Estonia’s EST1 Racing makes a successful return to the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook after a six-year hiatus at Monza, taking a class podium finish just behind new 992-AM Teams’ standings leader RPM Racing.
Words – James Gent
Images – Nico Mombaerts
Estonian teammates Alex Reimann and Jori Ala-Jyrä “powered through an intense endurance challenge” at this past weekend’s Hankook 12H MONZA to secure a 992-AM class podium on EST1 Racing’s return to the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook.
The Estonian team last competed with CREVENTIC at the Hankook 24H BARCELONA in 2017, taking an SP3-GT4 podium with its Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport in the process. Keen to replicate that success, EST1 Racing recruited Alex Reimann and GT Cup Open Series young gun Jori Ala Jyrä to race its new, #981 Porsche 992 GT3 Cup at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, the two-driver line-up completing a solid run to finish 7th overall in the 992 rankings and as the 2nd highest-placed 992-AM runner.
“What an electrifying weekend at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza in the [24H SERIES,” the team expressed via their social media channels. “Our indomitable duo, Alex Reimann and Jori Ala-Jyrä powered through an intense endurance challenge: almost 2,000 km blitzed [and] more than 330 laps conquered [whilst] battling through the sizzling heat. Their tenacity was unmatched! While many drivers couldn't withstand the rigors of the race, Alex and Jori stood tall and raced their way to a glorious P2 finish!
“This stellar result fuels our passion and drive! A massive thank you to our team and amazing supporters for cheering us on every step of the way!”
EST1 Racing’s weekend got off to an impressive start when Reimann and Ala-Jyrä – the only two-driver line-up registered in the field prior to Willi Motorsport by Ebimotors’ incident on the Friday – qualified 5th in 992 and fastest of the 992-Am runners, just under four-tenths ahead of nearest rival RPM Racing. Though Reimann was unable to hold off Rabdan Motorsport’s fast-charging Christopher Zöchling and Q1 Trackracing’s Rubens Barrichello at the start, the young Estonian held 992-AM track position over RPM Racing’s Niclas Jönsson until making a precautionary pit stop on lap 18. EST1 Racing remained consistently within striking distance of the #907 Porsche across the first three hours, and with many of the GT3 frontrunners pitting during the first Code 60, even ran as high as 4th overall during the second hour.
EST1 Racing was elevated back to the 992-AM lead when RPM Racing suffered a left rear puncture during the third hour, although this was short-lived. Just 20 minutes later, Jori Ala-Jyrä went off at the second Lesmo, and another Code 60 was called to retrieve the #981 Porsche from the gravel trap.
Now a lap behind, EST1 Racing went into the overnight intervention 2nd in 992-AM and, following a 10-second time penalty for ‘not respecting refueling regulations,’ 7th overall in 992, a position the Estonian team held to the chequered flag. A post-race 60-second penalty for exceeding Alex Reimann’s stint time did not however affect the Estonian team’s place in the final rankings.
RPM Racing’s first win of the season, marred only by the early puncture and a problem with the Porsche’s onboard drinks bottle on the Saturday, has moved the German team to the top of the 992-Am standings. RPM Racing is set to be back in action at next month’s Hankook 12H ESTORIL on 7-8 July, with EST1 Racing also sharing an interest in competing in Portugal.