The Hankook FFF Racing Team could hardly have made a better start to the legendary 24-hour race at the Nürburgring. Under cloudy skies, Marco Mapelli took his seat in the cockpit of the #63 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO in low temperatures. The Italian driver began the 24-hour marathon at exactly 15:30 on the high-end slick Hankook Ventus Race tyres. Mapelli made a very good start, using the optimum potential of the tyres and moving up from 19th on the grid to fifth position inside just 20 minutes, despite the difficult track conditions.
However, the advent of heavy rain on many sections of the 25.378-kilometre circuit in the Eifel put a stop to this fantastic chasing performance. Mapelli had to head for the pits to switch to the wet-weather variant of the Hankook Ventus Race. The increasingly heavy downpour and standing water on the track caused some chaotic scenes throughout the field. Cars were sliding off the circuit, spinning out and colliding. The Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO from the Hankook FFF Racing Team did not emerge unscathed from these events and the pit stop required to repair the damage lasted more than two hours. As so much time had been lost, the team decided not to mount a risky charge during the remainder of the race. Instead, they chose to use the time left to concentrate on intensive set-up testing with the four drivers, Marco Mapelli, Franck Perera, Mirko Bortolotti and Giacomo Altoè.
Manfred Sandbichler, Hankook Motorsport Director Europe: “That is racing. Everyone on the grid at this classic event knows that plenty can happen during a 24-hour race – especially in the Eifel. Starting the race with Marco Mapelli moving up to fifth after that unbelievable chasing performance was just superb. The car and tyres worked perfectly. Unfortunately, the weather scotched all that. It was absolutely the right decision to use the remainder of the race for testing after spending such a long time in the pits. We were able to make the best out of the situation.”
Mirko Bortolotti had already made his mark during Friday’s night-time qualifying session with the Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO. The Lamborghini works driver completed a lap of the combination of Nordschleife and Grand Prix circuit in 8:18.575 minutes to secure the best time of the day.
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