Lapidus Racing first overall with the McLarenThe Smile at the End of the Race
The Lapidus Racing McLaren had to fight all the way to the end to be sureof its historic victory in the Barcelona 24 Hours. For the first time since Le Mans in 1995 a McLaren has won a 24-hour race.
The second place Russian Bears Ferrari kept up a torrid pace during the last 90 minutes of the race with Miguel Toril reeling off a string of very fast laps. In the end the deficit proved too great and the McLaren scored a grand and historic victory. Sergey Zlobin took the Ferrari to the line while Adam Christodoulou was given the task for the overall winning McLaren.
There was a fine battle at the end for third overall as well. The ARC Bratislava Porsche was in recovery mode trying to undo the austere penalty that it received for an earlier transgression. To keep the spot Miro Konopka and then Ivo Breukers had to hold off a very hard charge from Joachim Kiesch in the No. 17 Guttroff Corvette. There was plenty of drama in the last hour as the two exchanged the spot twice.
The fifth place overall runner was in a slightly more solid position then those in front as Duncan Huisman wheeled the unique rear-engined Renault Megane Trophy to a solid finish. All five of these cars played a significant role at or near the front of the drama since the start yesterday noon.
By far the biggest drama at end came in the A5 class. Frank Nöhring’s Gambler Racing BMW E46 M3 had been the long time class leader. Then with a half-hour to go the bright green German car had a puncture and slid off course. This allowed the No. 48 Motionsport Lotus (Brian Gower driving) to inherit the class lead and victory. A short time before Gower had displaced Emile Bezemer (No. 26 Sorg BMW Z4) for what both thought was for second place but instead became the battle for the lead. Nöhring ended up third n class. In addition to Nöhring two other cars had ‘offs’ during the closing stages. Followers of this race may recall that the exact same scenario occurred at the end of the 2011 edition—apparently this is a Barcelona tradition!
Returning to the general classification, the finishers from 6th through 9th present accomplishments of a different sort. One of the unique and rewarding features of endurance races is that sometimes an otherwise humble team will join the top ten by sheer determination and efficiency. Usually there are only one or two such cases, but happily we have four such cases today. Kirill Ladygin was in charge of bringing the No. 32 Russian Bears Seat to the flag. Their victory in A3T was the classic tortoise and hare case, with the team rarely being fastest in the class but they certainly had a most trouble free run.
The A2 class has been arguably the most competitive category this weekend. There were 17 starters and at least 10 healthy finishers. Again the winner was not the swiftest, but rather the team that combined a fine balance of good performance and reliability. The winner was the No. 42 Besaplast Mini with Ralf Eisenreich having the honor of driving the last stint. The all-Hungarian Zengö Motorsport had been toiling quietly and modestly all race long and were rewarded with a second in class and eighth place overall finish—György Kontra driving at the end.
Bruno Fretin may be a distant second in the 997 class, but his drive to the end brought lots of smiles from the B2F Competition Porsche team. They had a very trouble free run ending with a ninth overall. Indeed it is the shared sense of achievement by all the surviving teams that marks the end of a 24-hour race. There are lots of hearty hugs, back slaps and hand shakes between rival teams. They have all shared a great adventure. Whether it is a big budget team or a family run operation with tight expenses, they are all sportsmen when it comes to respecting this accomplishment.
Let’s honor just a few of the 40 strong finishers in the 2012 edition of the Catalonian classic. The No. 20 Team Partl Motorsport BMW M3 completed a very powerful run (Hermann Bock at the finish) to dominate the SP3 class. Next up on that class podium was the No. 18 Bonk Motorsport BMW M3 which recovered after an off-course excursion earlier in the morning. Emin Akata drove the finishing stint. Jovial German Dirk Schulz wheeled the all-black No. 21 Cor Euser Racing Lotus Evora to the line—the team overcoming a long delay to cure electrical issues.
Javier Hernández heads the top finishing Spanish squad. His Monlau Competición Clio Cup was second behind the No. 42 Mini in the large and diverse A2 class. Third in A2 was Ralf Völkel in the very steadily driven No. 38 Gloyna Motorsport Renault Clio.
Behind the ARC Bratislava and B2F entries the third place finisher in the all-Porsche 997 class was Daniel Allemann in the No. 5 Car Collection team. The Corvette and the No. 12 Renault Trophy car were 1-2 in the SP2 category with the last step of the class podium occupied by another Silhouette car, the No. 16 GC Automobile with Eric Poitenvineau given the honor of the last stint.
There was joy for the home team when the all-Spanish squad of Black Motorsport won the D1 class with the No. 53 Seat Leon 1.9 TDI. David Lloret was at the wheel at the chequered flag. Next in class was Luc Braams, driving the No. 54 Las Moras Racing BMW 123d. TTC Racing had a very steady run to third in class with Andreas Kempf bringing the Volkswagen Golf diesel across the line. For pure perseverance, the winners in A4 deserve special kudos. Michael Kroll brought the only surviving car in the class to the finish, the No. 27 Küpper Racing BMW E46. To all the finishers of the 2012 Barcelona 24 Hours, our heartiest back slaps, hugs, handshakes, and congratulations.
Thank you all for following us during the 24H BARCELONA. Keep following us for the latest updates of our other 24H Races and see you in 2013!
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