The Herberth Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 R (#911, Daniel Allemann / Ralf Bohn / Robert Renauer / Alfred Renauer) currently leads the 2018 Hankook 24H COTA USA after a collision on-track dramatically side-lined long-time leaders, Black Falcon.
The Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#2, Jeroen Bleekemolen / Hubert Haupt / Luca Stolz / Ben Keating) had led the race almost unopposed since lap 17 only to collide with newly crowned GT European Champions PROsport Performance on-track shortly after darkness fell at the 5.5km Circuit of the Americas. While the PROsport entry was able to continue, the resultant front-end damage has dropped Black Falcon out of the overall top 10 and cost the team more than two hours on pitroad.
Last year’s race winner Herberth Motorsport now leads ahead of the second Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#3, Yelmer Buurman / Mike Skeen / Scott Heckert / Bret Curtis) going into ‘part two’ of the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook season finale tomorrow. Barely four minutes covers the top two.
“An accident is always a surprise, and without that we wouldn’t be in first position,” Ralf Bohn explained to radiolemans.com’s Nick Daman. “But we will see what will happen tomorrow. One round is one round, and it’s all going to depend what strategy everyone else is running. But we will take whatever comes!”
The SPS automotive performance Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#24, Alexandre Coigny / Richard Feller / Antonin Borga) is the highest-placed A6-Am runner and currently completes the overall GT podium. Just behind them is the PROsport Performance Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#85, Charles Putman / Charles Espenlaub / Joe Foster / Adam Christodoulou), which also leads the overall Championship of the Continents. Its nearest rival, the Car Collection Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT3 (#34, Johannes Dr. Kirchhoff / Gustav Edelhoff / Ingo Vogler / Max Edelhoff), is currently 6th on-track after an on-track collision dropped the German team down the order. The A6-Am podium is thus completed, for the moment, by the HB Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 (#41,
Martin Berry / Angelo Negro / Edward Lewis Brauner / Huilin Han / Mike Hedlund), which will start 5th on the road tomorrow.
Impressively, both entrants in an all-American 991 class are classified in the overall top 10, with the JDX Racing Porsche 991-II Cup (#74, Alan Metni / Mark Kvamme / Trenton Estep / David Baker) running just ahead of Wright Motorsports (#91, Anthony Imperato / Fred Poordad / Mckay Snow / Jan Heylen). The Porsche Cup cars are 8th and 9th overall respectively in the GT division.
The overall top 10 is completed by the RHC Jorgensen/Strom BMW M4 GT4 (#113, Daren Jorgensen / Brett Strom / Gerard McLeod / Danny van Dongen), which also leads the GT4 class. The Classic BMW M4 GT4 (#272. Mike Vess / Jason Hart / Andrew Davis / Curt Swearingin / Matt Travis) lies 2nd in-class just ahead of long-time class leader RENNtech Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4 (#890, Chapman Ducote / David Ducote / Wayne Ducote / Paul Barnhart Jr. / Kyle Marcelli). The latter had built up a seven-lap lead until a broken oil pipe dropped the official AMG privateers down the order.
Frenetic action in SP2 means the Speed Lover Porsche 991-I Cup (#78, Pierre-Yves Paque / Rodrigue Gillion / Lance Bergstein / Jean-Michel Gerome / Jean-Alexandre Gerome) leads the VDS Racing Adventures MARC Focus V8 (#58, Raphaël van der Straten / Hary Putz / José Close / Nico Verdonck) heading into the overnight break. The JR Motorsport BMW M3 F80 Endurance (#114, Bas Schouten / Ted van Vliet / Martin Lanting / Ward Sluys) had led the class early on, and now lies 3rd, just 10 seconds behind the MARC Focus V8.
The overall polesitter – the R-Motorsport Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 (#620, Florian Kamelger / Andreas Baenziger / Peter Leemhuis / Marvin Kirchhofer) – was an early contender for victory until a heavy impact with the tyre barriers dropped the Aston down to 17th overall.
Bas Koeten Racing CUPRAs lead a TCE 1-2
The two Bas Koeten Racing-affiliated CUPRA TCRs currently lead a 1-2 in the TCE division, with NKPP Racing by Bas Koeten Racing (#175, Gijs Bessem / Harry Hilders / Roeland Voerman) heading the TCE pole-sitting LMS Racing by Bas Koeten Racing (#129, Antti Buri / Olli Kangas / Kari-Pekka Laaksonen / Ronny Jost). Both cars have recovered impressively from earlier problems: the NKPP Racing team suffered a loose turbo hose in the opening laps, while a broken shock absorber dropped the LMS Racing entry out of a two-lap lead.
The Team Altran Peugeot 308 Racing Cup TCR (#308, Guillaume Roman / Thierry Blaise / Marc Guillot / Kim Holmgaard) lies 3rd overall in TCE, and also completes the TCR class podium, so far. The Lestrup Racing Team Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR SEQ (#110, Mats Olsson / Peter Fahlström /
Stefan Nilsson / Robin Fredriksson) had started on the front row and now lies 4th in TCE.
The Sorg Rennsport BMW M235i Racing Cup meanwhile (#151, Simon Tibbett / Benito Tagle / William Hendrix / Ricardo Flores) holds a comfortable lead over the Hofor Racing powered by Bonk Motorsport BMW M235i Racing Cup (#131, Martin Kroll / Michael Schrey / Michael Fischer / Bernd Küpper Gustav Engljaehringer) in CUP1. The latter is still on course though to collect the overall TCE Championship of the Continents, albeit by just two points. The Swiss / German collaboration has already secured the 24H TCE SERIES European Championship this season.
Poor luck has thus far struck the contenders in SP3, although the Cor Euser Racing BMW M3 (#71, Jim Briody / Niels Bouwhuis / Einar Thorsen / Cor Euser) still leads the LAMERA-CUP Lamera Cup (#238, Fabien Delaplace / Laurent Piguet / Nicolas Béraud / Thierry Soave). The Dutch-entered BMW has already suffered broken suspension on-track, while the latter French coupe, which qualified yesterday on TCE pole position, has endured myriad powertrain issues throughout the afternoon.
Following a brief overnight hiatus, the 2018 Hankook 24H COTA USA will re-start on Sunday morning at 08.00 hrs local time at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
Source. Creventic/Photo. Petr Frýba