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RESULTS: Golden Ticket Race "24hr GT3 @ Spa-Francorchamps"

Friday, September 06, 2013

The guys gathered to tackle 24hr race around Spa-Francorchamps in the GT3 class. Some guys turned up for some early laps as this was going to be a long race around the 7km circuit. The big question was what car to choose. You had the Mercedes SLS and the Corvette which had an extra 10km/h top speed down the straights but you  had the Ferrari’s and Lambo’s that where quicker with the handling down the back end of the circuit.

Qually:

Michael Palladino showed that if you arrive early and punch out enough laps you are going to post a fast time eventually posting a 2:19:139. Michael Gray close behind with Patrick O’Reilly not far behind him. Hagen Bahnemann was playing it coy by smashing a 2:21:733 to take P3 from O’Reilly but he was having none of it when he slid in a 2:21:263 to take back P3 from Hagen.

Race:

After a couple of restarts the guys got away pretty well considering the low visibility at 11 o’clock at night (virtual race time). The short sprint to La Source then the horse power battle to Eau Rouge then the long run up Kemmel Straight. Lap2 and its Michael Palladino out in front with Jeremy Pernesz in 2nd and Hagen Bahnemann in 3rd.

Lap 8 and its Michael Gray & Pat O’Reilly battling it out for P3. They are neck and neck. With similar qualify times it is very close as tyre wear is not an issue at this stage. Further down the pack, Bahnemann & Adam Gill are sticking together like glue as they tackle the back section and sprint along Blanchimont trying to out brake each other into the chicane. Jeremy Pernesz made some uncharacteristic mistakes by spinning twice in the one lap, comfortably in P2 with a 20 second gap it is soon reduced to under 9 seconds over Pat O’Reilly.

Lap12 and Michael Gray pits for damage to the front. With no front down force he was having trouble getting front end grip.

Dawn has just broken and its Jeremy Pernesz now in P1 with Pat O’Reilly in P2 and Michael Palladino struggling in P3. In 4th its Adam Gill, 5th Hagen Bahnemann, 6th Michael Gray, 7th Rob Cooper, 8th Andy Lardner & Ben Matthews in 9th.

Michael Gray’s cool started to fail which saw him with an earlt retirement on Lap 19. With only 30 minutes remaining Pat o’Reilly is now in P1 with a healthy lead over Palladino and Pernesz as they both decided to pit for tyres and damage. Palladino would soon retire due to sickness. He was struggling through the latter half of the race and could not continue. This left the door open for the others to fight it out for the Golden Ticket and that’s exactly what they did. With Pernesz on a fresh set of rubber he was hunting down O’Reilly who was nursing his car masterfully round the course. He knew that if he was to pit that he would hand over the lead to Pernesz. O’Reilly does a good job but with 5 minutes remaining he makes a crucial mistake and hands the lead over to Pernesz. With Pernesz having a 6 second lead O’Reilly was throwing everything he and his Porsche 997 GTR had to chase down Pernesz for the win. Unfortunately in doing so he spun and Pernesz took the checkered as the victor of the endure event. O’Reilly 2nd and Adam Gill nurses his Porsche home to take 3rd just ahead of Bahnemann.

Congratulations to Jeremy Pernesz who has booked himself into the Grand Final of the Race To Reality competition and a great effort from everyone throughout the 90 minute race to show great driving skills and professionalism.

Results:

 

Place Driver Car Laps Time Fastest lap
1st Jeremy Pernesz Audi R8 LMS 37 90:16.972 2:20.641
2nd Patrick O'Reilly Porsche 997 GT3-R 37 +0:12.082 2:20.082
3rd Adam Gill Porsche 997 GT3-R 37 +0:51.730 2:23.746
4th Hagen Bahnemann Audi R8 LMS 36 + 1 lap 2:24.391
5th Andy Lardner Chevrolet Corvette GT3 35 +2laps 2:23.637
6th Rob Cooper Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 35 +2laps 2:26.317
7th Ben Matthews Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 32 +5laps 2:32.405
8th Michael Palladino Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 26 DNF 2:20.469
9th Michael Gray Audi R8 LMS 18 DNF 2:21.913


By Shane Gilfeather

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