MP Motorsport-backed Lamborghini scores overall podium on 24H Series debut
The Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3 scored a hard-earned outright runner-up spot in the Hankook 24 Hours of Barcelona last weekend, after a tigering performance from drivers Mark Poole, Richard Abra, Joe Osborne and Jeroen Bleekemolen. This was a sweet return to the event for Poole and Abra, who had led the event in 2013 in their Barwell-run Aston Martin Vantage only for the car to suffer a race-ending accident during the night.
Lamborghini Squadra Corse factory driver Bleekemolen put the MP Motorsport-backed Huracan on pole position during Friday’s qualifying period, just eclipsing the Scuderia Praha Ferrari of Matteo Malucelli by 1/10th of a second in an incredibly exciting session.
The experienced Dutchman then took the start of the race on Saturday, taking the Barwell Lamborghini into a lead that it would keep for most of the opening three hours. With the front-running cars on differing driver stint strategies we stayed in the top three for the first five hours and always on the lead lap. At this stage it was clear there were five very strong contenders for honours out of the 18-car A6 (GT3) class entry, as we battled it out with the Praha Ferrari, Herberth Porsche and Mercedes from HTP Motorsport and Hofor Racing.
Unfortunately our challenge received a serious setback during the sixth hour, when Richard Abra reported that he was having some trouble changing gears on the paddle shift mechanism. The Barwell engineers diagnosed this as an electronic wiring glitch that was affecting the gearshift, and unfortunately we were forced to pit the car for it to be rectified. During this stop we completed a full fuel and tyre service in any case, but the extra time to fix the problem meant we dropped six laps behind the leading car and tumbled down to 15th place overall.
The good news was that we had diagnosed the issue correctly and the problem was cured, leaving us with a major fight back on our hands over the remaining three-quarters of the race! Mark and the team engineers agreed that the only way to go at this stage was ‘Max Attack’! The car never missed a beat from then on, and the drivers all put in superb stints, pushing on hard and staying out of any trouble. This, combined with super slick pit work and great refuelling station calls from the Barwell Motorsport crew, meant that we climbed all the way back up to 2nd place behind the Herberth Porsche come the fall of the chequered flag on Sunday. Mark Poole had been driving superbly all event, and the team gave him the responsibility of bringing the car home over the final hour, which he duly did in style. In addition to his pole position, Bleekemolen also notched up the fastest lap of the race, further underlining what a great performance it had been.