24 Hour Endurance Race on the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona held in 28-degree Spanish heat. Little wonder, then, that a quarter of the field entered for the second round of the 24H Series failed to make the finish of this year’s race in the Spanish metropolis. The extreme conditions taxed not only the nerves of all competing teams, but pushed the cars especially prepared for the marathon event to the absolute limit. Fact: making the finish of this 24 Hour Race – regardless of overall position – is victory in itself. Crews achieving top positions in the overall classification are thus entitled to a double pat on the back.
Besaplast Racing Team therefore had every reason for double happiness after the team celebrated another class victory in Barcelona. Having achieved the feat in January’s 24 Hour Race in Dubai, the driver quartet consisting of Franjo Kovac, Fredrik Lestrup, Thomas Tekaat and Ralf Eisenreich drove faultlessly to yet another class victory in the Catalan capital with their modified MINI Cooper S, in the process beating 17 other entries in the most hotly contested class in the event. That was, though, only half the story: After 595 racing laps at average speeds of over 132 km/h, the Besaplast Racing Team entry finished a superb seventh overall.
"We targeted that class victory," admits team principal David Dombek. "We achieved that, but our seventh place overall by far exceeded our expectations." Beside the Besaplast Racing Team MINI Cooper S, four further MINI entries represented the brand, with the MINI entered by SCHIRRA motoring at one stage holding the class lead and occupying a promising tenth place overall. However, a technical issue forced a one-and-half hour pit stop, allowing the Besaplast MINI to assume the class lead. The SCHIRRA MINI eventually finished fifth in class.
The MINI entry of Team Partl Motorsport finished slightly further adrift in seventh, having at one stage also been the best-placed MINI in the race before it was innocently involved in a collision which tipped the car into the gravel traps. A lengthy pit stop, which effectively out it out of the running, followed for the very car which in May had been the sole finisher of the Nürburgring 24 Hours 2012. SCHIRRA motoring’s entry finished an eventual 18th
overall, with the Team Partl Motorsport placing 23rd
overall. The MINI John Cooper Works Coupé Endurance entered by s.i.g. Motorsport was the final MINI finisher in 37th
place overall, with the second, identical s.i.g. Motorsport MINI John Cooper Works Coupé Endurance failing to make the finish.
The next stop in the 24H Series is again Dubai’s round on 11-13 January 2013. The entry list for the 24 Hour Race in the Gulf emirate has yet to be finalised, although Besaplast Racing Team has already expressed an interest in participating. After all, the opportunity of scoring a third consecutive class victory in the series is extremely tempting. Further up-to-date information on preparations for the next 24 Hour Race is available on Facebook.com/MINImotorsport and Twitter.com/MINImotorsport.
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