Heading into the fifth hour, Herberth Motorsport currently holds 1st and 2nd overall at the Hankook 24H PORTIMAO after an accident side-lined the team’s nearest GT3 rival, HTP Winward Motorsport.
The HTP Winward Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#84, Bryce Ward / Russell Ward / Indy Dontje / Philip Ellis) had started from pole position, and despite slipping to 2nd place in the early stages, was well within striking distance of the lead after the second round of pit stops. Shortly before the third hour however, the Mercedes made heavy contact with the barriers at turn 13, bringing out the first of only two Code 60 caution periods so far this afternoon.
Bryce Ward fortunately emerged unscathed from the impact, but the AMG GT3 has yet to return to the track.
This means the Herberth Motorsport Porsche 991 GT3 R (#91, Daniel Allemann / Ralf Bohn / Robert Renauer / Alfred Renauer) now holds a one-lap lead over its sister entry (#92, Tim Müller / Taki Konstantinou / Jürgen Häring / Michael Joos / Marco Seefried). The Bavarian team will be keen to kick off its A6-Am class championship defence with a strong result at the 24H SERIES Europe season opener.
Behind the GT3 duo, the Mühlner Motorsport Porsche 991-II Cup (#921, Moritz Kranz / Carlos Vieira / Tom Cloet / Jeroen Bleekemolen) is the highest of the 991 class runners after an impressive opening stint, and also rounds out the overall top three in the GT division.
After several extended visits to the pitlane to fix a suspected handling issue, the Belgian team’s nearest rival – the Speed Lover Porsche 991-II Cup (#978, Dominique Bastien / Gavin Pickering / Olivier Dons / Eric Mouez) – is still in the garage.
Mühlner Motorsport’s sister entry, the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 (#421, Axel Sartingen / Daniel Schwerfeld / Thorsten Jung / Daniel Bohr / Moritz Kranz), also leads the Cayman class and rounds out the overall top 10 after four hours of racing. The Veloso Motorsport Porsche Cayman GT4 CS (#408, Pedro Marreiros / Paulo Pinheiro / José Costa / Jean-Roch Piat / Mariano Pires) had held the top spot in-class in the early stages but has since dropped the tail of the field after suffering a rear left puncture.
Finally, the PROsport Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 (#401, Rodrigue Gillion / Nico Verdonck / Tom Heeren / Constantin Schöll) leads the way in the GT4 class and is running 8th overall. The Parkalgar Racing Team Mercedes-AMG GT4 meanwhile (#412, André Antunes / Alvaro Ramos / Fred Blok / Joaquim Penteado / José Monroy), which held the lead in the opening stages of the race, has since dropped back to 2nd in-class and 11th overall.