The Mercedes AMG GT3 IDEC SPORT shone at the Barcelona 24-hour race, with Patrice Lafargue, Dimitri Enjalbert and Marvin Klein finishing in third position. The Porsche #75 was forced to retire with engine problems.
The penultimate event of the 2018 24-Hour Race season went well for the Mercedes #17 IDEC SPORT with Patrice Lafargue, Dimitri Enjalbert and Marvin Klein improving their position throughout a hotly contested race. Marvin Klein, who replaced Paul Lafargue also made it to the podium in the A6 pro category on his arrival at IDEC SPORT.
The trials went well for the crew in the #17, while in the Porsche, things were more complicated. #75 benefited from a new engine that Romain Vozniak had to run in. The many hours spent during the trial session enabled the drivers to find their feet on the 4.655 km circuit in Catalonia. During the qualifiers, a water pump problem prevented Romain Vozniak from completing more than one lap, but he improved on that time once the problem was overcome. The Mercedes AMG was ranked on the fifth line of the grid while the Porsche was back in 18th place, but second in the 991 Cup category.
“In spite of the water pump belt problem, we worked on the set up, but the problems continued. We redid the flooring and realised there was a huge gap, so the balance was lost,” explained Romain Vozniak. “After that everyone drove well through the night. We had a little rain, which was no bad thing, as that allowed us to be ready for the race.”
The professional driver of the Mercedes, Dimitri Enjalbert, was given the task of starting. Stéphane Adler took the wheel of the Porsche. Both IDEC SPORT cars got off to a good start and dealt with the other cars on the track. After forty minutes of racing, #17 was already in fourth place. Stéphane Adler managed to move up one place. The decision not to be too aggressive seemed to be paying off. The drivers took care of the tyres and mechanics and made sure they did not get on the rumble strip too often.
After almost ten hours of driving, Franck Michaly announced by radio that there was a noise coming from the engine. “In spite of what Franck told us, we couldn’t hear anything when he came into the pits. When I set off for my stint, some white smoke was coming out,” said a disappointed Romain Vozniak. In car racing, that is nothing to do with the Vatican. The right cylinder head gave up the ghost on the Porsche #75. David Ambramczyk, Stéphane Adler, Christophe Cresp, Franck Michaly and Romain Vozniak had to throw in the towel. 991 came back into the garage and would not set off again. “That’s what happens in car racing, but it’s frustrating. The title was up for grabs and now we have practically no chance of getting it.”
The IDEC SPORT quintet did not complete 60% of the race so no points were awarded. Now 17 points behind the leaders, there is almost zero possibility of winning the title in Spa.
As for the A6-pro category, the handovers went well. Marvin Klein, Dimitri Enjalbert and Patrice Lafargue dealt well with the red flags and avoided the traps. This enabled the IDEC SPORT trio to cross the finish line in third place. Patrice Lafargue and Dimitri Enjalbert got their third podium place of the season in just five races.
The final event in the GT 24h Series will take place in Spa Francorchamps on 12th and 13th October with a twelve-hour race.