After a nail-biting end to the 21st running of the Hankook 24H BARCELONA, teams, drivers and fans alike were invited to congratulate the newly crowned 24H SERIES Europe champions at a bespoke event celebrating their season-long efforts and achievements.
First to receive their well-deserved plaudits were Jiří Písařík, Josef Kral and Matteo Malucelli, who swept to the 24H SERIES Europe Overall Drivers’, A6-class and A6-Pro championships after winning four of this year’s five European rounds. Ironically, the Hankook 24H BARCELONA at which the Bohemia Energy racing with Scuderia Praha teammates were crowned champions was the only European event the team has not won in 2019.
A sensational fight for the Overall Teams’ championship came down to just a single point between Scuderia Praha and Herberth Motorsport, the Czech team pipping its well-established Bavarian rival with 84 points to 83.
In the TCE division, an equally impressive run by Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing meant the Swiss team walked away with the Overall TCE Teams’ championship as well as the TCR-class title. The #112 Volkswagen Golf GTI secured three wins and two further podiums in the five European rounds this year, more than any other TCR outfit this year.
Having secured overall TCE victory at the 2019 Hankook 24H BARCELONA earlier that afternoon with TOPCAR Sport by Bas Koeten Racing, Fabian Danz added the Overall TCE Drivers’ and TCR-class titles to his already expansive collection. The Swiss driver has taken outright TCE victory at four of the five rounds he has started this year in the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook.
Despite being pipped to the post in the Overall Teams’ ranking, Herberth Motorsport and Edward Lewis Brauner, driver of the team’s #93 Porsche 991 GT3 R, sealed the newly established A6-Am championships over CP Racing. An impressive season for the #93 Porsche, the first time Herberth Motorsport has entered two cars in multiple 24H SERIES events, drew to a close with two back-to-back A6-Am class wins in the bag at Portimão and Barcelona.
A tough maiden campaign it may have been for the team’s brand new MARC II V8, but no less fruitful, as Cor Euser Racing (#717) secured the SPX-class Teams’ title in Northern Spain, despite not finishing the race. Fittingly, all four of the drivers – Jim Briody, Ricky Coomber, Einar Thorsen, and team patriarch Cor Euser – will share the SPX Drivers’ championship.
Porsche Lorient Racing recovered from an appalling start to the Hankook 24H BARCELONA to take 3rd in-class and put the 991-class 24H SERIES Europe title out of reach of MRS GT-Racing. The #911 Porsche 991-II Cup failed to complete the formation lap when it’s gearbox blew, but thereafter drove a clean race in an attrition-hit 991 category to climb back up the order. Barcelona marked the #911 Porsche’s sixth class podium in succession in 2019, and helped secure Frédéric Ancel and Jean-François Demorge the 991-class Drivers’ crowns.
Collecting another category victory in Barcelona to accompany the team’s triumphs in Mugello and Brno, RTR Projects (#224) secured the SP2-class title at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Thanks to a solid race in the KTM X-BOW GT4, Czech compatriots Tomas Miniberger and Erik Janis collected the SP2-class Drivers’ titles alongside their winner’s trophies.
In its first season with the brand new BMW M4 GT4, and one year on from its decisive title victory in the 24H TCE SERIES, Hofor Racing by Bonk Motorsport (#50) secured the GT4-class Team’s title at its first attempt. A maiden GT4 win in Mugello, followed by a second at Portimão, was enough to confirm Thomas Jäger and Michael Fischer as the GT4 Drivers’ champions.
Ironically, having taken three wins already during the European season, as well as a seismic victory at the season-opening Hankook 24H DUBAI, 3rd place at the Hankook 24H BARCELONA marks the ‘worst’ finish for Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing so far this year. Such has been the pace of the #112 Volkswagen Golf GTI throughout the season though that both the 24H TCE SERIES Europe Overall Teams’ championship and the TCR-class title was rarely in doubt this weekend. Fabian Danz meanwhile, who took his fourth win of the season with TOPCAR sport with Bas Koeten Racing – his other three were with Autorama in Dubai, Mugello
and Brno – managed to overhaul long-time championship leaders Stephane Perrin and James Kaye to grab the Overall Drivers’ crown and the TCR-class garlands.
Having gone into the European season finale level-pegging with CWS, Munckhof Racing (#310) showed its hand quickly with TCE pole position at the Hankook 24H BARCELONA. Recurrent gearbox issues meant the Dutch team was unable to fight for victory, but 3rd in-class was enough to secure Eric van den Munckhof’s eponymous outfit the SP3-class Teams’ title, and, together with teammate Marco Poland, the class’ Drivers’ championship.
Two wins on the bounce in Brno and Portimão meant Synchro Motorsport were already assured the A3-class title going into Barcelona, and even in with an outside chance of the Overall Teams’. With Autorama putting the 24H TCE SERIES Europe crown out of reach, Alyn James and Daniel Wheeler could still be very satisfied with the A3-class Drivers’ championship after finishing 2nd with the #676 Honda FK8-Civic Type-R. Aptly, the car that beat the British team to A3 victory – Hofor Racing by Bonk Motorsport (#869) – also collected the CUP1 title, the BMW M240i Racing Cup piloting Martin Kroll and Axel Burghardt to the Drivers’ crowns.
Though the team did not compete in Barcelona, Winkler Motorsport and team namesake Michael Winkler collected A2-class championship honours.
With the door now closed on a successful European season, all focus now turns to the last 24H SERIES powered by Hankook event of the season at the Circuit of the Americas. The annual Hankook 24H COTA USA is scheduled to take place in 15-16-17 November, and will draw the 24H SERIES Continents to a close for another year
Source. Creventic/Photo. Petr Frýba
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