Disappointment in Portugal for Prosport Racing in 24H Series

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Whilst the Aston Martin Racing factory crews were busy racing at the 24 hours of Le Mans Virtual with some degree of success by the end of their twenty four hours, customer racing of the real kind resumed in Portimao, Portugal as Creventic's 24H Series held what was to be the first competitive race meeting in mainland Europe since the start of the global Covid-19 lockdown.

Despite a small entry of just fifteen cars across the five available classes, one of those entries was at least an Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT4 of German based Prosport Racing returning to the series again in 2020 for customer racers Rodrique Gillion and his driver coach Nico Verdonck. There should have been two Aston running but the Team Virage entry was withdrawn before track proceedings began with insufficient attending drivers.

Joined in Portugal by fellow Belgium racer Tom Heeren and late additional Constantin Scholl, all looked to be pretty rosy for the #401 crew having Qualified P1 in class after a close contest with the Mercedes AMG GT4 Parkalgar Team.

Starting at noon the race initially progressed without incident until the pole setting Mercedes AMR GT3 crashed out in spectacular fashion not too long before the Parkalgar Team Mercedes car also hit technical strife and disappeared from the timing sheet with engine issues after just 133laps.

That obviously left the #401 car at the top of the GT4 class but without any direct competition in class but with all endurance races it isn't always your class advisories that you need to look out for.

Just as daylight was beginning to fade and with Gillion back behind the wheel again and with the race having just clocked up nine hours of racing, contact was made with another an as yet unidentified car that caused immediate damage to the rear running gear of the V8 Vantage GT4. Initially stopping out on track at turn 15 before being recovered back to pit lane, the crew immediately went about to identify and repair the apparent seized wheel hub.

As the hours in the garage passed, it became apparent that the orange and white liveried Aston wasn't going to come out and sure enough the car was officially retired during the night.

Leading their class rivals by over 90 laps by the time the car entered pit lane for the final time, the #401 continued to be listed as the winner of the GT4 class - not the result that they wanted but a great result for motor racing in general in this post Covid-19 era of face protection and social distancing - next time guys!!

The Series now moves onto its next round at Monza in July.

Photo credits - 24H Series

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