Bohemia Energy racing with Scuderia Praha (#11, Jiri Pisarik / Josef Kral / Matteo Malucelli) currently leads the first-ever Hankook 12H SILVERSTONE in an event beset by heavy rain and changeable conditions. The Ferrari 488 GT3 had started 9th on a dry grid after a difficult qualifying session earlier this morning, but smooth running during an early onslaught of rain allowed the Czech Republic team to work their way up the order. Indeed, the opening round of the 2018 European Championship has been far from smooth sailing for many of the pre-event favourites.
The current overall and GT leaders had enjoyed a sensational battle in appalling conditions with the IDEC SPORT RACING Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#17, Patrice Lafargue / Paul Lafargue / Dimitri Enjalbert) before the French-based machine ended its day against the pit wall. As a result, 2nd in-class is now held by the Forch Racing Porsche 991 GT3 R (#29, Patrick Eisemann / Robert Lukas / Zeljko Drmic), while the GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracán GT3 (#963, Rolf Ineichen / Mark Ineichen / Franck Perera / Phil Keen) currently completes the A6-Pro podium with seven more hours of racing to go. The race will re-commence on Saturday at 10.30am GMT.
Having started from pole position, the Ginetta G57 (#4, Steve Tandy / Bob Berridge / Mike Simpson / Charlie Robertson) had led all but five of the opening 81 laps around the 5.891km Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit, only to lose time on-track as temperatures, and grip, dropped considerably as the weather worsened. Changeable conditions across the first five hours have already caught out the second Simpson Motorsport Ginetta G57 (#6, John Corbett / Neale Muston / Andreas Laskaratos / Mike Simpson), which got off to a slow start at the beginning before damaging its underside during a high-speed trip across the grass. The #4 P2 PROTO retains the P2 class lead in 4th place overall, but the sister #6 prototype would not return before the end of the race, and will incur a penalty as repair work is conducted overnight during parc ferme conditions.
The Attempto Racing Lamborghini Huracàn GT3 (#66, Steijn Schothorst / Jürgen Krebs / Adrian Amstutz) is the current A6-Am class leader, having pulled three laps clear of the FF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 (#23, Ivor Dunbar / Bonamy Grimes / Johnny Mowlem) and the Car Collection Motorsport Audi R8 LMS (#33, Ali Çapan / Dimitri Parhofer / Isaac Tutumlu Lopez / Jason Baker). Interestingly, A6-Am now boasts three different manufacturers in the top three.
Problems meanwhile would strike the A6-Am – and overall GT – polesitter early on. Much as it did at the Hankook 24H DUBAI in January, the second GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracán GT3 (#964, Rik Breukers / Mauro Calamia / Christoph Lenz / Roberto Pampanini) would suffer a left rear puncture on-track, dropping out of the class lead as a result. Incredibly, low temperatures and high kerbs would also see the Herberth Motorsport Porsche 991 GT3 R (#911, Daniel Allemann / Ralf Bohn / Robert Renauer / Alfred Renauer) suffer a similar puncture just a few laps later, although the reigning champions of the Continents have so far recovered to 6th on the road.
Despite the early exit of its A6-Pro entry, IDEC SPORT RACING (#75, David Abramczyk / Stephane Adler / Michael Blanchemain / Romain Vozniak) continues to lead the all-Porsche 991 class ahead of both Porsche Lorient Racing 991-I Cup cars (#65, Jean-François Demorge / Alain Demorge / Gilles Blasco / Frederic Ancel, and #64, Philippe Polette / Frederic Lelievre / Mathieu Pontais / Pascal Gibon).
Series debutants Fox Motorsport (#47, Jamie Stanley / Glenn Sherwood / Ben Clucas) hold a slim lead over the Speed Lover Porsche 991-I (#78, Phillippe Denes / Dominique Bastien) in the SPX class after the class polesitter had to be recovered from the gravel trap at half-distance. The sole remaining PROTO entry meanwhile – the Krafft Racing Norma M20 FC (#97, Régis Tref / Norbert Sauvain / Karl Pedraza) – still leads the CN1 class, despite a collision on-track and 20-minutes in the pits to repair a damaged left front wheel.
Sadly, the Ram Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#5, Tom Onslow-Cole / Remon Leonard Vos) was forced to pull out of the event before the start of the race, heavy impact over the kerbs during qualifying dealing the team a terminal engine issue.
Today’s program continues with Night Practice at 19.00 GMT. After a brief hiatus overnight, the GT and PROTO runners continue race action again on Saturday at 10.30 GMT, and will be joined by the TCE division as the annual Hankook 24H SILVERSTONE also gets underway. Live timing and live streaming of the race in HD quality will be available on the series’ website. The streaming will also be uploaded on the series’ Youtube channel. Regular updates will be published on Twitter (@24HSeries), Facebook (24H Series) and Instagram (24H Series). Further information can be found at http://www.24hseries.com.
Source. Creventic/Photo. John Patterson