And they are off! Report of the first hour of 24H BARCELONAWarm start at 24H BARCELONA
BARCELONA (September 8th, 2012) – It was not only a warm sunny start, with temperatures well above 20 degrees, but also a warm welcome for all the competing teams. Many people were gathering around the start grid of the 4.655 kilometres long Circuit de Catalunya.
The 24H BARCELONA, the endurance race for GTs, touring cars and 24H Specials, has started at 12.00h noon today. After the almost holiday-like atmosphere
of the previous days the excitement and tension has started. Sunbathing is past tense and the hard work will start. With a temperature of almost … degrees
on the asphalt the endurance of the racers will be tested today.
Last year we had a rainy start but this year everything looks set for a great event.
The start of any 24-hour race is always dramatic. Immediately we begin to see important questions answered. Today in Barcelona the large 51-car field had a very
smooth start. Yesterday we saw an intense battle in qualifying between the No. 3 McLaren and the No. 4 Ferrari. At exactly noon today, the battle restarted. Maurizio
Mediani has kept the pole-winning Ferrari in front—by a very, very small margin. Tim Mullen is taking the opening stint in the McLaren. After letting the Ferrari move
clear by about two seconds, Mullen turned up the pace and moved to about a half second behind the red car.
Several cars started from the back of the grid. These included the No. 21 Lotus and the No. 19 BMW, both having made refueling violations during qualifying,
which the otherwise No. 14 and No. 16 Silhouettes, and the No. 27 BMW missed qualifying because of various mechanical problems. All five are now rapidly
slicing through the field, passing the slower cars ahead of them left and right. Eric Poiteveneau has the No. 16 GC up to 7th overall (!), Alistair MacKinnon is in
21st with the Lotus, and Richard Kressner is in 11th with the No. 14 Renault. Only one car had a problem at the start. The No. 43 Mini of Michal Vitak lost three
laps in the pits soon after the beginning of the race.
Tim Mullen carefully moved into the lead, passing Mediani’s Ferrari at about the 40minute mark on lap 20. Immediately, the Lapidus Racing McLaren began to pull away, setting up a gap of about five seconds after two laps in front.
Behind the leaders the race is one of the cleanest endurance races that we have seen in a while. Duncan Huisman (No. 12 Las Moras Renault Trophy) is third and
well clear of the 997 class leading No. 5 Car Collection Porsche of Daniel Allemann.
Early stops were made by the No. SpeedLover Porsche (Jean-Michel Gerome) and the team’s other car, the No. 2 of Peter Schmidt. The latter definitely had a
problem, losing about four laps. They did have the honor of being the first team to swap drivers, Andreas Ziegler taking over the wheel.
The No. 14 Las Moras Renault that had made a great start from the rear was another to drop down the field because of a stop (Max Braams became the new
driver). The lone 996 class car, the No. 10 MIG Racing Porsche had a good start but a very irregular second half-hour, moving up and down the order.
Olivier Parigi came into the pits and handed the troublesome car over to Jerome Da Costa, who returned to the boxes a lap or two later.
Local hero Pepe Oriola is doing very well in 8th overall with the No. 1 Sunred Seat, the best of the Spanish teams. Just behind him is Jorg Weidinger, who
has made an excellent start in the No. 20 Team Partl BMW. The hour ended with the first truly routine stops as Benjamin Sorg brought the No, 29 A4 class BMW
in and Carlos Sarrea stopped with the No. 30 A3T category Seat.
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Class leaders after one hour:
A6: #3 Mullen of Lapidus Racing with a McLaren MP4-12 GT3 (Hummel, Christodoulou,Quaife) Time: 1:56.089
SP2 #12 Huisman of Las Moras RT with a Renault Megane Trophy (Braams, Munemann, Morien) Time: 1:59.314
SP3 #20 Widinger of Partl Motorsport with a BMW M3 GT4 (Bock, Partl) Time: 2:03.133
997 #5 Allemann of CC Motorsport with a Porsche 997 Cup (Schnyder, Zolin-Meyer, Lucas) Time: 2:00.639
A5 #25 Gibson of Intersport Racing with a BMW M3 CSL (Clarke, Radcliffe, Heyes) Time: 2:05.323
A4 #28 Gras of YMOR Racing with a BMW Z3 M Coupé ( van den Berge, Budding) Time: 2:05.611
A3T #1 Oriola of Sunred with a Seat Leon Supercopa (Monje Jr, Monje, Oriola) Time: 2:02.290
A2 #46 Oestreich of Schirra-Motoring with a Mini JCW (von Bohlen, Grohs, Nett) Time: 2:06.273
D1 #54 Braams of 4PET by Las Moras RT with a BMW 123D (Kuipers, vd Mosselaar, Zwienenberg) Time: 2.17.820
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