24H Series: Jasmin Preisig takes 12H of Hockenheim victory in TCE
After an action-packed 12H of Hockenheimring, Jasmin Preisig took victory in the TCE category - as TCR saw a double female podium, with Lithuanian Ernesta Globyte finishing third. Having led the whole opening part, Samantha Tan Racing had a troubled Sunday and was P2 in GT4.
The 24H Series is one of those championships whose female presence is a regular and consistent reality. And, women racers in the popular endurance series by CREVENTIC, are far from being quotas: Canadian 23-year old Samantha Tan is contesting her first international campaign in the series this year and came into the German round at Hockenheim on top of the GT4 standings – having also led the overall classify after Mugello.
With four class pole positions out of the four rounds (five, if we were to count also the non.championship Abu Dhabi race), the young driver/owner had a remarkable start to her campaign, but encountered a series of technical misfortunes at Mugello, Paul Ricard and Hockenheim.
Swiss driver Karen Gaillard has also finished on the podium in both the 2021 Dubai 24 hours and at Mugello – bringing the small French squad Vortex briefly on top of the GTX classify before being sidelined at Paul Ricard and Hockenheim.
Compatriot Jasmin Preisig is also among the very fast drivers constantly aiming for class victory in the TCR class: together with reigning champions Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing, Preisig was second at the Dubai season opener in the #112 entry and couldn't unfortunately take the start at Mugello due to a monumental crash by one of her co-drivers in practice.
Preisig – who is also competing in a parallel program in the German NLS series at the Nurburgring – missed the 12H of Paul Ricard, before switching to the championship leading crew in the #1 VW Golf sister car.
Expert Dutchwoman Sandra van der Sloot entered the Mugello race in a JDRacing BMW in TCX, but after a class pole position, the team retired due to a never ending streak of technical troubles.
In the full-season entry #58 MP Racing Mercedes AMG GT3, Corinna Gostner was joined by her well-known sister Manuela – a two-time Le Mans 24H finisher, a podium scorer in the European Le Mans Series and current WEC driver – at the 12H of Mugello.
Corinna, who is sharing the car with her father Thomas and brother David, is relatively new to endurance racing, having moved her first steps in motor racing in the Ferrari Challenge one-make series. The Gostner family is thus aiming at acquiring more experience in the challenging environment of endurance racing with their first full-time entry in the 24H Series.
At Hockenheim, fourth round of the 2021 season, Lithuanian racer Ernesta Globyte – a respected rally and touring car driver in the Baltic area – also joined the grid for her first entry in the championship since a one-off in 2019 for team GSR Motorsport (TCR).
Tan-Miller-Hull-Wittmer claimed their fifth back-to-back pole position in GT4 this year and Jon Miller got behind the wheel of the ##438 BMW M4 GT4 for the first stint of the 12H of Hockenheimring for Samantha Tan Racing.
Preisig-Kletzer-Heyerdahl put the #1 Autorama Motorsport VW Golf GTI in fourth place in TCE – third in TCR – with the sister car slotting in second behind Colin White's CWS Engineering Ginetta taking TCE pole. Globyte and the all-Lithuanian squad were fifth in TCE, while the Gostner's family bright green Mercedes took the start from P10 overall and ninth in GT3, after a remarkable qualifying performance by the #725 Reiter Engineering KTM X-Bow that put Pronk-Kox-Retera in ninth overall.
The pole-sitting #11 MiddleCap by Scuderia Praha Ferrari of Vyboh-Kral-Waszek led the field from the #34 Car Collection Motorsport Audi driven by Edelhoff-Grimm-Edelhoff and the #10 Leipert Motorsport Lamborghini of Leitch-Cooke-Leib-Morris.
Among the great protagonists of the previous rounds, the two Porsche 911 GT3 R of Precote Herberth Motorsport, this time bringing to Hockenheim a Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo. They would clinch sixth place after qualifying.
Right at the beginning of the first lap, David Gostner went off at the hairpin and dropped to 20th place. The GT4 PROSport Racing Aston Martin of Nico Verdonck also hit early trouble and was back into the garage for 5 laps due to an overheating front-left brake disc. The #401 entry had already suffered an accident on qualifying that left them P21 among the GT field.
If pro driver Josef Kral initially pulled away in the #11 Ferrari, it was Manuel Lauck in the Haegeli T2 Racing Porsche to move into second place, at the team's only second appearance in the championship.
The TCE leading Ginetta also was off on the opening lap, leaving the way to the TCR Audi of Perrin-Detry-Wieninger and the two Autorama Motorsport VW Golf.
Samantha Tan and Jasmin Preisig started their first shifts of the race after the first round of driver changes: the Canadian had a really solid run and held a comfortable P1 in class, just as Preisig climbed the order and reached third position in class, having taken over in fifth. TCE was led by the #118 AC Motorsport Audi RS3 LMS of Stéphane Perrin/Mathieu Detry/Stefan Wieninger.
The #725 Reiter Engineering KTM had a rough start and pulled into the pits with engine troubles that would cost the team several laps.
The first Code-60 of the race was deployed when the leading 911 class Molitor #989 Porsche hit the wall hard at the exit of Turn 1. This mixed up the positions in the lead as well, with the #18 Rutronik Audi jumping into the P1 overall after a shorter pitstop. A slow stop made things harder for the MiddleCap by Scuderia Praha Ferrari, but the Czech squad charged back and continued to battle with the #66 Haegeli by T2 Porsche and the #10 Leipert Lamborghini - which would remain the only three GT3 on the lead lap at the mid-race mark.
In GTX, the #999 Red Camel Porsche also had a remarkable comeback to lead in class after being forced to miss qualifying; a wheel hub issue, though, handed back the first position in class to the #724 Reiter Engineering KTM.
The Gostner family had a very troubled race and, despite showing speed, the green #58 Mercedes was often spotted in the gravel or across the grass runoff areas. In the latter stages of Part 1, David Gostner brought out another Code-60 and the car was brought back to the garage.
Reliability was key throughout the TCE and TCR field: the fast Ginetta lost a wheel and dropped back; leaving the battle for the top spot to the #188 AC Motorsport Audi and the two Autorama Motorsport's VW Golf. A late braking problem for the Audi RS3 LMS allowed Jasmin Preisig to move into the lead with less than 30 minutes left to Part 1.
The Lithuanian outfit GSR Motorsport of Ernesta Globyte also made positions back after running last in TCR at one point. At the end of Saturday's action, they finished fifth in TCE.
After the opening 6 hours and 30 minutes of the race, the MiddleCap Ferrari continued to lead the strong GT3 field and Samantha Tan Racing still enjoyed a 6 lap advantage over the second-placed PRO Sport Aston Martin, despite a tyre puncture.
When the race was freezed on Saturday night, two classes were led by female drivers (GT4 and TCR).
At the restart on Sunday at 14:30 CEST, the #1 Autorama Motorsport driven by Emil Heyerdahl slipped to third, with the sister #112 moving up into first place in TCR.
The #58 Mercedes AMG GT3 of David Gostner was quickly back into the garage after visibly slowing down at the start: the car would not turn another lap for the next 4 hours for repairs.
There was drama up ahead though, with the #11 Middlecap Ferrari receiving a 60 second time penalty for overtaking under Code-60 on the main straight.
The battle for the victory heated up and saw the Leipert Lamborghini swapping positions with the #66 Haegeli T2 Porsche - with also the Rutronik Audi temporarily getting ahead before completing their pitstop. It was then Marc Basseng to reclaim the lead in the #66 Porsche, after an outstanding stint. But it wasn't all lost for the previously dominant #11 Ferrari, as Josef Kral also charged back to fourth.
An unscheduled pit stop for the leading TCR of Rhys Lloyd/Christoph Hurni/Christoph Lenz/Yannick Mettler sent the #112 VW Golf in the garage for gearbox issues.
When they finally rejoined the track, though, the Autorama car came to a halt on track and required the intervention of a Code-60 to be recovered by the marshalls.
Around the same time, the Samantha Tan Racing BMW M4 GT4 made it back to the pits following a brake disc failure. Miller managed to bring the car back and the Canadian crew was impressively quick to fix the problem , but they lost 5 laps to the #401 PRO Sport Aston Martin in GT4 class.
Two hours into Part 2, also the other team featuring a female driver hit trouble: the #105 GSR Motorsport Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR SEQ was caught in an accident with the #920 Stadler Motorsport Porsche at Turn 2. Both cars went back to the garage for repairs.
The Middlecap Ferrari by Scuderia Praha would return into the mix for the overall victory when they pitted under Code-60, as the 9und11Racing Porsche had come to a halt with no fuel. In doing so, Vyboh/Kral/Waszek leapfrogged the competition and regained the top spot – only to drop back behind the Haegeli by T2 Porsche at the next rounds of pit stops.
Samantha Tan had another steady run but, when the #438 BMW had recovered several laps, their hopes were shattered by a bent subframe. It was the end of the Canadian's team running for the day – but they still could claim the points for second place having completed over 60% of the race.
"The team had prepped an amazing car and after the first 6.5 hours, we were 6 laps ahead of 2nd. We finished the day 14th overall and 1st in class." - rounded up Samantha after the race.
"We had our hopes high the next day, but shortly after the second part of the race began, the front left brake rotor exploded. Jon [Miller] got the car back into the garage as quickly as he could, and our team replaced the whole front left brake system in 20 minutes. Unfortunately, we were now 6 laps behind first."
"With sheer determination and drive, we were able to recover 5 laps with our exceptional pit stops and strong pace, putting us within striking distance of 1st in class.
However, it just wasn’t meant to be. With 1.5 hours to go, the rear left subframe failed, and Nick [Wittmer] had to bring the car back into the garage. We retired the car and finished 2nd in class."
In the final hour, the #66 Haegeli by T2 Porsche held off the charging Middlecap Ferrari, crossing the finish line a little over 50 seconds ahead of the Czech team. The #10 Leipert Lamborghini was third across the line, 2 laps down, and preceded the #85 CP Racing Mercedes AMG GT3.
But the real cutting-edge battle was in TCE, with Kletzer-Preisig-Heyerdahl edging the #188 AC Motorsport Audi by 4.3 seconds after 12 hours of racing. It was Preisig's first win in the series this season.
Despite the bumpy race, the #105 GSR Motorsport VW Golf of Ernesta Globyte and co-drivers brought home a third place in TCR - sixth in TCE - in their first 24H Series entry since 2019.
Corinna Gostner was sent out for a final stint once the #58 MP Racing Mercedes AMG GT3 made it back on track with approximately one and a half hour left on the clock. They completed 236 laps and were classified P28 overall, ninth in GT3.
The #401 PRO Sport Aston Martin of Nico Verdonck / Rodrigue Gillion / Kurt Hensen secured victory in GT4 and thus took the class lead after two unfortunate rounds for Samantha Tan Racing.
"Each of these races have been a huge learning experience for us, having never competed in a full endurance race series." - explained Samantha. "Although we’ve been having some bad luck, we will come back stronger and more knowledgeable."
"Making it up to 14th overall in Part 1 and clawing our way back up 5 laps in the last few hours reaffirms the raw talent we have on this team. I have the utmost faith in us and know that we’ll get back up onto that top step together again. We’re looking forward to the 24H Portimão and are hungry for more."
The 24H Series will in fact make its return on track for the 24 Hours of Portimao, Portugal, on 16-18 July.