The Bohemia Energy racing with Scuderia Praha Ferrari 488 GT3 (#11, Jiří Písařík / Josef Kral / Matteo Malucelli) opened its 2019 European Championship account in commanding fashion with a victory at the Hankook 12H MUGELLO. Matteo Malucelli took the Ferrari over the line to complete 330 laps of the 5.245km Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello and cement Scuderia Praha’s second victory at the fifth running of the event.
Having led every one of the opening 85 laps of the 12-hour endurance event, the Scuderia Praha Ferrari also maintained the top spot during this morning’s rolling re-start, only relinquishing the lead, briefly, to a charging Barwell Motorsport after 100 laps had been completed. Strong pit work though, plus issues for many of its nearest rivals, allowed the Ferrari to build the three-lap advantage it would hold to the finish.
“This is really amazing because this is our second win in Mugello,” Jiří Písařík explained to radiolemans.com’s Joe Bradley. “In the beginning, I wasn’t sure how it was going to go, but this was really incredible. Matteo did a great job, he drove 4.5hrs combined, and his pace was absolutely perfect.”
“It’s definitely perfect,” teammate Josef Kral agreed. “It’s like a home track for us, especially for Matteo because he lives just 45 minutes away. And to do this with a Ferrari, we’re going to have to celebrate this properly!”
Despite suffering intermittent fuel pick-up issues, the Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3 (#77, Adrian Amstutz / Patrick Kujala / Phil Keen) finished a commendable 2nd place on its season debut, leading 28 of the 330 completed laps. A similarly impressive run meant the Herberth Motorsport Porsche 991 GT3 R (#91, Daniel Allemann / Ralf Bohn / Robert Renauer / Alfred Renauer) rounded out the top three after working its way through the order from 7th on this morning’s re-start grid.
Victory in A6-Am, dramatically, went down to the wire between the Hofor-Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#10, Michael Kroll / Roland Eggimann / Kenneth Heyer / Christiaan Frankenhout) and the Car Collection Motorsport Audi R8 LMS (#34, Johannes Dr. Kirchhoff / Max Edelhoff / Elmar Grimm / Ingo Vogler). The Audi R8 LMS held the lead heading into the final hour, but ultimately Ingo Vogler could not resist a sensational passing manoeuvre from Christiaan Frankenhout with just 15 minutes of the race left to run.
Finishing 4th and 5th on the road respectively, the result ensured that five different manufacturers – Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, Audi and Mercedes-AMG – finished inside the top five.
The CP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#85, Charles Putman / Charles Espenlaub / Joe Foster) finished 6th on the road, and thus completes the A6-Am podium.
A tight, race-long battle for 991-class victory was eventually won by the Porsche Lorient Racing Porsche 991-I Cup (#912, Philippe Polette / Frederic Lelievre / Pascal Gibon / Jean-Philippe Belloc), the reigning 991 European Champions just pipping Raceunion (#987, Alex Autumn / Felipe Fernández Laser / Andreas Gülden) for the win. The second Porsche Lorient Racing entry (#911, Jean-François Demorge / Gilles Blasco / Lionel Amrouche / Frédéric Ancel) secured the French team a 1-3 finish.
The RTR Projects KTM X-BOW (#224, Sergej Pavlovec / Tomas Miniberger / Karel Bednar / Erik Janis) took SP2-class honours in Mugello, just ahead of a double podium finish for JR Motorsport: the team’s BMW M3 F80 (#202, Ted van Vliet / Ruud Olij) claimed 2nd, while the sister BMW M4 Silhouette (#203, Ward Sluys / Michael Verhagen / Max Weering) finished 3rd.
Reigning 24H TCE SERIES Champions Hofor Racing by Bonk Motorsport BMW M4 GT4 (#50, Martin Kroll / Michael Schrey / Michael Fischer / Gustav Engljaehringer / Thomas Jäger) got its title defence off to a fantastic start with victory in GT4 with the BMW M4. A heavy accident for the MRS GT-Racing BMW M4 GT4 (#426, Franjo Kovac / Thomas Tekaat / Tomas Pekar), which also featured the Reiter Engineering KTM X-BOW, meant 2nd in-class consequently went to PROSport Performance (#1, Rodrigue Gillion / Nico Verdonck / Akhil Rabindra) on the reigning 24H GT SERIES Champion’s first competitive outing with the brand new Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4. Although it failed to make the finish, the #426 BMW was still classified 3rd.
Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing takes TCE victory at Hankook 12H MUGELLO
The Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR (#112, Fabian Danz / Jan Sorensen / Kristian Jepsen) went two-for-two in the 24H TCE SERIES by taking victory at the Hankook 12H MUGELLO. Jan Sorensen took the Volkswagen across the line to complete 300 laps of the 5.245km Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello, converting a front row start into victory.
This is the second win of this year’s 24H SERIES powered by Hankook for the Swiss outfit, which also kicked off its 2019 Championship of the Continents campaign two months ago with a win at the vaunted Hankook 24H DUBAI.
“It was a really tough race because someone was always on our tail,” Jan Sorensen explained to radiolemans.com’s Joe Bradley. “Yesterday we came up to 2nd, but this morning we fell all the way down the order and thought all was totally lost. Fortunately everyone seemed to have trouble with their tyres. Suddenly we were 4th and then we were 1st! But we had some fast guys chasing us down, so it feels so good to be standing here.”
The AC Motorsport Audi RS3 LMS (#188, Stephane Perrin / Vincent Radermecker / James Kaye) secured 2nd place overall in TCE having led the division outright early on, falling just 26s short of the #112 Volkswagen at the flag. The Lestrup Racing Team Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR (#110, Mats Olsson / Peter Fahlström / Stefan Nilsson / Emil Sällberg) managed to pip fellow VW runners Holmgaard Motorsport (#102, Magnus Holmgaard / Jonas Holmgaard / Roy Edland / Benny Simonsen) to secure the final step of the TCE podium.
The MONLAU COMPETICION CUPRA TCR (#109, Munkong Sathienthirakul / Anusorn Asiralertsiri / Chariya Nuya / Kantadhee Kusiri) did lead the opening stages of this afternoon’s race, but a broken driveshaft and a heavy collision on-track eventually eliminated the TCE pole sitter shortly after half-distance. Issues for the sister CUPRA TCR (#107, Stuart Hall / Christopher Kemp / David Tinn / Tom Black) meant the Spanish team could only salvage 10th in the TCR class.
A fraught race meant victory in SP3 was taken by the Amag First Centri Porsche Ticino Porsche Cayman GT4 CS (#312, Valerio Presezzi / Matteo Arrigosi / Ivan Jacoma / Ivan Reggiani), a remarkable turn of fortune for the team that failed to start at all on its debut in Dubai. Despite stopping on-track, the Munckhof Racing BMW M4 (#310, Eric van den Munckhof / Marco Poland) managed to overhaul the Vortex V8 Vortex Scirocco GC 10 (#301, Philippe Bonnel / Franck Lefèvre / Nicolas Nobs) for 2nd in-class.
Further back, the Dan Agro Racing Peugeot RCZ (#685, Nicolaj Kandborg / René Rasmussen / Steffan Jusjong) secured A3-class victory. The Danish team had enjoyed a lengthy battle for the top spot with the Synchro Motorsport Honda FK8-Civic Type-R (#676, Alyn James / Daniel Wheeler), but an incident with the Car Collection Audi severely hobbled the Honda’s handling. As a result, the 2017 24H TCE SERIES Champions would eventually finish 3rd in-class behind the WEC Motorsport BMW E46 M3 (#639, Dave Cox / Jason Cox / George Haynes / Guy Povey).
2019 European Championship action continues next month at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on 19-20 April before the 24H SERIES makes its long-awaited return to the Czech Republic on 24-25 May for the Hankook 12H BRNO.
Source. Creventic/Photo. Petr Frýba