· Red Camel-Jordans.nl takes first win of the season at Mugello.
· NKPP Racing pips AC Motorsport for 2nd place.
· Speed Lover takes hard-earned TCX class win.
MUGELLO (27 March, 2021) – Red Camel-Jordans.nl emerged victorious at the Hankook 12H MUGELLO after a race-long battle with seasoned TCE rivals NKPP Racing by Bas Koeten Racing and AC Motorsport.
All three began ‘part two’ of the 12-hour event on the same lap on Saturday morning, and the Red Camel-Jordans.nl CUPRA TCR (#101, Ivo Breukers / Rik Breukers) was quickly on a charge going door handle-to-door handle with both the AC Motorsport Audi RS3 LMS (#188, Stéphane Perrin / Mathieu Detry) and the NKPP Racing by Bas Koeten Racing CUPRA TCR (#175, Harry Hilders / Gijs Bessem) throughout the opening hour. Having played its pit strategy to perfection during multiple Code 60 caution periods, the CUPRA eventually pulled two laps clear of its rivals en-route to its first TCE win in the 24H SERIES since last year’s Hankook 12H MONZA.
Rik Breukers completed 310 laps of the 5.245km Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello en-route to the chequered flag.
“I think the Code 60s were quite lucky for us,” Rik Breukers explains to radiolemans.com’s Ben Constanduros. “In the first half of the race, everyone had exactly the same strategy and the top three were always within 20 seconds of each other. So it was a really exciting race and in the end, our strategy worked out really well. We got a nice lead, and we just had to bring it home. TCR in general is very competitive in the 24H SERIES, so it’s fun to really fight for the victory. If you make one mistake, you’re immediately done!”
An unluckily timed Code 60 caution period ultimately meant NKPP Racing leapfrogged AC Motorsport for 2nd place during the final TCR pit stops, though the pair were still split by just 17 seconds at the chequered flag.
The Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR (#1, Marcus Menden / Walter Reho / Emil Heyerdahl / Constantin Kletzer) had looked set to secure 4th overall in TCE after a tough weekend, only for the Volkswagen to suffer a broken suspension strut inside the final 15 minutes. The delay thus handed 4th to the RC2 Junior Team by Cabra Racing CUPRA Leon Competición TCR (#108, Rubén Fernández / Victor Fernández / Felipe Fernández), a solid result on the car’s maiden series outing.
Reigning 991-class champion Speed Lover (#206, Kurt Hensen / Philippe Wils) took a well-deserved win on its maiden run in TCX with the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 CS, a faultless showing also netting the Belgian team 6th overall in the TCE division just ahead of the JUTA Racing junior CUPRA TCR (#121, Audrius Navickas / Aurimas Jablonskis / Nerijus Baliunas / Algirdas Gelžinis / Ignas Gelžinis).
Despite multiple issues throughout the weekend, the CWS Engineering Ginetta G55 (#278, Colin White / Jean-Francois Brunot / James Kell) secured 2nd in-class ahead of the equally luckless JR Motorsport BMW E46 GTR (#202, Bas Schouten / Coos Schouten / Dirk Schouten), the latter of which was plagued with suspension and handling issues for most of Friday.
Coupled with its 2nd place in class at January’s Hankook 24H DUBAI, this result now puts CWS Engineering at the head of the TCE division standings, albeit just one point clear of AC Motorsport.
The sister JR Motorsport BMW M3 F80 (#203, Ted van Vliet / Ward Sluys / Sandra van der Sloot) retired in dramatic fashion when its carbon fibre bonnet split in half on the run down into turn one, the Lotus PB Racing Lotus Elise Cup PB-R (#205, Denis Bonvini / Luca Flaccadori / Franco Nespoli / Maurizio Fortina / Alberto Grisi) following the BMW into retirement a few laps later after a race-long battle with suspected engine and electrical problems.
After a difficult race that also included a collision with the Equipe Verschuur Renault, the Elite Motorsport Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR DSG (#147, Simone Patrinicola / Pierluigi Alessandri / Gianvito Rossi) eventually rounded out the top 10 in TCE on the Italian team’s series debut.
Endurance racing action continues on 23-24 April, as the SERIES powered by Hankook travels to Circuit Paul Ricard in France for the returning Hankook 12H CIRCUIT PAUL RICARD. One month later on 22-23 May, CREVENTIC will host the Hankook 12H HOCKENHEIMRING in Germany. Further details regarding the 2021 24H SERIES calendar and championship standings can be found HERE.