Peter Kox led the No. 4 Scuderia Praha Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 across the line to take a convincing seven-lap victory in the Barcelona 24 Hours.
The team of Kox, Matteo Malucelli, Jiri Pisarik, and Jaromir Jirik recorded a Czechmate that started from winning the pole and dominating more than half of the event. But they had to beat back an early challenge from the defending winners of the race, the No.1 Hofor Racing Mercedes.
It was a Ferrari 1-2 with the similar 458 Italia GT3 of Kessel Racing taking the runner-up spot, led across the finish line by Jonathan Sicart. The team had to take on repairs after an early race off-course excursion, which precluded them from fighting for the lead.
It marked the first time in more than a decade that Ferraris swept the top two spots overall in a 24-hour race, the last coming in the 2004 Spa 24 Hours.
After a relatively uneventful 18 hours of racing, the pre-dawn hours came with a bang as a four-car accident brought out the event’s second safety car intervention.
Three of the cars involved were retired on the spot, including the No. 43 Renault Clio of Jamie Font, who became fully airborne. Nobody was injured.
Following the “big one” the race resettled into its previous pattern.
There was an exchange in the A5 class leadership with about two hours remaining when the No. 35 Walkenhorst BMW M235i passed the No.59 Team Altran Peugeot although the original was later reestablished. Otherwise all the positions were set for a run to the flag.
The leading Ferrari, with Jirik aboard, concluded a cautious stint on worn tires. Kox took over the 458 for run to the end, with a hefty six-lap lead.
Three of the class winners in addition to the A6 class Ferrari made it into the top ten overall.
The represented the SP3, SP2, and 997 groups. Respectively, they are the No. 16 Nova Race Ginetta G50, the lone surviving MARC Focus taking SP2, and the all Porshe GT3 Cup category was won the No. 17 Ruffier Racing entry that rose from last on the grid.
The A5 class winning Altran Peugeot, as well as the A3T and A3 top finishers were all within the top 20 overall.
The only two driver car in the field, the No. 25 Monlau Seat, took A3T class honors.
Thanks to accident related delays to the Besaplast Mini, the A3 class victory was inherited by the very worthy No. 44 Peugeot RCZ of the French team, Nicolas Milan Competition.
Crashes hit the A2 class particularly hard and the last half of the race saw a tussle between two Danish teams. In the end the No. 54 AD Racing Renault Clio triumphed. SVDP Racing ran nearly unopposed for a good two-thirds of the race in capturing the D1 class with their No. 64 BMW 120d.
RESULTS: Barcelona 24 Hours