12H: Scuderia Praha Ferrari 488 GT3 seals victory, PROsport Performance AMG GT3 takes the 2018 GT Euro title
SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS (13 October, 2018) – The Bohemia Energy racing with Scuderia Praha Ferrari 488 GT3 (#11, Ji?í Písa?ík / Josef Kral / Matteo Malucelli) has taken victory at the second Hankook 12H SPA, but could not overhaul the PROsport Performance Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#85, Charles Putman / Charles Espenlaub / Joe Foster / Adam Christodoulou) to take the 2018 European Championship.
Matteo Malucelli took the chequered flag to complete 237 laps of the 7.004km Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, of which the Czech-based Ferrari led 206 in a commanding performance. The win was the Czech team’s third in this year’s 24H SERIES powered by Hankook, but 6th on the road, and 3rd in the A6-Am class was still enough for PROsport Performance to claim the GT European Championship.
“Man, my heart has been beating all day!” PROsport’s overjoyed Charles Putman said to radiolemans.com’s Bruce Jones. “It was looking a little tough earlier in the day, and just bit-by-bit, like we’ve done all year, we just kept pushing. And this was close! It could have gone either way with just 20 seconds or so. It’s been a great year!”
“It was a really difficult race from the start,” Scuderia Praha’s Josef Kral also explained to Bruce Jones. “There were so many Code 60s, a really unbelievable number! But we drove a clean race, we kept out of trouble, and this result means a lot. I hope next year we’ll have even more GT3 cars to compete against.”
Behind the winning Ferrari, the GT pole-sitting SPS automotive performance Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#16, Valentin Pierburg / Tim Müller / Lance-David Arnold) took A6-Am class victory after a late-race dice with the Car Collection Motorsport Audi R8 LMS (#34, Johannes Dr. Kirchhoff / Max Edelhoff / Elmar Grimm / Ingo Vogler). The German team also went into the Belgian endurance event as a championship contender, but ultimately finished three points adrift.
Outgoing 24H GT SERIES champions Hofor-Racing (#1 Michael Kroll / Chantal Prinz / Alexander Prinz / Kenneth Heyer / Christiaan Frankenhout) finished a strong 2nd in-class in A6-Pro and 4th on the road, while the returning Manthey Racing (#912, Edward Lewis Brauner / Jürgen Häring / Sven Müller) finished 5th overall on its series return and continued its development of the 2019-spec Porsche 911 GT3 R. Further back in 9th place, the MP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#19, Daniel de Jong / Henk de Jong / Bert de Heus) completed the A6-Pro podium.
On its European racing debut, the MARC II Mustang V8 took a maiden class win in SPX with VDS Racing Adventures (#58, Raphaël van der Straten / José Close / Joel Vanloocke) and ahead of newly crowned SPX European Champions, Speed Lover (#78, Dominique Bastien / Jaime Carbo Fernandez / Bob Wilwert). Further back, the second MARC II Mustang V8 – that of MARC Cars Australia (#51, Jake Camilleri / Hadrian Morrall / Keith Kassulke) – completed the class podium despite making contact with the barriers with just 90 minutes of run-time left.
In the 991 class, the EBIMOTORS Porsche 991-I Cup (#73, Lino Curti / Carlo Curti / Marco Frezza) took its third class win of the season, and finished just ahead of early leaders, QSR Racingschool (#94, Rodrigue Gillion / Nico Verdonck / Raf van Belle / Tommy Gråberg). The final category podium spot was enough to secure Porsche Lorient Racing (#64, Philippe Polette / Frederic Lelievre / Pascal Gibon / Lionel Amrouche) the 991-class European Championship.
Further back in GT4, the Fox Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT4 (#47, Jamie Stanley / Ben Clucas / Andrew Perry) held off the MARC Cars Australia BMW M4 GT4 (#250, Daren Jorgensen / Brett Strom / Jon Miller) and the Gamsiz motorsport BMW M4 GT4 (#256, Hakan Sari / Recep Sari) for its second class win of the year. The QSR Racingschool Mercedes-AMG GT4 (#254, Mario Timmers / Bert Redant / Michiel Verhaeren / Jimmy de Breucker) did not make the finish, but nevertheless secured the GT4 European Championship.
Down to the wire in TCE as CWS Engineering takes close win
The CWS Engineering Ginetta G55 (#178, Colin White / James May) ultimately came out on top in a TCE fight that went down to the wire at the Hankook 12H SPA. James May crossed the line to complete 222 laps of the 7.004km Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, and finished just ahead of the NKPP Racing by Bas Koeten Racing CUPRA TCR DSG (#175, Gijs Bessem / Harry Hilders), unsure whether a last-minute splash-and-dash for fuel was needed in the closing moments.
“There would have been about eight seconds of fuel left, so everything had to play in the right way. There’s been 12 hours of that!” CWS team owner Colin White explained to radiolemans.com’s Bruce Jones. “James [May] drove brilliantly today, and it’s a shame his dad couldn’t be here today, but this result is for him as well, and for CWS, and for everyone here helping us today. Absolutely brilliant!”
Third outright in TCE went to the Red Camel-Jordans.nl SEAT LCR TCR V3 DSG (#303, Ivo Breukers / Rik Breukers). Despite securing its first TCR class win of the season, NKPP Racing’s victory was not enough to stop the orange SEAT from securing the TCR European Championship.
“I was sweating all over!” Red Camel-Jordans.nl’s elated Ivo Breukers explained to Bruce Jones. “I was very excited to finish, and I was praying everything would go well. Anything can happen, and the car had a hit in the beginning, and I’m just so happy!”
Crossing the finish line to secure a 1-3 for Bas Koeten Racing, the LMS Racing by Bas Koeten Racing CUPRA TCR DSG (#129, Antti Buri / Olli Kangas / Kari-Pekka Laaksonen) rounded out the TCR top three at an event it won outright last year. The JR Motorsport BMW E46 Coupe (#118, Ward Sluys / Michael Verhagen / Ruud Olij) and the Team ABBA Racing BMW M3 V8 GTR (#234, Richard Neary / Ian Stinton / Sam Neary) endured character-building races to secure the final podium spots in SP3.
The Synchro Motorsport Honda FK2-Civic Type-R (#76, Alyn James / Daniel Wheeler / Matt Neal) claimed A3 class victory at Spa-Francorchamps, but ultimately fell just two points short of the PDM Motorsport BMW Z3 M Coupé (#999, Pierre De Landsheere / Dimitri Kluyskens / Maxence Vandekerckhove) in the A3 European Championship standings. The Dan Agro Racing Peugeot RCZ (#185, Anders Rasmussen / Sune Marcussen / Henrik Thomsen / Nicolaj Kandborg) completed the podium.
Having already secured the 24H TCE SERIES title coming into the event, the Hofor Racing powered by Bonk Motorsport BMW M235i Racing Cup (#131, Martin Kroll / Michael Schrey / Michael Fischer / Bernd Küpper / Gustav Engljaehringer) concluded a storming season with its sixth consecutive class win of the year. Sorg Rennsport (#151, Dan Rogers / Chris Wadle / Seth Thomas) and JJ Motorsport (#156, John Landrum / Paul Dubinsky / Alastair McEwan / Rob Gill) completed the CUP1 top three.
Although Spa-Francorchamps marks the end of European action for 2018, the final 24H SERIES powered by Hankook event of the year will take place next month at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, on 16-17-18 November. Further information on this year’s calendar can be found at www.24hseries.com.