The RAM Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#5, Remon Leonard Vos / Tom Onslow-Cole / Yelmer Buurman / Rik Breukers) has taken pole position for the 20th running of the Hankook 24H BARCELONA on the very last flying lap of the session. Tom Onslow-Cole lapped the 4.655km Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya to claim the British team’s second outright pole position of the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook season by just 0.015s.
The #5 Mercedes was in a session long battle for the top spot against current GT European Championship standings leader, PROsport Performance (#85, Charles Putman / Charles Espenlaub / Joe Foster / Adam Christodoulou), dropping temperatures and the risk of rain causing a flurry of fastest laps from both frontrunners as the hour-long session drew to a close. So close was the competition that less than half a second covered the top five.
“We had a real mega lap on the run before, and in the very last corner we had a kafuffle with one of the other A6 cars,” a jubilant Tom Onslow-Cole explained to radiolemans.com’s Andrew Marriott. “So we really knew we had the pace, and it felt right to throw another set of tyres on and have another go.”
PROsport Performance makes it an all-Mercedes front row for tomorrow’s Hankook 24H BARCELONA after a strong run from Adam Christodoulou. The R-Motorsport Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 (#620, Andreas Baenziger / Peter Leemhuis / Markus Lungstrass / Jake Dennis) meanwhile will start its debut 24H SERIES event in 3rd place, just ahead of the third fastest A6-Am entrant, Hofor-Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#1 Michael Kroll / Chantal Prinz / Roland Eggimann / Kenneth Heyer / Christiaan Frankenhout).
Portimão race winners Bohemia Energy racing with Scuderia Praha (#11, Jiří Písařík / Josef Kral / Matteo Malucelli) was the second fastest of the A6-Pro runners, and will start the race in 6th just behind the Car Collection Motorsport Audi R8 LMS (#33, Ali Çapan / Stefan Aust / Alex Autumn / Isaac Tutumlu Lopez / Ivan Pareras). The Ferrari 488 GT3 lies just five points behind PROsport Performance in the GT European Championship standings, and will
be aiming for its third outright win of the season in Barcelona. The returning ROFGO Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 meanwhile (#31, Roald Goethe / Stuart Hall / Daniel Brown / Thomas Jaeger) starts 7th as the third fastest A6-Pro runner, and makes its first series start since taking GT victory earlier in the year at Silverstone.
The Leipert Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo (#10, Harald Schlotter / Marcus Påverud / Anthony Lambert / Morgan Haber) took the top spot in the SPX class ahead of the Vortex V8 Vortex 1.0 (#204, Julien Boillot / Philippe Burel / Stephane Cottrell / Victor Fernandes) and the True-Racing KTM X-BOW (#116, Reinhard Kofler / Laura Kraihamer / Naomi Schiff / Eike Angermayr / Klaus Angerhofer). All three are in line to become the sixth different winner of the SPX class at Barcelona in 2018.
The EBIMOTORS Porsche 991-I Cup (#73, Lino Curti / Carlo Curti / Marco Frezza / Federico Curti) topped a comfortable qualifying session for 991-class pole position as the Italian team aims for its third class win in four 24H SERIES outings this season. 991 class leaders IDEC SPORT RACING (#75, David Abramczyk / Stephane Adler / Romain Vozniak / Christophe Cresp / Frank Mechaly) qualified 2nd fastest, just ahead of championship rival Porsche Lorient Racing (#65, Jean-François Demorge / Alain Demorge / Gilles Blasco / Mathieu Pontais), which qualified 3rd in-class.
Further back, last year’s Hankook 24H BARCELONA race winners NM Racing Team Ginetta G55 GT4 (#215, Nikolay Dmitriev / Maxime Guillemat / Lluc Ibáñez / Max Llobet / Xavier Lloveras) made a strong start to its series return on home turf by securing GT4 class pole position ahead of fellow Ginetta runners Endurance Team Romania (#446, Sergiu Nicolae / Fabrizio Broggi / Mike Simpson). Current GT4-class standings leader QSR Racingschool Mercedes-AMG GT4 (#254, Mario Timmers / Bert Redant / Michiel Verhaeren / Jimmy de Breucker / Hubert Haupt) rounds out the GT4 top three in qualifying.
CWS Engineering locks out TCE pole position
CWS Engineering has secured a 1-3 in TCE qualifying for the 20th running of the 2018 Hankook 24H BARCELONA, the #278 Ginetta G55 GT4 (Michael Jensen / Nick Adcock / Adam Hayes / Matthew Nicoll-Jones / Finlay Hutchison) besting its sister #178 entry by just under a second. Matthew Nicoll-Jones lapped the 4.655km Circuit de Barcelona- Catalunya in 1m 55.388s, less than a tenth faster than the next fastest TCE runner. Incredibly, the British driver only received his call-up from the team last night, and had completed just three laps of the circuit before qualifying began.
“I got a phone call late last night, and my gear hadn’t even been washed because I was in Hungary a few days ago!” Matt Nichol-Jones explained to radiolemans.com’s Andrew Marriott. “I’ve also never been here before. But the car is just really good, I used to run [Ginettas] a lot, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the weekend.”
The AC Motorsport Audi RS3 LMS (#888, Laurent Piguet / Alexandre Renneteau / Stephane Perrin / Vincent Radermercker) takes its second TCR pole position of the year in Barcelona, while the second CWS entry (#178, Colin White / James May / Paul May / Steven Wells) completes the overall TCE top three, despite a suspected driveshaft issue effectively eliminating the #178 Ginetta from the final 15 minutes of qualifying.
The Red Camel-Jordans.nl SEAT Leon TCR (#303, Ivo Breukers / Monny Krant / Henry Littig / Bert de Heus / Rik Breukers) finished 2nd fastest of the TCR runners, just ahead of the returning MONLAU COMPETICION CUPRA TCR (#107, Jurgen Smet / José Manuel Pérez Aicart / Alvaro Bajo / Ander Vilariño). The Spanish team finished last year’s Hankook 24H BARCELONA on the outright podium, and makes its first series start of the season in Catalunya just ahead of the CUPRA Racing-affiliated sister entry (#108, Alba Cano Ramirez / Laia Sanz / Francesc Gutierrez Agüi / Jordi Gené ). The Munckhof Racing BMW M4 (#259, Eric van den Munckhof / Marcel van Berlo / Ted van Vliet / Marco Poland) meanwhile rounds out the SP3 top three.
A3 honours meanwhile will be a direct shootout between the class pole-sitting Hofor Racing powered by Bonk Motorsport BMW M235i Racing Cup (#131, Martin Kroll / Michael Schrey / Michael Fischer / Bernd Küpper / Gustav Engljaehringer) and Synchro Motorsport (#76, Alyn James / Daniel Wheeler / Andrew Hack). The former is gunning for its fifth consecutive class win of the season in Barcelona to extend its lead in the TCE European Championship standings, while the latter makes its first 24H SERIES race start since Silverstone. The defending 24H TCE SERIES champion is also making its first start with the brand new FK8 generation Honda Civic Type-R.
Today’s programme continues with night practice at 21.00 hrs local time before the green flag flies for the 20th running of the Hankook 24H BARCELONA itself at 12.00 hrs local time on Saturday. The race will continue throughout the night until the chequered flag is flown at 12.00 hrs local time on Sunday. 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.
Source. Creventic/Photo. Petr Frýba