· Ferrari 296 GT3 takes another double podium in Estoril with WTM by Rinaldi Racing and Kessel Racing.
· 2022 GT European Trophy winner Scherer Sport PHX completes fighting drive on the overall podium.
· Willi Motorsport by Ebimotors pips Red Camel-Jordans.nl to 992 win; RPM Racing recovers from tough 6H Qualifying Race to win 992-Am.
· Trouble hits both RD Signs and Vortex V8 in fight for GTX win.
· Atlas BX Motorsport takes GT4; Buggyra ZM Racing retires in-sight of flag.
ESTORIL (8 July, 2023) – WTM by Rinaldi Racing has secured its second overall win in succession this weekend with CREVENTIC after a commanding run to victory in the inaugural Hankook 12H ESTORIL.
The WTM by Rinaldi Racing Ferrari 296 GT3 (#22, Georg Weiss / Leonard Weiss / Jochen Krumbach / Torsten Kratz) took this morning’s race start from pole position after winning CREVENTIC’s 6H Qualifying Race on Friday, and scarcely put a foot wrong across today’s 12-hour endurance event, leading 393 of the completed 401 laps to take a storming win at the Hankook 12H ESTORIL. Jochen Krumbach also secured the event’s overall fastest lap – a 1m 37.302s – for the German team.
As well as securing Ferrari’s fifth win from seven official CREVENTIC events in Portugal since 2017, WTM by Rinaldi Racing also becomes the first GT team in 2023 to take more than one outright 24H SERIES race win.
“It was [a perfect weekend], definitely. Just a dream come true to drive a GT3 car and take two wins, with the [6H] Qualifying Race yesterday and the 12-hour today, it’s just been a fantastic weekend,” Torsten Kratz explained to radiolemans.com’s Peter Snowden. “We came here to see what this car could do, and from the first day it went very well. We worked nicely together as a team, and all my teammates did a great job. We had everything under control and the car was perfectly prepared, with a nice setup that [didn’t mistreat] the tyres. I have no words!”
Appropriately, a driver change in the closing 12 minutes meant team owner Georg Weiss drove the Ferrari across the line to collect the chequered flag.
“Yesterday 1st, today 1st,” Weiss continued. “The whole team did so well, and it was so nice to be here. It’s our seventh year with Ferrari, and they always do a great job.”
Reigning GT European Trophy winner Scherer Sport PHX (#1, Michael Doppelmayr / Pierre Kaffer / Elia Erhart / Christer Jöns) kept WTM honest throughout the 12-hour event to finish 2nd overall, the Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II finishing just over 90 seconds down on the race winner after unlapping itself on the penultimate tour. Despite intermittently struggling for grip, the Kessel Racing Ferrari 296 GT3 (#8, Alessandro Cutrera / Marco Talarico / Marco Frezza / David Fumanelli / L.M.D.V.), runner-up in yesterday’s 6H Qualifying Race, secures its second consecutive 24H SERIES podium in 3rd.
Hankook 12H ESTORIL – Overall GT podium
1. WTM Racing by Rinaldi Racing (#22, Ferrari 296 GT3) – 401 laps
2. Scherer Sport PHX (#1, Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II) – + 1m 35.806s
3. Kessel Racing (#8, Ferrari 296 GT3) – 399 laps
Mirroring yesterday’s 6H Qualifying Race at Estoril, GT3-AM Teams’ title protagonists CP Racing (#85, Charles Putman / Charles Espenlaub / Joe Foster / Shane Lewis) and E2P Racing (#90, Javier Morcillo / Pablo Burguera / Antonio Sainero) finished 4th and 5th overall, meaning the American team’s Mercedes-AMG GT3 now leads the Spanish team’s Porsche 991.2 GT3 R by eight points heading into the 2023 Hankook 24H BARCELONA European season finale on 15-16-17 September.
The HAAS RT Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II (#21, Frédéric Vervisch / Mathieu Detry / Gregory Servais) meanwhile endured a tough race at Estoril. Running 2nd during the opening stages, the Antiguan team managed to leapfrog the WTM by Rinaldi Racing Ferrari during the first pit stops. The repercussions of a clash with PCR Sport during Friday’s 6H Qualifying Race however were finally felt when a bearing failed just six laps later, leading to a full left rear hub change that dropped the Audi to the tail of the field. Though multiple laps down, Haas RT had recovered to 11th overall before a gearbox issue finally eliminated the Audi from the event for good two hours from home.
Despite the disappointment, Haas RT completed sufficient race distance to be classified 6th in-class, the points for which promote the Antiguan team to the top of the GT3 Teams’ standings, albeit only two points clear of CP Racing. Moreover, Grégory Servais was awarded radiolemans.com’s ‘Spirit of the Race’ award for his decision to forego buying a new sofa this weekend, instead dedicating the time to his drive with Haas RT. Hence the 'Désolé pour le divan!!!' message on the back of the #21 Audi.
The MP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#58, Thomas Gostner / Manuela Gostner / Corinna Gostner / David Gostner / Fabrizio Crestani) and the HRT Performance Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (#967, Roberto Pampanini / Amedeo Pampanini / Stefano Monaco / Nicolas Stürzinger) were the only other confirmed retirements from the Hankook 12H ESTORIL. The former lost an engine belt before eventually retiring with a suspected blown gasket, while the latter struggled to overcome undetermined electrical problems.
A close, race-long battle for 992 honours eventually went to Willi Motorsport by Ebimotors Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (#955, Sergiu Nicolae / Sabino de Castro / Papi Cosimo) after a faultless run. The Romanian-Italian team finished just 90 seconds clear of Red Camel-Jordans.nl Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (#909, Ivo Breukers / Rik Breukers / Luc Breukers / Fabian Danz), the latter of which was delayed during a scheduled brake change, and the pair finished an impressive 6th and 7th overall.
Reigning 992 Teams’ ‘Europe’ Champion Red Ant Racing (#903, Ayrton Redant / Yannick Redant / Kobe de Breucker) rounds out the 992 podium in 8th place, just ahead of its sister entry (#904, Jimmy de Breucker / Michiel Haverans / Brent Verheyen), after a grandstand fight to the flag with Red Camel. The pair were split by a miniscule 1.5 seconds at the flag after 12 uninterrupted hours of racing.
The result means Red Ant Racing retains its lead in the 992 Teams’ championship standings, and moves to within four points of the overall lead in the GT European Trophy title chase heading into the final European round of the season in Barcelona.
RPM Racing (#907, Tracy Krohn / Niclas Jönsson / Philip Hamprecht) secured its second 992-Am class win of the season and simultaneously strengthened its class championship lead, the German team’s solid run stymied only by a late-race gearbox scare. Indeed, the delay meant RPM Racing finished two laps clear of HRT Performance’s sister entry (#930, Kari-Pekka Laaksonen / Antti Buri / Axel Sartingen / Daniele Di Amato), which was delayed earlier in the race with a full gearbox change.
Hankook 12H ESTORIL – Overall 992 podium
1. Willi Motorsport by Ebimotors (#955, Porsche 992 GT3 Cup) – 390 laps
2. Red Camel-Jordans .nl (#909, Porsche 992 GT3 Cup) – + 1m 29.623s
3. Red Ant Racing (#903, Porsche 992 GT3 Cup) – +1.577s
RD Signs - Siauliai racing team (#720, Audrius Butkevicius / Nicola Michelon / Paulius Paskevicius) survived engine mount failure to take GTX-class victory at the Hankook 12H ESTORIL. The Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo controlled the opening two-thirds of the event, even pulling a nine-lap advantage over Vortex V8 (#701, Lionel Amrouche / Philippe Bonnel / Gilles Courtois) before losing 35 minutes in the pitbox. Ironically, beneficiary Vortex later hit trouble of its own heading into the closing hour when the lightweight French sports car had to be recovered from turn four, though the team managed to salvage 2nd in-class.
Atlas BX Motorsports (#403, Steven Cho / Roelof Bruins / Jongkyum Kim / Taekeun Yang / Donggi Noh) took a commanding fourth win of the season to move to the head of the GT4 Teams’ championship standings. Moreover, the South Korean team is now level-pegging with RD Signs at the top of the overall GT European Trophy title chase.
Brutally, erstwhile championship leader Buggyra Racing (#416, Aliyyah Koloc / David Vršecký / Adam Lacko), having already lost 20 minutes when the Mercedes-AMG GT4’s front left wheel hub failed, ended its Hankook 12H ESTORIL prematurely with less than 10 minutes left on the clock when a fuel fire ignited during a final slash-and-dash.
Finally, Spain’s PCR Sport (#418, Josep Parera / Vicente Dasi / José Nuñez) endured several trips into the gravel and a differential repair to claim a hard-earned GT4 podium.
The final European round of this year’s 24H SERIES powered by Hankook will be the annual Hankook 24H BARCELONA – first held in 1998 – at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on 15-16-17 September. Further details regarding the 2023 24H SERIES calendar and championship standings can be found HERE