The Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR (#112, Roberto Ferri / Miklas Born / Antti Buri / Kari-Pekka Laaksonen / Yannick Mettler) has emerged victorious in a hotly contested battle for TCE victory at the Hankook 24H PORTIMAO.
Yannick Mettler collected the chequered flag and completed 663 laps of the 4.652km Autódromo Internacional do Algarve to secure the first victory of the season for the reigning Overall TCE Teams champion in the 24H SERIES Europe. The result also replicates the team’s class win at the same event last year.
During the race, the #112 Volkswagen was one of four different TCR cars to take the lead in the TCE division.
FIA World Touring Car Cup regular Comtoyou team Audi Sport (#117, Tom Coronel / Nicolas Baert / Nathanael Berthon) secured 2nd in-class at Portimão. The DHL-sponsored Audi RS3 LMS spent much of the opening half of the 24-hour event battling for the TCE lead with Red Camel-Jordans.nl, but slipped back after losing 25 minutes in the pits during the night.
Such was the pace of the lead TCE contenders, both Autorama Motorsport and Comtoyou team Audi Sport finished 4th and 5th overall at the Hankook 24H PORTIMAO, ahead of the GT division’s CAYMAN and GT4 contenders.
After a character-building run, the AC Motorsport Audi RS3 LMS (#188, Stéphane Perrin / Michael Blanchemain / Christophe Hamon / Hannes Morin) completes the TCE podium. The Belgian team, which took its maiden TCE victory at the season-opening Hankook 24H DUBAI earlier this year in January, weathered paddle shift issues, a drop in fuel pressure, and brake problems to claim 3rd in-class.
The CODE Racing Development Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR SEQ (#124, Thierry Chkondali / Philippe Baffoun / Thierry Boyer / Bruno Derossi / Quentin Giordano) completed a solid debut in the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook to finish 4th in TCE and 8th overall at the Hankook 24H PORTIMAO. The second Autorama Motorsport Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR meanwhile (#1, Jérôme Ogay / Jasmin Preisig / Yannick Mettler / Christoph Lenz / Stefan Tanner) was well in contention for victory during the night, but ultimately fell back to 5th in-class and 10th overall after a gearbox change cost the team more than 2.5 hours in the pits.
Unfortunately, the Red Camel-Jordans.nl CUPRA TCR (#101, Rik Breukers / Ivo Breukers / Luc Breukers) failed to go the distance in Portugal. The Dutch team, which spent much of the opening two hours of the race in a tense fight for the lead with Comtoyou team Audi Sport, retired when the CUPRA’s engine expired shortly before daybreak.
Endurance action with the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook will continue next month with the inaugural Hankook 12H MONZA on 10-11 July, marking the first time CREVENTIC has ever hosted an official event at the vaunted Autodromo Nazionale di Monza. Further information on this year’s calendar can be found at www.24hseries.com.