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Ferrari 1-2 with Eight Hours to Go in Barcelona 24H

No. 4 Scuderia Praha Ferrari continues to lead in Barcelona…

Photo: 24HSeries

Photo: 24HSeries

A Ferrari 1-2 has taken hold at the top of the Barcelona 24 Hours, with eight hours still remaining.

The No. 4 Scuderia Praha 458 Italia GT3 of Peter Kox, Jiri Pisarik, Matteo Malucelli, and Jaromir Jirik has led for over 10 hours at this stage with dawn about two hours away.

Apart from a slow stint early in the event, the car has been reliable. Equally metronomic has been the No. 32 Kessel Racing Ferrari of Nicola Cadei, Jonathan Sicart, Dimitri Enjalbert, Frederic Delpit, and Giacomo Piccini, which is two laps adrift from the leader in second.

Three Mercedes are next, including defending race winners Hofor Racing and two cars from the German Car Collection outfit.

The No. 17 Ruffier Racing Porsche 997 GT3 Cup car of Paul Lafargue, Franck Racinet, Gabriel Abergel, and Patrice Lafargue, which started from the back of the field, runs in fourth. They also lead the all Porsche 997 class.

The SP3 class mixes silhouette style prototypes with faster than GT4 spec production cars.

In the early going it was the domain of three of the BMW badged GC Silhouettes but all have hit troubles and the Italian entered No. 16 Nova Race Ginetta of Matteo Cressoni, Fabio Ghizzi, Salvador Tineo, Luca Magnoni, and Luis Scarpaccio has a three lap edge over its sister Ginetta.

The leader in SP2, another class of specials, is also in the top-10 overall. It is the best placed of three Australian built and entered Ford Focus Silhouettes.

All are within the top 20 overall, a remarkable achievement given that the same three cars plus their mechanics completed the Zolder 24 Hours a week ago. The drivers of the class leading No. 92 MARC car are Hardian Morrall, Michael Benton, Beric Lynton, Kasper Jensen, and James Kaye.

The best placed among the Touring Cars is the A3 class leading No. 46 Besaplast Mini with Fredrik Lestrup at the wheel at the 16-hour mark.

A3T is lead by the No. 25 Monlau Competicion Seat Leon Racer of motorcycle champion Laia Sanz and Francesc Gutierrez. Michel Derue is now at the wheel of the No. 59 Team Altran Peugeot 208 GTi which heads the A5 class.

Their teammates, the No. 58 Peugeot , suffered a broken gearbox and is one of the few retirements at what has been a remarkably clean race, especially given the large and diverse field.

The No. 54 AD Racing Renault Clio leads the small car class, A2. Nearly all of the runners in the diesel class had long delay with the No. 64 SVDP Racing BMW 120d scrapping to remain atop the group.

The Creventic-sanctioned races use the Code 60 system of race neutralization with safety car intervention only used for more significant issues.

There was one such half hour call for lining up behind the safety car when one of the GC cars left a long trail of oil on the racing line.

Apart from that the race has been free of incident. While there have been a total of nine Code 60 sessions, they have each averaged only about three minutes in length.

There have been only five confirmed or assumed retirements thus far.

Recent ones include the No. 5 Simpson Motorsport Audi R8 LMS (gearbox damage from a shunt), the No. 36 Blendini Motorsport BMW M1 Coupe (various electrical issues), the No. 96 Click Vers/Destree Racing Porsche (engine), and the No. 57 Lestrup Racing Mini (fire).

János Wimpffen is an American motorsport historian and journalist, contributing to Sportscar365's international coverage. He is the author of "Time and Two Seats" and numerous other award-winning books documenting the history of sports car racing.

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