Team Bleekemolen had unfinished business at the Hankook 24 hours of Silverstone following their retirement from the 2016 race after leading it for 19 hours. This year the team’s Seat Leon with Sebastiaan Bleekemolen, Melvin de Groot, Rob Smith and René Steenmetz behind the wheel crossed the line comfortably four laps ahead of their nearest challenger, the Pit Lane Competizioni Audi RS3 LMS.
Last year’s winners also saw their fortunes reversed when the Team ABBA with Rollcentre Racing BMW M3 V8 of Richard Neary, Martin Short, Ian Stinton and Graham Coomes saw their engine blow up three hours into the race. Having fitted a new motor, Stinton took the BMW out for the final lap but, having not completed the mandatory 60% of the winners laps, the car was not classified.
Other casualties included the Red Camel-Jordans.nl SEAT Leon TCR of Rik Breukers, Ivo Breukers, Sjaco Griffioen, and Klaus Kresnik which retired with engine issues on Sunday morning having led the race in the early stages. The Spanish pole sitters Monlau Competicion also started well with Jurgen Smet, Jose Manuel Perez Aicart, Alba Cano Ramirez and Alvaro Bajo piloting the Seat Lean but a gearbox change on Saturday evening put them down the field for a seventh place finish overall.
After an hour long battle for the CUP1 class lead, RMA Track Days – JJ Motorsport BMW M235i Racing Cup of Leyton Clarke, Tony Rodriguez, James Little and Jason Baker dropped down into third position, handing the victory to the QSR BMW M235i Racing Cup of Jimmy de Breucker, Mario Timmers, Rodrigue Gillion and Jeffrey van Hooydonck. The Sorg Rennsport BMW M235i Racing Cup (#151, Paul Abercrombie, William Lucas, Kye Wheatley, Rob Ellice and Sam Tordoff) could secure the second place. With positions six and eight overall, the best two CUP1 cars were the only non-TCR teams in the top ten.
In twelfth place overall, the Moss Motorsport UK BMW E46 M3 of Mike Moss, Chris Murphy, Scot Adam and Barry McMahon won the SP3-GT4 class from the CWS Ginetta G55 GT4 of Colin White, Philippe Salini, Patrik Matthiesen and Martin Thomas and the Intersport racing BMW M3 CSL of Kevin Clarke, Adam Hayes, Paul Black and Ryan Lindsay. Both of the BMWs had been moved from the A3 class to the SP3-GT4 field during the race, much to the displeasure of Colin White who lost a surefire class win.
The Danes of Team Sally Racing, (Martin Sally Pedersen, Peter Obel, Mads Christensen and Steffan Jusjong) took the win in the A2 class in their Renault Clio Cup III. In addition, 13th place overall was a respectable achievement for the small Danish squad. The Area MS/Owens Endurance Honda Civic Jack Fabby, Carl Swift, David Vincent and Mark Harris came home second, seven laps down.
The A3 class winner’s race took a bizarre twist. The Synchro Motorsport Honda Civic Type R of Alyn James, Daniel Wheeler and Martin Byford suffered an engine failure on Saturday evening. The mechanics rapidly changed the power plant in less than two hours. With all their rivals sustaining various setbacks as well, the British team were still able to reach the top spot. Second place went to the Vanquish Motorsport Seat Leon Supercopa of Paul Plant, Simon Cresswell, Chris Yarwood and JM Littman, who had to deal with damper issues on Sunday morning.
The Cor Euser Racing BMW M3 of James Briody, Peter Klutt, Cor Euser, Maarten Mus and John Farano was classified third in class despite not taking the chequered flag due to a broken differential.
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