Herberth Porsches secure 1-2
Team Herberth Motorsport has secured a 1-2 finish at the fourth annual Hankook 24H Portimão, the first real world race meeting to be held in Europe since the outbreak of Covid-19.
German Tim Müller took the chequered flag after completing 731 laps to secure victory in the Porsche 991 GT3 R shared with Taki Konstantinou, Jürgen Häring, Michael Joos and Marco Seefried.
The result marks the first overall win at the Hankook 24H Portimão for Herberth Motorsport, which won in-class at last year’s event en-route to the A6-AM Teams’ title in the 24H Series Europe championship standings. On top of that, Herberth Motorsport also broke the event’s previous distance record od 722 laps set at the inaugural running by Bohemia Energy by Scuderia Praha back in 2017. The sister #91 car produced a storming recovery drive to finish 2nd overall with Daniel Allemann, Ralf Bohn, Robert and Alfred Renauer. The second Herberth Motorsport Porsche 991 GT3 R had jumped to the head of the field in the opening laps and was already three laps ahead at one-third distance, but lost more than an hour in the pits to a gearbox change. On its race back through the field, the #91 Porsche also set the fastest lap of the race in 1:44.692s with Robert Renauer at the wheel.
The Mühlner Motorsport Porsche 991-II Cup of Moritz Kranz, Carlos Vieira, Tom Cloet and Jeroen Bleekemolen completed an all-Porsche podium in the Algarve by finishing 3rd overall and took the first position in the 991 category . Though unable to challenge for 991-class victory owing to a myriad of mechanical problems, the Speed Lover Porsche 991-II Cup of Dominique Bastien, Gavin Pickering, Olivier Dons and Eric Mouez was still classified 2nd in class and 9th overall after a determined run.
The Mühlner Motorsport Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 of Axel Sartingen, Daniel Schwerfeld, Thorsten Jung, Daniel Bohr and Moritz Kranz completed a successful weekend for the Belgian team by claiming victory in Creventic’s new Cayman series. Its nearest rival – the Veloso Motorsport Porsche Cayman GT4 CS (Pedro Marreiros, Paulo Pinheiro, José Costa, Jean-Roch Piat, Mariano Pires – was eventually classified 2nd in class after losing several hours in the pits with handling problems. Fittingly, circuit CEO Paulo Pinheiro crossed the line to collect 11th overall for the Portuguese team.
Mechanical woes meant that neither GT4 entrant made it to the finishing line, though the PROsport Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 (Rodrigue Gillion, Nico Verdonck, Tom Heeren, Constantin Schöll) and the Parkalgar Racing Team Mercedes-AMG GT4 (André Antunes, Alvaro Ramos, Fred Blok, Joaquim Penteado, José Monroy) did complete enough of the race to receive full points in the 24H Series Europe standings.
Having qualified on outright pole position for the Hankook 24H Portimão, the HTP Winward Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 (Bryce Ward, Russell Ward, Indy Dontje, Philip Ellis) retired after just three hours following a heavy impact against the turn 13 barriers when Ward was at the wheel. Fortunately the American driver emerged unscathed but the damage was too great to repair.
The Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR of Roberto Ferri, Miklas Born, Antti Buri, Kari-Pekka Laaksonen and Yannick Mettler won the TCE category. Mettler collected the chequered flag and completed 663 laps of the 4.652km Autódromo Internacional do Algarve to secure the first victory of the season for the reigning Overall TCE Teams champion in the 24H Series Europe. The result also replicates the team’s class win at the same event last year.
During the race, the #112 Volkswagen was one of four different TCR cars to take the lead in the TCE division. FIA World Touring Car Cup regular Comtoyou team Audi Sport (Tom Coronel, Nicolas Baert, Nathanael Berthon) secured 2nd in class. The DHL-sponsored Audi RS3 LMS spent much of the opening half of the 24-hour event battling for the TCE lead with Red Camel-Jordans.nl, but slipped back after losing 25 minutes in the pits during the night. Such was the pace of the lead TCE contenders, both Autorama Motorsport and Comtoyou team Audi Sport finished 4th and 5th overall at the Hankook 24H Portimão, ahead of the GT division’s Cayman and GT4 contenders.
After a character-building run, the AC Motorsport Audi RS3 LMS (Stephane Perrin, Michael Blanchemain, Christophe Hamon, Hannes Morin) completed the TCE podium. The Belgian team, which took its maiden TCE victory at the season-opening Hankook 24H Dubai earlier this year in January, weathered paddle shift issues, a drop in fuel pressure, and brake problems to claim 3rd in class.
The CODE Racing Development Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR SEQ (Thierry Chkondali, Philippe Baffoun, Thierry Boyer, Bruno Derossi, Quentin Giordano) completed a solid debut to finish 4th in TCE and 8th overall. The second Autorama Motorsport Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR (Jérôme Ogay, Jasmin Preisig, Yannick Mettler, Christoph Lenz, Stefan Tanner) was well in contention for victory during the night, but ultimately fell back to 5th in class and 10th overall after a gearbox change cost the team more than 2.5 hours in the pits.
The Red Camel-Jordans.nl Cupra TCR of Rik, Ivo and Lux Breukers failed to go the distance in Portugal. The Dutch team, which spent much of the opening two hours of the race in a tense fight for the lead with Comtoyou team Audi Sport, retired when the engine expired shortly before daybreak.
Endurance action with the 24H Series powered by Hankook will continue next month with the inaugural Hankook 12H Monza, on 10-11 July.