For the second consecutive race, Bas Koeten Racing walks away with a 1-2 finish in the 24H TCE Series. After winning the 12H Imola six weeks ago with a Cupra run together with LMS Racing, the Dutch outfit emerged victorious in the 24H Portimão despite a late drama.
The long-time leader Cupra TCR #155, entered under the Kawasaki Racing banner and driven by Kristian Jepsen, Jan Sorensen, Kari-Pekka Laaksonen and Antti Buri, was forced to pit and repair a broken shock absorber with just 90 minutes of the race remaining.
Their stop ignited a tense on-track battle for victory with the ‘sister’ NKPP Racing entry #175 of Gijs Bessem, Harry Hilders, Bob Herber and Willem Meijer during the final hour.
In the end, it was Buri who drove the winning car to take the chequered flag having completed 529 laps of the Autódromo do Algarve. The Finn crossed the finishing line with a margin of only 17.5 seconds ahead of Herber.
En-route to victory, the #155 Cupra survived a bizarre incident on the pit straight, moments after the green flag was waved, when it made contact with another car; however it survived the impact.
“I think in many points, especially two seconds after the start, I was worried this wouldn’t happen,” Buri said. “But it was a great teamwork from everyone, and it’s nice to win again.”
This was Buri’s third victory in an endurance race so far this year, after the Nürburgring 24 Hours of and the 12 Hours at Imola.
On its first outing in the 24H TCE Series since the 24H Dubai, the Team Altran Peugeot 308 Racing Cup #908 secured the final spot on the podium despite persistent transmission problems. Thierry Boyer, François Riaux, Michel Derue and Thierry Chkondali shared the French car to finish ahead of their teammates Roman-Blaise-Holgaard-Ventaja in the #308 machine.
The 24H TCE Series’ next round will be the 24H Barcelona on September 8/9.
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