Free Practice just has finished
The first open session of the 2012 Barcelona 24 Hours has now finished. The No. 3 Lapidus Racing McLaren MP4-12C has emerged as a dominant force for the race, ending with a time of 1:54.501, nearly three seconds better than the nearest competitor.
Phil Quaife opened the period with a quite quick lap in the McLaren, but within ten minutes that mark was in jeopardy by a fine set of laps coming from Alex van ‘t Hoff. He is a late driving entry for the No. 14 Renault Megane Trophy. It is one of two such Silhouette cars entered by Las Moras Racing Team by Equipe Verschuur. The other car, the No. 12 of Ronald Morien, was only fractionally slower than his stablemate. Richard Kressner then took over the wheel of the No. 14 Renault and continued to improve the team’s times, but was not able to catch the McLaren. The Renaults thus lead the SP2 class, devoted to Endurance Specials, while the McLaren heads A6, for GT production cars. While Quaife was the early leader, the car became even quicker later in the session when Klaas Hummel took over.
During the session the Renaults were briefly split by another A6 entry, the No. 4 Russian Bears Motorsport Ferrari F458 Italia GT3. Followers of the European GT3 will recognize this team as regulars in that series. Many of the drivers and crew are here as well, although this particular Ferrari is being overseen by a special Spanish branch of the team. Dmitry Samorukov was their fast driver this afternoon.
Nine cars broke the two-minute mark during this opening 60-minute session. About half of the entrants did participate in a private test session held yesterday. Unfortunately, we lost one car then when Julien Menard crashed the No. 8 MIG Racing Porsche. The car was damaged extensively, but fortunately Menard was not hurt.
There are a number of local Spanish teams present, or to put more properly, several Catalan teams—this region being a proud semi-autonomous part of this wonderful country. Pepe Oriola flew the red and yellow striped flag of Catalonia on the No. 1 Sunred Seat Leon Supercopa that was the quickest of the locals and leads the A3T class. Such was Oriola’s pace that he was able to hold off the ostensibly faster Porsche of Robert Matot (No. 6 SpeedLover 997 GT3 Cup entry)
A little bit further back, Joachim Kiesch was impressive in the rumbling V8-powered Chevrolet Corvette of the Guttroff Motorsport squad. Somewhat surprisingly, only 43 of the 51 entries recorded a flying lap time during the free session period. We will try to find out all the reasons for non-participation. Meanwhile, the cars are lining for the
all-important 120-minute qualifying period to set the grid for tomorrow’s race.
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