Rutronik Racing secures first 24H SERIES pole position at #Hankook 24H SEBRING

Rutronik Racing has secured its maiden pole position in the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook on the series’ first visit to the Sebring International Raceway. The Rutronik Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 (#18, Michael Doppelmayr / Markus Winkelhock / Elia Erhart / Swen Herberger) was in contention from the get-go, an introductory lap from Markus Winkelhock proving immediately quick enough for the second row. Shortly before half distance, the former Formula 1 driver then set a blistering 2m 01.627s around the 6.018-mile Sebring International Raceway, a time more than a second faster than any of the German team’s nearest rivals could manage. Rutronik Racing’s pole position for the inaugural Hankook 24H SEBRING, the longest-ever international motor race to be held at the Sebring International Raceway, is the #18 Audi R8’s best qualifying performance since its front row start at Mugello earlier this year. A late-session surge from the CP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#85, Charles Putman / Charles Espenlaub / Joe Foster / Shane Lewis) saw the American team leapfrog onto the front row inside the closing 90 seconds, Charles Espenlaub’s 2m 02.766s dropping the Porsche 991 GT3 R of long-time provisional polesitter Herberth Motorsport (#91, Alfred Renauer / Robert Renauer / Daniel Allemann / Ralf Bohn) back down to 3rd. The Bavarian team, which leads the GT3-AM championship standings, will share the second row with the returning Leipert Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3 (#10, Brendon Leitch / Tyler Cooke / Dennis Fetzer / Seb Morris / Sebastian Balthasar). Amazingly, Herberth’s sister Porsche 991 GT3 R (#92, Jürgen Häring / Bobby Gonzales / Wolfgang Triller / Felix Neuhofer / Marco Seefried) fell an agonizing 0.001s short of the fourth spot on the grid. An impressive run from the second Leipert Motorsport entry means the Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo (#710, Gregg Gorski / Gerhard Watzinger / Lance Bergstein / Al Miller / Kenton Koch) will start from GTX class pole position from 6th overall on the grid. BMW M Motorsport’s brand-new M4 GT3 (#82, Bill Auberlen / Robby Foley / James Clay / Neil Verhagen / Max Hesse) has made an impressive start to its 24H SERIES debut with the 7th fastest time in qualifying. The race’s sole ‘P4’ class runner will thus start this afternoon’s race ahead of the first of two MRS GT-Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cups (#987, Jeff Courtney / Alexander Marmureanu / Omar Balkissoon / Sebastian Moreno) set to compete this weekend. The German team’s sister entry (#989, Raulino Kreis Jr. / Jeronimo Guzman / Pedro Torres / Robert Lorndale) starts just two places further back, behind the Porsche 991-II Cup of 991 polesitter Willi Motorsport by Ebimotors (#955, Fabrizio Broggi / Sergiu Nicolae / Sabino de Castro) and rounds out the top 10 accordingly. A close contest for GT4-class pole position saw the top three in-class finish qualifying with the 11th, 12th and 15th spots on the overall grid. The ST Racing BMW M4 GT4 (#438, Samantha Tan / Chandler Hull / Jon Miller / Nick Wittmer / Bryson Morris), which currently leads the Overall GT Teams’ standings, continues its run of GT4 pole positions at Sebring, albeit by just over three-tenths of a second ahead of the Lionspeed by Car Collection Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT4 (#499, José Garcia / Jörg Viebahn / Patric Niederhauser / Patrick Kolb). Just two-tenths further back, the RENNtech Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4 (#489, David Ducote / Chapman Ducote / Wayne Ducote / Kyle Marcelli / Alan Metni) rounds out the GT4-class top three. Overall TCE Teams’ championship leader Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing has made a strong start to the Hankook 24H SEBRING with a front-row lockout in TCE. Though provisional pole initially bounced between the team’s #1 Volkswagen Golf GTI (Constantin Kletzer / Emil Heyerdahl / Fabian Danz /Jasmin Preisig / Miklas Born) and TCE championship rival AC Motorsport’s Audi RS 3 LMS (#188, Stéphane Perrin / Mathieu Detry / Rik Breukers / Matthew Taskinen), a 2m 15.069s from returning 2020 Overall TCE Drivers’ champion Miklas Born aboard the #112 Volkswagen Golf GTI (Kari-Pekka Laaksonen / Antti Buri / Roberto Ferri / Fabian Danz / Miklas Born) eventually put the touring car top spot out of reach with a little over five minutes of the session left to run. A strong performance nevertheless secured AC Motorsport 3rd on the TCE grid. The Ginetta G55 of TCX polesitter CWS Engineering (#278, Colin White / Jean-Francois Brunot / Matt Rivard / Joe Burris / Warren Dexter) will start ahead of the Ligier JS2 R of nearest category rival, Nordschleife Racing (#226, Guillaume Roman / Lucca Ayari / Cédric Houot / Michel Sallenbach). The Red Audi RS 3 LMS (#101, Ivo Breukers / Luc Breukers / Kim Holmgaard / Dominique Bastien) rounds out the TCE runners. After unforeseen, and unavoidable, delays earlier this week, the green flag for the inaugural Hankook 24H SEBRING is set to fly at 17.00 hrs local time, with racing scheduled to run throughout the night at the Sebring International Raceway until 17.00 hrs on Sunday 21 November. The action will be live with commentary from on the official 24H SERIES YouTube channel. Regular updates will also be published on Twitter (@24HSeries), Facebook (24H Series) and Instagram (24H Series). 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