Erstwhile 992 Teams’ championship leader Willi Motorsport by Ebimotors has dropped to 2nd in the standings after a fraught Hankook 12H MONZA weekend that included a heavy shunt during qualifying and four punctures on the Sunday.
Words – James Gent
Images – Nico Mombaerts
992 Teams’ championship contender Willi Motorsport by Ebimotors endured an “intense” Hankook 12H MONZA, an event that included a heavy shunt during qualifying and four separate punctures en-route to 6th in-class.
The Romanian-Italian team, the reigning 992 Middle East Trophy winner and 2021 991 Teams’ champion, came into the Hankook 12H MONZA weekend with a four-point advantage in the 2023 992 Teams’ standings, but has now slipped back to 2nd behind reigning class champion Red Ant Racing, after a frustrating weekend.
“We had hoped for something different, but the weekend… was particularly intense for Willi Motorsport by Ebimotors,” the team explained in an official statement. “The [Hankook 12H MONZA]… was marked by unfavourable episodes… and in the end, the Porsche number 955 of the trio Fabrizio Broggi, Sergiu Nicoale and Sabino De Castro finished 6th in-class a few minutes [off the class leader].”
The weekend started poorly for Willi Motorsport by Ebimotors when the #955 Porsche 992 GT3 Cup hit the wall hard exiting the Ascari during Fabrizio Broggi’s 15-minite qualifying session. The front end damage was significant enough that the Romanian-Italian team took no further part in qualifying, relegating them to the back of the GT grid, and required team mechanics to work throughout the night in preparation for Saturday’s race start. Fabrizio Broggi meanwhile returned to the circuit on Saturday after being discharged from hospital, but a fractured vertebrae meant the likeable Italian took no further part in the Hankook 12H MONZA. Teammates Sergiu Nicolae and Sabino de Castro consequently split the driving time between them.
“For [Fabrizio], the blow was tough. After an evening in hospital, the gentleman was discharged, but he will have to rest for several weeks,” Ebimotors continues. “The team decided to repair the car, with a massive intervention that kept the whole team busy… The long work lasted all night between Friday and Saturday.”
An impressive recovery drive meant Nicolae and de Castro ended ‘part one’ of the event 2nd in-class behind the #985 Neuhofer Rennsport Porsche, a result aided, admittedly, by misfortune for two of its main rivals. Class podium contender Red Camel-Jordans.nl was eliminated late on Saturday afternoon when the #909 Porsche 992 GT3 Cup was inadvertently rear-ended at Variante della Rettifilo by the Vortex 1.0 (the French team managed to continue after almost two hours of repairs). Long-time leader Red Ant Racing meanwhile opted to brim the tanks and serve a sizeable 140-second time penalty – handed down for ‘exceeding the maximum refueling amount’ – shortly before the overnight intervention, dropping the Belgian team to 3rd in-class.
Sunday however proved far more problematic for Willi Motorsport by Ebimotors. Having been pushed into the gravel, de Castro suffered a left-rear puncture on the first lap after the restart the first of four that hit the #955 Porsche during the afternoon. The fourth, cruelly, struck with just six minutes of the race remaining, dropping Willi Motorsport from a potential 4th in-class to 6th behind 992-AM winner RPM Racing and TORO Racing by HRT Performance (the latter, ironically, had also suffered four separate punctures during the race on Saturday).
A difficult Hankook 12H MONZA weekend means Willi Motorsport by Ebimotors is now 16-points down on new 992 Teams’ standings leader Red Ant Racing, albeit still 14 points ahead of TORO Racing by HRT Performance heading into the next round of the 24H SERIES in Estoril. Willi Motorsport by Ebimotors has confirmed that both Nicolae Sergiu and Sabino de Castro will compete at the Hankook 12H ESTORIL on 7-8 July, but Fabrizio Broggi’s entry is still unclear as he continues his recuperation.