Image credit: 24H Series
The #30 Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 of Ram Racing won the Hankook 24H or Paul Ricard after a battle with the #7 Porsche 997 GT3 R HB Racing Team Herberth. Germany’s Thomas Jäger along with English drivers Tom Onslow-Cole, Adam Christodoulou, and Paul White completed 586 laps of the 5.842 kilometer circuit located above the French Riviera. The second place Porsche was driven by Nicolas Armindo, Daniel Allemann, Herbert Handlos, Lukas Schreier and Alfred Renauer.
The leaders had a close battle during the night, swapping the top spot during pit stop exchanges. The Mercedes pulled away thanks in part to better tyre management. The race was decided with 90 minutes remaining when the Porsche briefly stopped on track with electrical problems. It was the first win for Ram Racing after having come close at previous races. Third place was taken by the #2 HP Racing Mercedes (Bleekemolen / Kofler / Tilke / Renger / Proczyk) and fourth by the #4 Scuderia Praha Ferrari. It was a good comeback for both as they collided on the first lap of the race, requiring repairs.
The all-Porsche 997 class was won by French team Ruffier Racing in the #17 991 Cup Drivers Paul Lafargue, Dimitri Enjalbert, Gabriel Abergel, and Patrice Lafargue put in a flawless performance. Second in 997 was the #55 Crubilé Sport 991 (Collard / Perrodo / Mezard / Crubilé) and third was the #77 GDL Racing 991 Cup (Vignali / Terrail / Lim / Iossifidis).
The SP2 class consists of specially prepared endurance cars and was won by the #92 MARC Cars Australia MARC Focus V8. It was driven by James Kaye, Jeff Smith, Peter Leemhuis and Hadrian Morrall. The #93 MARC Cars Australia MARC Mazda 3 V8 was second (Camilleri / B. Niall / Harvey / M. Niall) and the #159 Red Camel-Jordans MARC Mazda 3 V8 third (Nearn / Farmer / R. Breukers / I. Breukers)
The A3T class for turbocharged touring cars was taken by the #208 Peugeot 208 GTi of French entrant Team Altran driven by Steven Palette, Guillaume Roman, Gaetan Bischoff and Gonzalo de Andres. Second in A3T was the #98 NKKP Racing Seat Leon Cup Racer (van den Berge / Hilders / Bessem) and third was he #95 Memac Ogilvy Duel Racing Seat Leon Cup Racer (N. Moutran / S. Moutran / R. Moutran / Quaife).
The SP3 class consists mostly of GT4 spec cars and was won by the Italian entered #206 Nova Race Ginetta G50 driven by Fredrik Blomstedt, Andrea Barenghi, Carlo Mantori and Philippe Cimadomo. Second in SP3 was the #200 Nova Race Ginetta G55 (Fletcher / Magnoni / Ferri) and third the #170 Speedworks Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage GT4 (Modell / Liquorish / Gilbert / Hughes).
The German based #67 Team Securtal Sorg Rennsport won the all BMW M235i Racing CUP1 class after a three-way fight. The drivers were Gunther Felix, Nicolas Griebner, Thomas Muller, Daniel Sorg, and Michael Steffny. Second was #79 (Bonk Motorsport, Bonk / Burghardt / Dumont / Faber / Chkondali) and third #70 (Mission Possible, Dreszer / G. Steffny / Niedertscheider / Gaitzenauer / Engljähringer).
The small touring car category, A2, was won by the #112 Presenza Racing Team Switzerland Renault Clio. It was piloted by Luigi Stanco, Michel Schaap, Christian Dijkhof, Sarah Toniutti and Stefan Tanner. Renault Clios also finished second and third in class. They were, respectively, #122, Autosport GP (Carreras / Nicoud / Mollon / Hurgon / Zaffini), and #126, Team Sally Racing (Sally Pedersen / Obel / Christensen / Marcussen / Jepsen).
The larger touring car category, A5, became a battle for survival with the #75 Hofor Racing BMW E46 M3 just managing to finish. Bernd Küpper, Chantal Kroll, Martin Kroll, Siarhei Paulavets and Fabrice Reicher were the drivers.The #83 Cor Euser Racing BMW M3 was second with Prewitt, O’Reilly, Miller, Briody, and Rice.The #146 Saxon Motorsport BMW 135d GTR was third (J. Morrow / N. Morrow / T. Barrow / S. Allpass)
There were no major incidents and eight brief Code 60 neutralisations to collect stranded cars and scattered debris. The race was run under clear and warm skies.
The 24H Series powered by Hankook now moves on to its penultimate round at the Circuit de Catalunya outside Barcelona for the 24H BARCELONA Trofeu Fermi Vélez on 4-5-6 September.