Phoenix Racing has secured its second consecutive win in the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook at the Hankook 12H HOCKENHEIMRING after a race-long battle with German compatriot Car Collection Motorsport.
The Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II (#18, Michael Doppelmayr / Pierre Kaffer / Elia Erhart / Swen Herberger) took today’s restart from 4th on the grid, one lap down, and combined metronomic driving with faultless pit strategy on Sunday afternoon to work its way to the front of the field, albeit with the fighting Car Collection Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II (#34, Johannes Dr. Kirchhoff / Max Edelhoff / Elmar Grimm) hot on its heels. A superbly timed Code 60 caution period proved the deciding factor, strengthening Phoenix Racing’s one lap lead to two heading into the closing stages.
Pierre Kaffer brought the Audi R8 across the line to secure victory, Phoenix Racing completing 377 laps of the 4.574km Hockenheimring in the process. The result strengthens the German team’s lead at the top of the Overall GT3 and GT3-PRO/AM Teams’ European standings.
“This is our second victory this year, and everything was just perfect!” a euphoric Elia Erhart explained to radiolemans.com’s Peter Snowdon. “The whole team did an amazing job, and in the end we had a Code 60 that really helped us a lot, so what more could we ask for?! This is my home race at Hockenheim – I live 200km from here – so this feels really special.”
“There are always points you could look back on and wonder if they could be improved, but in the end, it’s the result that counts and if you stand on the top step of the podium, what more could you ask for?!” Swen Herberger continued. “We had a fantastic crew here this weekend, they did everything perfectly, and we all drove responsibly. Mission accomplished!”
Car Collection Motorsport completed a superb weekend, which started with outright pole position on both the opening and restart grids, with 2nd place overall and a win in the GT3-AM class, a spin at the Hairpin proving the only ‘blemish’. Less than 45 seconds further back, the JUTA Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO I (#71, Julius Adomavičius / Andrius Gelžinis / Jonas Gelžinis) rounds out the overall podium for the first time this season, and ensured an overall podium lockout for the Audi R8 LMS.
In an unusual incident, the Lithuanian team suffered an electrical glitch on Sunday’s warm-up lap necessitating an engine restart. Attempting to make its way back through the field to its starting position, the Audi made contact with the NKPP by HRT Performance Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (#928, Gijs Bessem / Harry Hilders), the latter of which pitted shortly afterwards with a punctured wheel and a holed radiator. After almost an hour in the pits, the Porsche returned to the track and went on to finish 6th in the 992 class.
The CP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#85, Charles Putman / Charles Espenlaub / Joe Foster) finished 4th overall and 2nd in GT3-AM after a combative drive. The American team took this morning’s restart on the lead lap, with Charles Espenlaub even taking the lead into turn one after an electric start, though the Mercedes would lose time late in the afternoon to front-left brake failure. The result nevertheless keeps CP Racing at the top of the GT3-AM Teams’ standings in both the European title chase and the Championship of the Continents.
Despite losing time to a puncture, the Red Camel-Jordans.nl Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (#909, Ivo Breukers / Luc Breukers / Rik Breukers) took its second 992-class win of the season, finishing an impressive 5th overall at the Hankook 12H HOCKENHEIRMING. One place further back in 6th, the Red Ant Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (#904, Philippe Wils / Tom Boonen / Sam Dejonghe) secured its first 24H SERIES class podium after a solid run.
Red Ant Racing’s second Porsche Cup car (#903, Ayrton Redant / Bert Redant / Yannick Redant) had been on course to finish 2nd in 992, and was even challenging for the category lead, only to grind to a halt with driveshaft failure with just over an hour to go. The Belgian team’s demise thus opened the door for Plusline-Racing-Team by Terting&Müskens Cup (#905, Peter Terting / Carrie Schreiner / Philipp Gresek / Harald Geisselhart) to round out the 992-class podium on its series return, and means Red Camel-Jordans.nl now leads the 992 Teams’ European standings.
Behind the top two in 992, the JR Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 (#2, Ted van Vliet / Bas Schouten / Dirk Schouten) finished a solid 7th overall and 3rd in the GT3-AM class after a quiet run that also boasted one of the event’s fastest laps.
Late-race drama struck the GTX class when the E2P Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (#910, Javier Morcillo / Pablo Burguera) took the lead with just 10 minutes to go when the Leipert Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo (#710, Kerong Li / Jean-Francois Brunot / Tim Müller), which suffered a punctured radiator very early in the day, was forced to pit almost in sight of the flag to brim its coolant. Despite a heart-in-mouth moment through the stadium gravel trap, E2P Racing held off the Lamborghini to secure its first GTX class podium in the 24H SERIES on only its second outing. Though frustrated, 2nd in-class was still enough for Leipert Motorsport to take the GTX Teams’ lead in the Championship of the Continents.
RD Signs – Siauliai racing team Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo (#720, Audrius Butkevicius / Nicola Michelon / Paulius Paskevicius) had looked similarly on course to take GTX class victory at Hockenheim, but the Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo was wheeled back into its garage two hours from home with terminal drivetrain problems. Extensive issues, including accident damage sustained on Saturday, meant the Vortex V8 Vortex 1.0 (#701, Lionel Amrouche / Philippe Bonnel / Sebastien Lajoux) was too far behind to benefit, meaning RD Signs was still classified 3rd in-class, and thus joins Leipert Motorsport at the head of the GTX Teams’ European standings.
Further back, the MANIACK-Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 (#412, Martin Wachter / Dario Pergolini / Constantin Kletzer) completed its maiden series run with Autorama Motorsport at the Hankook 12H HOCKENHEIMRING, becoming the first team from Liechtenstein to secure victory in the 24H SERIES in the process.