At the first real-world race meeting to be held in Europe since the outbreak of COVID-19, Herberth Motorsport secured a 1-2 finish at the fourth annual Hankook 24H Portimao on Sunday.
Tim Müller took the chequered flag after completing 731 laps of the 4.652km Autódromo Internacional do Algarve to secure victory for the #92 Herberth Motorsport Porsche 991 GT3 R Herberth Motorsport Porsche 991 GT3 R (Tim Müller / Taki Konstantinou / Jürgen Häring / Michael Joos / Marco Seefried).
The result marks the first overall win at the Hankook 24H Portimao 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 – 722 laps – set at the inaugural running by Bohemia Energy by Scuderia Praha back in 2017.
The sister #91 entry produced a storming recovery drive to finish 2nd overall in the 15 car field (Daniel Allemann / Ralf Bohn / Robert Renauer / 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 the Bavarian team 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, a 1m 44.692s, with Robert Renauer at the wheel.
After an impressive run, the highest placed 991 category runner, the #921 Mühlner Motorsport Porsche 991-II Cup (Moritz Kranz / Carlos Vieira / Tom Cloet / Jeroen Bleekemolen) – completed an all-Porsche podium by finishing 3rd overall. Though unable to challenge for 991-class victory owing to a myriad of mechanical problems, the #978 Speed Lover Porsche 991-II Cup (Dominique Bastien / Gavin Pickering / Olivier Dons / Eric Mouez) was still classified 2nd in-class and 9th overall after a determined run.
The #421 Mühlner Motorsport Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 (Axel Sartingen / Daniel Schwerfeld / Thorsten Jung / Daniel Bohr / Moritz Kranz) completed a successful weekend for the Belgian team by claiming victory in CREVENTIC’s new CAYMAN series. Its nearest rival – the #408 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.
Regrettably, mechanical woes meant that neither GT4 entrant made it to the finishing line, though the #401 PROsport Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 (Rodrigue Gillion / Nico Verdonck / Tom Heeren / Constantin Schöll) and the #412 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, the #84 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. Bryce Ward, fortunately, emerged unscathed but the damage was too great to repair.
In the TCE standings, the #112 Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR (Roberto Ferri / Miklas Born / Antti Buri / Kari-Pekka Laaksonen / Yannick Mettler) emerged victorious in a hotly contested battle for victory.
Yannick 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 (#117, Tom Coronel / Nicolas Baert / Nathanael Berthon) secured 2nd in-class at Portimão. 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 PORTIMAO, ahead of the GT division’s CAYMAN and GT4 contenders.
After a character-building run, the #188 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 #124 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 meanwhile (#1, 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.
Unfortunately, the #101 Red Camel-Jordans.nl CUPRA TCR (Rik Breukers / Ivo Breukers / Luc 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 CUPRA’s engine expired shortly before daybreak.
The 24H SERIES powered by Hankook will continue next month with the inaugural Hankook 12H Monza on 10/11 July, the first visit of the Series to the venue.
RACE RESULT >>