Though MiddleCap racing with Scuderia Praha came just over 50 seconds short of victory at the 2021 Hankook 12 HOCKENHEIMRING, driver Josef Král feels the former Overall GT Teams’ champion can still be satisfied with its result.
MiddleCap racing with Scuderia Praha’s Josef Král believes the Czech team can be happy with 2nd place at this past weekend’s Hankook 12H HOCKENHEIMRING, given that a brake issue and a time penalty hindered the Ferrari 488 GT3 during the course of the event.
The #11 Ferrari 488 GT3 started the event strongly with pole position and a 40-second advantage over the pursuing Haegeli by T2 Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R heading into the overnight intervention on Saturday when the Czech team was handed a 60-second penalty for overtaking another car during a Code 60 caution period. Opting to serve the penalty the following morning, Scuderia Praha lost a further six minutes replacing the brakes on the Ferrari 488 GT3, a pit stop that ultimately dropped the Czech team two laps down.
Fast stints from both Král and teammates Matúš Výboh and Dennis Waszek though, plus strategic pit stops during the Code 60s, meant the team was still less than 90 seconds behind, and closing, on the T2 Racing Porsche. Despite closing the gap to just 53.359s, Král was unable to recoup the lost time and overhaul Marc Basseng in the winning Porsche.
“I am very happy that we managed to finish another 12-hour race in 2nd place,” Král explained to Czech website F1sport. “After two great racing weekends, another big challenge awaited us at Hockenheim. Dennis Waszek joined the team, replacing Mira Výboha for this race. That was a pretty big change, but one I knew we could handle it. And this time we really had something to do because we had problems with the brakes and we didn't even have a radio. So it was a really challenging race.
“On the other hand, I would like to thank the boys from Scuderia Praha for a super-fast car, which clearly had the pace to win, and also Matúš and Dennis for a great ride. Hopefully we will break it next time.”
Across an astonishingly close three-way fight for the win at Hockenheim, Scuderia Praha led a combined total of 160 of the 384 total completed laps – compared with 153 for T2 Racing and 57 for the Leipert Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3 – and secured the overall fastest lap on both days. Having been beaten off the line into turn one at Sunday’s restart, Král in the Ferrari also engaged in an extraordinary fight for the lead with T2 Racing’s Basseng during the opening laps of ‘part two’ of the Hankook 12H HOCKENHEIMRING.
In the three races since its return to the 24H SERIES in Mugello, Scuderia Praha has now finished each one of them in 2nd place. Despite missing the opening round in Dubai, the #11 Ferrari is now 5th in the Overall GT Teams’ standings and just 16 points behind the leader heading into the next round at Portimão on 16-17-18 July.