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HAAS RT Leads 12H Mugello at Halfway Point

Audi locks out top four after six hours of racing at Mugello…

Photo: 24H Series

HAAS RT held the lead in the Hankook 12H Mugello at the halfway point, leading an Audi 1-2 ahead of Sainteloc Junior Team.

The Antiguan-flagged, Belgian-based outfit and its No. 21 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II piloted by Stephane Perrin, Mathieu Detry and Frederic Vervisch took the checkered flag 34.9 seconds ahead of the Sainteloc pairing of Erwan Bastard and Paul Evrard after six hours of racing was completed.

It marks the first time the upstart squad held the lead in a Hankook 24H Series event, having only debuted at the Dubai season opener in January.

The team captured first place when the No. 85 CP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo of Charles Putman made heavy contact with the barriers at Turn 10 after it had been leading the race at the time. Putman was able to walk away from the accident.

After briefly relinquishing the lead to Sainteloc, HAAS RT managed to reclaim it a mere ten minutes before the overnight neutralization when the French squad pitted for fuel.

Audi teams dominated the top five, with the first four positions made up by cars from the Ingolstadt manufacturer.

Behind HAAS RT and Sainteloc, the pair of Land Motorsport Audis occupied third and fourth place. The No. 34 car of Johannes Kirchhoff, Ingo Vogler and Tim Vogler sat 22 seconds ahead of the sister Audi piloted by Stefan Wieninger, Tim Müller  and Christopher Mies.

Mies was an early race leader, but the No. 55 car has since dropped back after incurring a 60-second for overtaking another car under Code 60.

The No. 11 HOFOR-RACING Mercedes of Michael Kroll, Chantal Prinz, Alexander Prinz and Carsten Tilke completed the top five, ahead of the No. 27 Heart of Racing by SPS car driven by Ian James, Roman de Angelis and Gray Newell.

In addition to CP Racing, several notable entries encountered issues in the opening six hours of the contest.

After starting from pole position, the No. 91 Herberth Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 R retired due to a gearbox failure after 23 laps, while the No. 8 Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 of L.M.D.V., Alessandro Cutrera, Marco Talarico, Marco Frezza and David Fumanelli was classified 21st after it made contact with the barrier at Turn 3 after three hours.

The No. 88 Akkodis ASP Mercedes, meanwhile, sits four laps down after radio troubles caused it to pit twice and then incurred a penalty for speeding in the pitlane.

In GT4, all three main class contenders ran into trouble before the opening half of the race was completed.

The No. 403 Atlas BX Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT4 of Steven Cho, Roelof Bruins and Jongkyum Kim held a considerable lead when the car’s left rear wheel came loose on the final lap.

Simpson Motorsport’s No. 438 BMW M4 GT4 driven by David Holloway, Carl Cavers and Vasily Vladykin came to a halt on pit exit with just over an hour to go, while the No. 416 Buggyra Racing Mercedes lost time early on due to a precautionary brake change.

The Hankook 12H Mugello will return to action Sunday at 9 a.m. local time (4 a.m. ET).

RESULTS: Hankook 12H Mugello Part I

Davey Euwema is Sportscar365's European Editor. Based in The Netherlands, Euwema covers the FIA World Endurance Championship, European Le Mans Series and Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS, among other series.

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