RACE REPORT 24H BARCELONA 2014MONTMELÓ (7 September, 2014) – Pole position, victory and the fastest race lap: for the Scuderia Praha, the 24H BARCELONA was an undisputed success. With the Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 (#4, Písarík/Jirík/Malucelli/Kox), the team racked up a total of 653 laps of the 4.655 kilometres long Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya, equalling a total of 3,039.715 kilometres. “The car ran like the proverbial clockwork. We didn’t have any problem throughout the race. I am really happy,” said Dutch driver Peter Kox, who drove the car across the finish line to take the chequered flag just after noon on Sunday. The Kessel Racing Ferrari (#32, Sicart/Cadei/Piccini/Delpit/Enjalbert) completed the 1-2 for the iconic Italian sports car brand. Third place went to Swiss team, Hofor Racing, with its Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 (#1, M. Kroll/Eggimann/Heyer/Frankenhout/C. Kroll), the winners of last year’s 24H BARCELONA adding another podium finish to their track record.
Less than four months ago, there was heartbreak for the Scuderia Praha during the inaugural Hankook 12H ZANDVOORT. The team’s Ferrari became involved in a collision with another competitor while comfortably in the lead, meaning that all the teams hopes for victory were blown. However, the Scuderia Praha finally came good in this weekend’s 24H BARCELONA. The car moved up into first place of the 65 car field during the fifth hour of the race and hold on to this position for the remaining 19 hours, gradually building up a margin of seven laps with consistently fast lap times, quick pit stops and a trouble-free race. “A fantastic result, I am delighted,” said Jirí Písarík, who got his first experience of driving at night during the 24H BARCELONA. With 1:51.404 minutes, Italian driver Matteo Malucelli set the fastest lap time of the race early on Sunday morning.
With a slightly less-balanced driver line-up, Kessel Racing came second with its Ferrari 458 Italia, followed by the two Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3s of Hofor Racing in third place and Car Collection Motorsport (#3, Edelhoff/Kirchhoff/Grimm/Vogler/Dahlmo) in fourth. The Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW Z4 GT3 (#24, Oeverhaus/Richter/Aust/Posavac) led the race late on Saturday afternoon and ran in the top three for most of the evening, but dropped back after a collision and the subsequent repair work in the pits in the eleventh hour. The German team eventually finished fifth.
There was a great success for the Italian Nova Race team. Classified as high as sixth overall, the team won the SP3 class with its Ginetta G50 GT4 (#16, Magnoni/Scarpaccio/Ghizzi/Cressoni/Tineo) while the sister car (#19, Cimadomo/Capelli/Maddalena/Fletcher) completed the 1-2 in the SP3 class in ninth place overall. The MARC Cars Australia team won the SP2 class with its MARC Focus silhouette car (#92, Benton/Kaye/Morrall/Lynton/Jensen), classified seventh overall. Next up was French team, Ruffier Racing, that won the 997 class with its Porsche 997 GT3 (#17, Lafargue/Lafargue/Abergel/Racinet). The French Altran team rounded out the top ten in the overall classification, scoring a fine class win in the hotly-contested A5 class with its Peugeot 208 GTi (#59, Sentis/Rostan/Nury/Derue). The battle in the A5 class was only decided in the final hour of the race, with the Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M235i (#35, Schrey/Akata/Krohn/Hughes) a close second in class.
Spanish team, Monlau Competición, scored a very popular class win with its brand-new SEAT Leon Cup car (#25, Sanz/Gutiérrez), the machine making its 24-hour race debut in the presence of SEAT’s head of motorsport, Jaime Puig. For lady racer Laia Sanz, a multiple motorcycle trial world champion and Dakar rally participant, and her team-mate Francesc Gutiérrez, completing the 24-hour race in hot conditions as a two-driver team only was quite an achievement.
The battle for the A3 class win was only decided in the final hour of the race. On course for victory, the Peugeot RCZ of Danish team HM Motorsport (#45, J.H. Hansen/J.E. Hansen/Hagedorn/Reimerso) came to a halt due to a broken driveshaft with 30 minutes remaining. That allowed French team, Nicolas Milan Compétition, to move up into the lead and take class honours with its Peugeot RCZ (#44, Gibaud/Dauger/Maudet/Antunes). Danish team, AD Racing/Flexlease.eu, won the A2 class with its Renault Clio Cup III (#54, Nykjaer/Engelbrecht/Pedersen/Moller/ Jensen). SVDP Racing from the United Arab Emirates won the D1 diesel class with its BMW E87 120D (#64, Wishart/Vanderpal/Herlaar/Budnik/O’Keefe).