The 24H SERIES powered by Hankook returns to real world racing in Portugal. The 90 minute qualifying did not disappoint in the Algarve as a modest but well formed field battled for starting positions.
The HTP Winward Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#84, Bryce Ward / Russell Ward / Indy Dontje / Philip Ellis) secured its first outright pole position in the 24H SERIES at the Hankook 24H Portimao. Philip Ellis lapped the 4.684 km Autódromo Internacional do Algarve in 1m 43.848s, obliterating last year’s pole time in the process.
The first of two Herberth Motorsport Porsche 991 GT3 Rs (#92, Tim Müller / Taki Konstantinou / Jürgen Häring / Michael Joos / Marco Seefried) secured a front row starting spot by just half a second from its sister car (#91, Daniel Allemann / Ralf Bohn / Robert Renauer / Alfred Renauer). The Bavarian team is the reigning A6-Am class 24H SERIES Europe champion, and took a class win at last year’s event.
Further back, three-time Hankook 24H DUBAI winner Jeroen Bleekemolen secured 991 class pole position in the Mühlner Motorsport Porsche 991-II Cup (#921, Moritz Kranz / Carlos Vieira / Tom Cloet / Jeroen Bleekemolen), just ahead of the Speed Lover Porsche 991-II Cup (#978, Dominique Bastien / Gavin Pickering / Olivier Dons / Eric Mouez). Both Cup cars will start 4th and 5th on the overall grid.
Impressively, Mühlner Motorsport also secured pole position in Creventic’s new Cayman class, the sister Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 CS (#421, Axel Sartingen / Daniel Schwerfeld / Thorsten Jung / Daniel Bohr / Moritz Kranz) posting the eighth fastest time of the session ahead of class rival, Veloso Motorsport (#408, Pedro Marreiros / Paulo Pinheiro / José Costa / Jean-Roch Piat / Mariano Pires).
Finally, the returning PROsport Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 (#401, Rodrigue Gillion / Nico Verdonck / Tom Heeren / Constantin Schöll) secured the GT4 pole position barely three-tenths ahead of the circuit’s in-house-prepared Parkalgar Racing Team Mercedes-AMG GT4 (#412, André Antunes / Alvaro Ramos / Fred Blok / Joaquim Penteado / José Monroy). Both GT4 entries will start line astern in 6th and 7th.
No Surprise for TCE Pole
The Red Camel-Jordans.nl CUPRA TCR (#101, Rik Breukers / Ivo Breukers / Luc Breukers) will start tomorrow’s Hankook 24H PORTIMAO from TCE division pole position after a grandstand finish in qualifying.
Rik Breukers lapped the 4.684 km Autódromo Internacional do Algarve in 1m 55.069s, barely 0.140s faster than its nearest rival after a final do-or-die lap. The result marks the first time since last year’s Hankook 12H BRNO, 13 months ago, that the Dutch team starts a 24H SERIES race from TCE pole.
“It was a really fun qualifying session but in the end it was quite tight!” Rik Breukers explained to CREVENTIC. “Honestly, we thought we had pole early on, but then we saw that people were improving so we decided to do one more run on a new set of tyres. The colder temperatures at the end really helped, and even with a small mistake, I’m really happy with that time.
“It will be hot tomorrow so we’ll have to take care of the tyres. Of course our goal is to win, but I think the other teamsa have the same goal!”
After a slow start, World Touring Car Cup regular Comtoyou team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS (#117, Tom Coronel / Nicolas Baert / Nathanael Berthon) took full advantage of the cooler temperatures to jump onto the front row in the closing moments of qualifying.
Last year, Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing collected the Overall TCE Teams championship in both the 24H SERIES Europe and the 24H SERIES Continents. The Swiss team made a good start to its European title defense by posting the 3rd and 4th fastest lap times in TCE qualifying, the championship winning #1 Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR (Jérôme Ogay / Jasmin Preisig / Yannick Mettler / Christoph Lenz / Stefan Tanner) pulling just one-tenth ahead of the sister #112 entry (Roberto Ferri / Miklas Born / Antti Buri / Kari-Pekka Laaksonen / Yannick Mettler).
The CODE Racing Development Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR meanwhile (#124, Thierry Chkondali / Philippe Baffoun / Thierry Boyer / Bruno Derossi / Quentin Giordano) made a solid start to its maiden 24H SERIES race with the 5th fastest time. Just behind, and having qualified on TCE pole at last year’s Hankook 24H PORTIMAO, the AC Motorsport Audi RS3 LMS (#188, Stephane Perrin / Michael Blanchemain / Christophe Hamon / Hannes Morin) had to settle for the 6th fastest time this weekend.
On-track action begins at 1200 local and will run uninterrupted until mid-day on Sunday 14th June.
Live streaming of the race in HD quality will be available on the official website and the 24H Series YouTube channel, along with commentary from radiolemans.com.
Expect regular updates on Twitter (@24HSeries), Facebook (24H Series) and Instagram (24H Series). Further information can also be found at www.24hseries.com.
All images kindly provided by 24H Series.