permanent overtaking of slower opponents, keeping up the pace all the time wasn’t that easy. That is something I don’t know from MotoGP. But I am very happy! Prior to the race, I said that I wanted to make it to the finish and that worked out pretty well!”
Even despite the #716’s power issue, water pump / gearbox issues that hindered the sister #717 en-route to 4th, and a heavy accident during the night that eliminated RTR Projects’ own entry, KTM board member Hubert Trunkenpolz was adamant that a manufacturer 1-2 at the Hankook 24H BARCELONA was more than enough reason to celebrate.
“All the KTM teams presented themselves really well and delivered numerous highlights,” explained Trunkenpolz, who competed alongside Sehdi Sarmini, Klaus Angerhofer, Stefan Rosina and Peter Kox in the #717 KTM. “I was very happy to see how Miguel Oliveira got better and better with every session and eventually even ended up on the podium. I am just as happy for the Felbermayr-Reiter team, congratulations to Horst [Felbermayr Jr], Eike [Angermayr] and Mads [Siljehaug]!”
“Our trio has worked hard to secure this success,” team principal Hans Reiter added. “We decided to do only double stints and this really paid off! But it has been a real challenge for the drivers in these temperatures. Another factor was that we were one of only a few cars with just three drivers alternating behind the wheel, that made it even more challenging.”
KTM’s 1-2 finish at the 2021 Hankook 24H BARCELONA not only vaults Reiter Engineering to the head of the GTX-class standings, but also marks the second time in succession at the event that the Austrian brand has taken class victory. On the X-BOW GTX’s competitive debut in 2019, Johannes and Ferdinand Stuck, Laura Kraihamer and Sehdi Sarmini took a commanding ‘SPX’ win for True-Racing ahead of the Team Clickvers.de Porsche 991 Cup MR.
- Images – Petr Frýba