The GP Extreme Renault R.S.01 GT3 (#27, Frederic Fatien / Jean-Pierre Valentini / Nicky Pastorelli / Jordan Grogor / Bassam Kronfli) leads the 2018 Hankook 24H PORTIMAO after four hours of racing around the 4.692 km Autodromo do Algarve. The Emirati team, making only its second outing of the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook season, is the second A6-Am runner to assume the lead this afternoon, and the fourth in total so far.
The early stages of the race had been a straight-fight between the SPS automotive performance Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#24, Alexandre Coigny / Iradj Alexander / Richard Feller / Antonin Borga) – which had started on pole position – and the Hofor-Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#1, Michael Kroll / Chantal Prinz / Roland Eggimann / Kenneth Heyer / Christiaan Frankenhout). Different fuel strategies though mean the Swiss and German Mercedes-AMGs have now dropped to 4th and 6th respectively with 20 hours of the race still to go.
This afternoon’s other leader was the Bohemia Energy racing with Scuderia Praha Ferrari 488 GT3 (#11, Jiří Písařík / Josef Kral / Matteo Malucelli), which started on the front row of the GT grid. Mixed fuel strategies means the Ferrari now runs 2nd on the road and leads A6-Pro, just ahead of the first Car Collection Motorsport Audi R8 LMS (#32, Christopher Haase / Pierre Kaffer / Jeffrey Schmidt / Peter Schmidt). Hofor Racing completes the A6-Pro top three.
The second Car Collection Motorsport Audi (#34, Johannes Dr. Kirchhoff / Gustav Edelhoff / Elmar Grimm / Ingo Vogler /Max Edelhoff) is 5th on the road after four hours and currently lies 2nd in A6-Am. Regrettably, owing to an accident during Friday free practice, the third and final Car Collection Motorsport entry (#33, Ali Çapan / Siegfried Kuzdas / Stefan Aust / Isaac Tutumlu Lopez / Edward Lewis Brauner) was forced to withdraw from the event with a cracked chassis. SPS automotive performance rounds out the A6-Am top podium.
Despite a flurry of gearbox issues earlier in the weekend, the Leipert Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo (#10, Razvan Umbrarescu / Gabriele Piana / John-Louis Jasper / Pavel Lefterov) leads the SPX class and lies 7th on the road, just ahead of the 8th-placed PROsport Performance Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#85, Charles Putman / Charles Espenlaub / Joe Foster / Adam Christodoulou).
The Speed Lover Porsche 991-I Cup (#78, Dominique Bastien / Pierre-Yves Paque / Wim Meulders) and the Manthey Racing Porsche 991 GT3 R (#912, Ralf Bohn / Alfred Renauer / Robert Renauer / Mathieu Jaminet) are the 2nd and 3rd highest models in SPX. The latter had been running comfortably at the head of SPX during the opening stages, but would lose time on the car’s series debut with a suspected puncture.
Behind the class-leading Forch Racing Porsche 991 GT3 Cup (#189, Patrick Eisemann / Stefan Oschmann / Christopher Bauer / Robert Lukas), EBIMOTORS (#73, Lino Curti / Carlo Curti / Marco Frezza / Federico Curti) runs 2nd in 991 in its pursuit of its third consecutive class win this season. Having failed to post a time in qualifying owing to an exhaust issue, the IDEC SPORT RACING Porsche 991-I Cup (#75, David Abramczyk / Stephane Adler / Romain Vozniak / Florent Jimenez / Lionel Amrouche) has since recovered to 3rd in-class.
Further back, the QSR Racingschool Mercedes-AMG GT4 (#254, Mario Timmers / Bert Redant / Michiel Verhaeren / Jimmy de Breucker) holds a comfortable lead in GT4 in front of the Perfection Racing Europe Ginetta G55 GT4 (#239, Claus Klostermann / Michael Klostermann / René Rasmussen / Tommy Laugesen) and the returning Fox Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT4 (#47, Glenn Sherwood / Jamie Stanley / Ben Clucas / Andrew Perry).
Bas Koeten Racing leads the TCE class with a 1-2
At the head of the TCE field, the NKPP Racing by Bas Koeten Racing CUPRA TCR (#175, Gijs Bessem / Harry Hilders / Bob Herber / Willem Meijer) leads a CUPRA 1-2 ahead of its ‘sister’ entry, the Kawasaki Racing by Bas Koeten Racing CUPRA TCR (#155, Kristian Jepsen / Jan Sorensen / Kari-Pekka Laaksonen / Antti Buri). The latter had qualified on TCE pole position on Friday and led comfortably during the opening stages, but has since dropped back in the most recent pit stop sequence. The Red Camel-Jordans.nl SEAT Leon TCR (#303, JM Littman / Henry Littig / Klaus Kresnik / Nuno Corvo) completes an all-TCR top three after four hours of running.
Controversy surrounded the start of the TCE race when the Kawasaki Racing by Bas Koeten Racing CUPRA made contact with the LAMERA-CUP powered by CTF Performance Lamera Cup (#238, Nicolas Beraud / Fabien Delaplace / Laurent Piguet / Gilles Poret) across the line, both narrowly avoiding a trip into the pitwall. The Lamera would eventually head to pitroad for repairs.
Despite frequent visits to the pitlane – including one stop to repair the driver’s side door – the CWS Engineering Ginetta G55 (#178, Colin White / Joachim Bölting / Steven Wells / Adam Hayes) leads the SP3 field ahead of the Cor Euser Racing BMW M3 (#71, Cor Euser / Einar Thorsen / Jim Briody) and the WEC Motorsport BMW E46 M3 (#139, Dave Cox / Jason Cox / Michael Cox / Guy Povey / George Haynes).
At the tail of the field, the Hofor Racing powered bei Bonk Motorsport BMW M235i Racing Cup (#131, Martin Kroll / Michael Schrey / Michael Fischer / Bernd Küpper / Gustav Engljaehringer) ahead of both Sorg Rennsport BMW M235i Racing Cups, the #152 entry (Keijo Kaasik / Jesko Herrmann / Dirk Bierbaum / José Pires / Paulo Macedo) having pulled clear of the sister #151 (Chris Wadle / Chris Lewis / David Richardson / Alexander W. Wetzlich / Seth Thomas).
For the only time this season, points awarded at the Hankook 24H PORTIMAO this weekend will count towards both the European Championship and the Championship of the Continents.
The 2018 Hankook 24H PORTIMAO will continue uninterrupted throughout the night before the chequered flag is flown at 15.00 hrs local time on Sunday.
Source. Creventic/photo. Petr Frýba