The Bohemia Energy racing with Scuderia Praha Ferrari 488 GT3 (#11, Jiří Písařík / Josef Kral / Matteo Malucelli) leads the 20th running of the Hankook 24H BARCELONA after four hours of running. The Czech-run Ferrari is the first non-Mercedes-AMG GT3 to lead the event outright, is the only non-Mercedes in the top five at present, and is gunning for its third overall race win of the 2018 24H SERIES powered by Hankook season.
The Ferrari holds a slim lead over the RAM Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 RAM Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#5, Remon Leonard Vos / Tom Onslow-Cole
Yelmer Buurman / Rik Breukers), the latter of which captured pole position yesterday in the dying seconds of qualifying by just 0.015s. At the start of the race, the British team held onto its top spot to lead the field around the 4.655km Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, rebuffing strong runs from fellow Mercedes runners Hofor-Racing (#1 Michael Kroll / Chantal Prinz / Roland Eggimann / Kenneth Heyer / Christiaan Frankenhout) and Swiss Team (#15, Joël Camathias / Mauro Calamia / Christoph Lenz / Roberto Pampanini), both of which have since dropped back to 5th and 9th respectively following the opening rounds of pit stops.
The overall top three is thus completed by PROsport Performance (#85, Charles Putman / Charles Espenlaub / Joe Foster / Adam Christodoulou), which also holds the A6-Am lead over Hofor-Racing and Swiss Team. The #85 Mercedes-AMG GT3 currently leads the GT European Championship standings by just five points over Bohemia Energy racing with Scuderia Praha, and is less than 25 seconds up the road from reigning Champion of the Continents Herberth Motorsport (#911, Daniel Allemann / Ralf Bohn / Matt Campbell / Alfred Renauer). The Porsche 911 GT3 R lies 4th after an impressive run from 9th on the grid.
Having led the race on its first series start since claiming GT victory in this year’s Hankook 12H SILVERSTONE, the ROFGO Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#31, Roald Goethe / Stuart Hall / Daniel Brown / Thomas Jaeger) has since dropped back to 6th ahead of the returning Wochenspiegel Team Monschau Ferrari 488 GT3 (#488, Georg Weiss / Oliver Kainz / Jochen
Krumbach / Nico Menzel) and the IDEC SPORT RACING Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#17, Patrice Lafargue / Marvin Klein / Dimitri Enjalbert).
Further back in A6-AM, the debuting R-Motorsport Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 (#620, Andreas Baenziger / Peter Leemhuis / Markus Lungstrass / Jake Dennis) also endured a difficult start to the race. Having qualified 3rd, the British team would drop well down the order following a 30-minute pit stop to repair the front splitter. Similarly, the Car Collection Motorsport Audi R8 LMS (#33, Ali Çapan / Stefan Aust / Alex Autumn / Isaac Tutumlu Lopez / Ivan Pareras) had made a strong start to run 3rd overall in the early going only for two left rear punctures in quick succession to drop the Audi to the tail of the GT field. The sister #34 entry (Johannes Dr. Kirchhoff / Gustav Edelhoff / Elmar Grimm / Ingo Vogler / Max Edelhoff)rounds out the top 10 after the first four hours of competition.
The SPX class is currently being led by the Leipert Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo (#10, Harald Schlotter / Marcus Påverud / Anthony Lambert / Morgan Haber), albeit by less than a minute ahead of the True-Racing KTM X-BOW (#116, Reinhard Kofler / Laura Kraihamer / Naomi Schiff / Eike Angermayr / Klaus Angerhofer). Despite mechanical gremlins grinding the closed-wheel sports car to a halt on-track, the second True-Racing entry (#117, Hubert Trunkenpolz / Sehdi Sarmini / Artur Chwist / Gerald Kiska / Reinhard Kofler) still holds 3rd in-class.
The EBIMOTORS Porsche 991-I Cup (#73, Lino Curti / Carlo Curti / Marco Frezza / Federico Curti) currently leads a very close battle for 991 honours ahead of Porsche Lorient Racing (#64, Pascal Gibon / Lionel Amrouche / Frédéric Ancel) and IDEC SPORT RACING (#75, David Abramczyk / Stephane Adler / Romain Vozniak / Christophe Cresp / Frank Mechaly), with all three lapping 13th, 14th and 15th on the road respectively. Significantly, IDEC SPORT RACING leads the 991-class in the European Championship, and remains in contention for the overall GT title.
Last year’s Hankook 24H BARCELONA winners NM Racing Team (#215, Nikolay Dmitriev / Maxime Guillemat / Lluc Ibáñez / Max Llobet / Xavier Lloveras) holds a comfortable lead in the GT4 class over fellow Ginetta G55 runners Endurance Team Romania (#446, Sergiu Nicolae / Fabrizio Broggi / Mike Simpson) and current GT4 standings leader, QSR Racingschool Mercedes-AMG GT4 (#254, Mario Timmers / Bert Redant / Michiel Verhaeren / Jimmy de Breucker / Hubert Haupt).
MONLAU COMPETICION leads TCE at home
Home town heroes MONLAU COMPETICION (#107, Jurgen Smet / José Manuel Pérez Aicart / Alvaro Bajo / Ander Vilariño) currently leads a CUPRA TCR 1-2 in the TCE division, just ahead of NKPP Racing by Bas Koeten Racing (#175, Gijs Bessem / Harry Hilders / Jan Sorensen /
Kristian Jepsen). Although off the overall TCE podium, a strong run from CUPRA Racing – MONLAU COMPETICION (#108, Alba Cano Ramirez / Laia Sanz / Francesc Gutierrez Agüi / Jordi Gené) means CUPRA TCRs monopolise the TCR podium.
The Munckhof Racing BMW M4 (#259, Eric van den Munckhof / Marcel van Berlo / Ted van Vliet / Marco Poland) completes the overall TCE podium and leads the SP3 class after a frenetic start for former category leaders, CWS. The #278 Ginetta G55 GT4 (Michael Jensen / Nick Adcock / Adam Hayes / Matthew Nicoll-Jones / Finlay Hutchison) had started from TCE pole position and led the sister #178 entry in the opening stages, but drama unfolded just before the two-hour mark when the Ginetta erupted into flames on-track. The #278 was retired on the spot, but fortunately, nobody was injured in the blaze.
This left the sister CWS entry (#178, Colin White / James May / Paul May / Steven Wells) in the overall lead of TCE, but the Ginetta would eventually drop back to 2nd in-class following a close encounter with the R-Motorsport Aston.
In A3, reigning 24H TCE SERIES champions Synchro Motorsport (#76, Alyn James / Daniel Wheeler / Andrew Hack) hold the class lead with its FK8-generation Honda Civic Type-R. Hofor Racing powered by Bonk Motorsport BMW M235i Racing Cup (#131, Martin Kroll / Michael Schrey / Michael Fischer / Bernd Küpper / Gustav Engljaehringer) lies 2nd in-class, retaining its place at the top of the TCE European Championship standings in the process.
The 2018 Hankook 24H BARCELONA will continue uninterrupted throughout the night before the chequered flag is flown at 12.00 hrs local time on Sunday.
Source. Creventic/Photo. Petr Frýba