HTP Motorsport Mercedes leads after eventful starting period
Optimum Motorsport Audi R8 LMS follows in second place.
Le Castellet (July 16, 2016) – With the first two hours of the Hankook 24H Circuit Paul Ricard, the fifth round of the 24H Series powered by Hankook, in the books, the HTP Motorsport GmbH Mercedes AMG GT3 (#41, Wim de Pundert/Bernd Schneider/Brice Bosi/Clemens Schmid) leads the 51 car-strong field. After Wim de Pundert had driven the first stint, the five times DTM champion Bernd Schneider handed the Mercedes over to young Austrian Clemens Schmid. Half a minute down, the Optimum Motorsport Audi R8 LMS (#14, Flick Haigh/Joe Osborne/Ryan Ratcliffe/Edward Sandström) follows in second place.
Currently in third are the 2015 winners, the Ram Racing Mercedes AMG GT3 (#30, Stuart Hall/Roald Goethe/Daniel Brown/Jamie Campbell-Walter). In these early stages, the order is likely to change rapidly due to small gaps, strategic variety, and different car configurations. Several teams running top-field cars already struggled.
During the only Code 60 period so far, caused by oil on track, the Precote Herberth Motorsport Porsche 991 GT3 R (Alfred Renauer/Robert Renauer/Daniel Alleman/Ralf Bohn) did a fuel-only stop. That saving of time at the first pit stop brought Robert Renauer into the lead. The Porsche now runs on a different strategy rhythm than most of the other A6 cars.
Another leader of the start period was the Scuderia Praha Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 (#11, Jiri Pisarik/Josef Král/Matteo Mallucelli/Peter Kox). Ferrari regular Mallucelli was quickest in the first stint and made his way to the top from fifth on the grid.
The pole setter, Juan Cruz Alvarez in the Drivex Audi R8 LMS Ultra (#49, William Paul/Heino Bo Frederiksen/Zoltan Fekete/Dominik Fekere/Juan Cruz Alvarez), lost his lead in the first corner already after having locked up the wheels and going through the runoff area. The car also suffered from an ABS problem and now makes its way back to the front from 47th place.
The first complete retirement was the Massive Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage GT3 (#55, Casper Elgaard/Kristian Poulsen/Nicolai Sylvest/Roland Poulsen/Nicki Thim) with a broken power steering pump.
Several cars suffered punctures. So did the two Lamborghini cars, the GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracán GT3 (#963, Rolf Ineichen/Adrian Amstutz/Jeroen Bleekemolen) and the Leipert Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo (#12, Fredy Barth/Oliver Ditzler/Jürgen Krebs/Jean-Paul von Burg).
The Spark Motorsport Porsche 997 Cup (#94, Denis Francois/Ripert Hugues/Stephane Ortelli/Jules Gounon) leads the SPX class from pole position, ahead of the Artthea Sport Porsche 991 America (#45, Klaus Werner/Nanna Gøtsche/Martin Gøtsche/Henry Littig), that left from second in class.
The HRT Performance Porsche 991 Cup (#73, Kim André Hauschild/Stephen Borness/Fabian Engel/JM Littman/Artem Soloviev) went into the lead in the 991 class, leaving the class pole setters, the MRS GT Racing Porsche 991 Cup (#78, Charles Putman/Charles Espenlaub/Joe Foster/Xavier Maassen) in second.
The Porsche Lorient Racing Porsche 991 Cup (Philippe Polette/Frédéric Lelièvre/Pascal Gibon/Jean-Philippe Belloc) took over the SP2 lead. Two former leaders, the Red Camel-Jordans.nl MARC Mazda 3 V8 (#202, Rik Breukers/Ivo Breukers/Robert Nearn/Ryan McLeod) and the RWT Racing Team Chevrolet Corvette (#200, Gerd Beisel/Sven Barth/Joachim Kiesch/Ingolf de Clemente/Patrick Assenheimer), were given time penalties for going below their minimum reference lap times. The Red Camel-Jordans.nl MARC also ran out of fuel on its lap to the pits.
The Memac Ogilvy Duel Racing SEAT Leon Cup Racer (#1, Ramzi Moutran/Nabil Moutran/Sami Moutran/Phil Quaif) went into the TCR lead from second on the grid.
SP3, A3 and A2
In the SP3 class, the Nova Race Ginetta G55 GT4 (#284, Luca Magnoni/Roberto Gentili/Michael Simpson/Eric Vaissiere) defended their class pole position. So did the pole setters of the A3 and A2 classes. The Team Altran Peugeot 208 GTi of the current championship leaders (#208, Guillaume Roman/Stéphane Ventaja/Mathieu Sentis/Stéphane Christinelli) is on top of the A3 class and the presenza.eu Racing Team Renaut Clio Cup IV (#112, Luigi Stanco, Stefan Tanner, Stephan Jäggi, Christian Dijkhof, Michel Schaap ) tops the A2 class.
Drivex Audi R8 LMS Ultra scores narrow pole position at the French Riviera
24H Circuit Paul Ricard: Precote Herberth Motorsport Porsche celebrates second consecutive victory