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Herberth Take 1-2 at 24H Barcelona

The lead Herberth Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 R (#91, Daniel Allemann / Ralf Bohn / Alfred Renauer / Robert Renauer), which started from pole position, was involved in a frenetic battle with both the WTM Racing Ferrari 488 and the CP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the early stages on Saturday, but began to stretch its advantage as the race hit half-distance.

Problems for the team’s principal rivals thereafter allowed the #91 Porsche to pull several laps clear during the night and simultaneously brought the second Herberth Motorsport Porsche (#92, Jürgen Häring / Bobby Gonzales / Wolfgang Triller / Marco Seefried / Tim Müller) into contention.

After 24 hours of racing, Daniel Allemann eventually drove the #91 Porsche over the line to complete 695 laps of the 4.675km Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, setting a new distance record for the event’s GT era in the process. In a memorable moment, both Herberth Motorsport machines, though split by six laps, collected the chequered flag in formation.

The result marks not only Herberth Motorsport’s third overall win at the Hankook 24H BARCELONA following similar triumphs in 2016 and 2018 but also the team’s third outright victory of the 2021 season.

“Perfect race for us! I can’t believe it. To get 1st and 2nd for our team… what a day!

“We made no mistakes today or yesterday, and that’s the goal in an endurance race. My thanks to our team: brilliant job, brilliant pit stops, and also to my drivers. Well done everyone!”

Three minutes behind the Herberth duo, the Rutronik Racing by TECE Audi R8 LMS GT3 (#18, Michael Doppelmayr / Pierre Kaffer / Elia Erhart / Swen Herberger) equalled its best run in the 24H SERIES to-date with 3rd overall. The IDEC SPORT Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#17, Patrice Lafargue / Paul Lafargue / Paul-Loup Chatin / Nicolas Minassian) completed a solid run to 4th on its first run with CREVENTIC since 2019, despite a heart-in-the-mouth moment in the closing five minutes when Patrice Lafargue spun into the gravel at turn five.

In 5th place overall, Collection Motorsport (#500, Nathanaël Berthon / Christer Joens / Martin Lechmann / Patric Niederhauser) collected the P4-class win. The German team entered the second evolution Audi R8 LMS EVO2 for its competitive debut this weekend, and impressed by posting both the fastest lap during official Night Practice on Friday and running consistently in the top 10 during the race proper. Having overcome gear selector issues in the early stages, the sister Car Collection Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT3 ­­­­(#34, Johannes Dr. Kirchhoff / Gustav Edelhoff / Elmar Grimm / Max Edelhoff / Stefan Aust) finished 6th overall behind the EVO2.

The Reiter Engineering KTM X-BOW GTX (#724, Horst Felbermayr Jr. / Eike Angermayr / Mads Siljehaug) recovered from a very early puncture to finish 7th on the road and claim GTX-class honours, the German team’s third such win of the season.

Victory had looked set to go to the first of two True Racing KTM X-BOW GTXs (#716, Miguel Oliveira / Reinhard Kofler / Ferdinand Stuck / Peter Kox), the Austrian sports car having led the class for all but two hours before losing power on Barcelona’s start-finish during the night. True Racing eventually recovered to finish 2nd in-class, securing MotoGP race winner Miguel Oliveira a class podium in his first-ever endurance race. Despite losing time to a broken wheel bearing, Red (#999, Ivo Breukers / Luc Breukers / Thierry Vermeulen / Bashar Mardini) rounds out the GTX class podium with its 992-generation Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.

A dominant run from the Willi Motorsport by Ebimotors Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (#955, Fabrizio Broggi / Sergiu Nicolae / Sabino de Castro) saw the Romanian-Italian collective finish 8th overall and claim its second 991-class win of the season. Despite running out of fuel early in the race, DUWO Racing (#909, Andrey Mukovoz / Stanislav Sidoruk / Sergey Peregudov) bounced back to finish 2nd in-class, retaining its lead in the Overall GT Teams’ standings as a result. Further back, and having overcome brake failure and contact with the RTR Projects-entered KTM during the night, Speed Lover (#978, Olivier Dons / Gavin Pickering / Ricky Coomber) was eventually classified a hard-earned 3rd.

The ST Racing BMW M4 GT4 (#438, Samantha Tan / Chandler Hull / Jon Miller / Nick Wittmer) completed a faultless run on its first race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya to secure its second GT4-class win of the season. The result also means that the Canadian team has moved to within five points of Overall GT Teams’ championship leader DUWO Racing in the standings.

After suffering two punctures in the opening stages, the returning RHC Jorgensen-Strom by Century BMW M4 GT4 (#450, Daren Jorgensen / Brett Strom / Danny van Dongen / Nathan Freke) eventually finished 2nd in GT4. The third and final Car Collection Motorsport entry of the weekend (#499, Lisa Clark / Mark Issa / Jeff Westphal / Martin Lechmann) was classified 3rd, the Audi R8 LMS GT4 having been grounded by ABS failure in the closing hours.

In podium contention from the very beginning, CP Racing (#85, Charles Putman / Charles Espenlaub / Joe Foster / Shane Lewis) eventually slipped to 9th overall when wheel hub failure caused the Mercedes-AMG GT3 to lose a wheel on-track. Fellow podium contenders WTM powered by Phoenix (#22, Georg Weiss / Leonard Weiss / Jochen Krumbach / Daniel Keilwitz / Hendrik Still) and DINAMIC MOTORSPORT (#7, Roberto Pampanini / Mauro Calamia / Amedeo Pampanini / Nicolas Stürzinger) fared less well, however: the Ferrari 488 GT3, which led 78 laps outright, retired from 2nd overall during the night with gearbox failure, while a broken radiator meant the Porsche 911 GT3 R was also unable to make the finish.

Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing has secured a 1-2 finish in the TCR division at the Hankook 24H BARCELONA, while TCX-class victory for championship rival CWS Engineering has vaulted the British team to the top of the Overall TCE Teams’ standings.

The lead Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR DSG (#112, Arunas Geciauskas / Sigitas Ambrazevicius / Vytenis Gulbinas / Paul Sieljes) completed a decisive run at Montmeló to secure the Swiss team’s third successive TCE win of 2021, Arunas Geciauskas driving the #112 Volkswagen across the line to complete 638 laps of the 4.675km Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

In an amazing comeback, the second Autorama Volkswagen (#1, Emil Heyerdahl / Jasmin Preisig / Constantin Kletzer / Roberto Ferri) finished just 41 seconds behind its sister TCR entry, despite a brush from the CP Racing Mercedes sending the #1 Volkswagen into the gravel during the opening hour.

“We are always battling!” Jasmin Preisig explained. “To be on the podium with both cars is a great achievement for Autorama, and we’re all very happy.”

Asked how Autorama Motorsport consistently gets its cars to the line in spite of early race dramas, Jasmin jokingly replied, “that’s a secret!”

RAIL EQUIP BY TOTCAR SPORT (#123, Jorge Belloc Diaz / Jorge Belloc Ruiz / Álvaro Rodríguez Sastre) rounded out the overall TCE podium at its home event just ahead of fellow Spanish team, Baporo Motorsport (#151, Manel Lao Gorina / Manel Lao Cornago / Llorenç Fluxà Domene / Llorenç Fluxà Cross). Both teams ran CUPRA TCRs.

Just one lap further back, the CWS Engineering Ginetta G55 (#278, Colin White / Ian Stinton / Jean- François Brunot / Angus Fender) rounded out the TCE top five, securing TCX class victory in the process. The TCE polesitter suffered a bizarre incident six hours into the event when wheel hub failure caused the Ginetta G55, now running on only three wheels, to collect a piece of the run-off kerbing at turn one.

Having recovered to take its second TCX win of the season, the result now propels CWS Engineering to the top of the Overall TCE Teams’ standings, just one point clear of Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing.

A full gearbox replacement ended up dropping the Audi RS 3 LMS of TCE title contender AC Motorsport (#188, Stéphane Perrin / Mathieu Detry / James Kaye / Vincent Radermecker) to 6th in TCE, while terminal engine problems side-lined the returning Team ACP – Tangerine Associates BMW M2 CS Racing (#221, Wim Spinoy / Catesby Jones / Jim Norman) after just 180 laps. The Bas Koeten Racing CUPRA TCR meanwhile (#125, Bert Mets / Jos Stevens / Bob Stevens / Martin van den Berge / Christiaan Frankenhout) ended its race in dramatic fashion with a collision against the turn seven tyre barriers. Fortunately, Martin van den Berge walked away uninjured.

The 2021 24H SERIES powered by Hankook season continues in one month’s time with the second running of the Hankook COPPA FLORIO 12H SICILY at Autodromo Pergusa on 1-2-3 October.