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Invicta Epilog Brno 6 Hour race

13th October 2012

Race report

A traditional season finale at the Brno circuit was held this weekend at Brno. We can say, we do not remember such a good weather as this time in 2012. In the past common temperatures of under 10 °C, sometime even close to 2°C - preventing several DTM cars from taking part in a race, was replaced with some 15 °C and sunny weather at the start of the race, which is traditionally at 2 PM. It was still fine at the race finish when the track had already been covered by darkness.

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Like last year there were already not DTM cars present so it was up on Grand Tourers to divide the positions on the podium. By far the fastest car in the field was the green Pagani Zonda, the only GT1-like car on the grid. Driven by a owner Herbeck and well known Wolfgang Kaufmann it took an immediate lead and after three laps it led by more than entire start-finish straight over the lone Lamborghini in the race driven by Austrian drivers, of which most notable was the team owner Gottfried Grasser, which raced regularly also in ADAC GT Masters this season. Nobody really expected the Pagani would run problem-less for a longer period of time, not to say winning the race, so despite its early impressive lead, the race was still pretty undecided, especially from the Pagani ran pretty slowly finishing one of its first half-hour lap. It dropped to some 8th position behind the Lambo, several Ferraris and a Porsche of Konopka, the very quick GT3 R, which was however entered for the first 2 hours of the race.

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To make things a bit complicated, only the first two hours of the race were counted towards the Czech National Endurance Championship so the teams were no obliged to run entire distance to score the national points. So what happened in the first two hours after the Pagani was delayed? The Pagani lost less than a half lap and somehow became running in a full speed so at the end of the first hour it was again in the lead, some 14 seconds ahead of the Lamborghini. But a few minutes later, it was pushed into the garage and stayed there for long 30 minutes, actually losing any chance of winning. Further long pit stops and final retirement were still better result than we expected of this fast but very fragile car anyway.

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The Lamborghini then took the lead but at the end of the second hour it was the Konopka Porsche GT3 R that took the honours for leading the race at the 2-hour mark. It had won the National race and turned to the pits in the next lap. This opened the door to fastest of the Ferraris, which along with Touring--based BMW M3 GTRs were most common cars in the field. This Ferrari driven by Czecho-Slovakian drivers Jakubík, Pergl and Vorba started the race third but with the demise of the Pagani, withdrawal of the Porsche and beginning problems of the Lamborghini, appeared to be the main favourite of the race for the final four hours.

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While the Lambo was still third after 2 hours, it dropped to 13th by the middle of the race. At the same time the Pagani was 16th and the leading Ferrari was two laps ahead of another Ferrari entered by K and K Racing and better of the two present Mercedes-Benzes brought here by Austrian G private Racing, which started the race as mid-fielder but moved up due their regularity and reliability, while many of other cars, especially those at the top suffered here and there. By the way, at the grid there were 22 cars, one did not qualify. Not the biggest field but still some 50% more than last year.

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As the final results shows, neither the Lambo nor the Pagani would complete any laps after 3 hours and 2 minutes of the race. The leading Ferrari, which was by the way the only newer 458 Italia in the field of six GT2a nd GT3 Ferraris, increased the lead as the race progress and it was clear that only technical issue or big drivers' mistake might prevent the team from winning the race. In the meantime the Mercedes no.15 moved up to the second place and despite some 4 laps behind, it finished the race second behind the winning Ferrari.

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There was some nice battle for the third position between the Ferrari that was second in the middle of the race and second Konopka/ARC Bratislava Porsche. This was a second team's car in the race, a cheaper and simpler Cup version, which was chosen by the team to complete the entire 6 hour race after withdrawing their faster car that won the national points. Of course it was slower and this was the main reason to have been overtaken by the GT2 Ferrari a few laps before the end of the race despite having more than one lap advantage over the Ferrari one hour before the race finish.

The fifth position went to the second Mercedes-Benz GT3 followed by the trio of BMW M3 GTRs, which also placed on podium in the 3.5-litre class. The only opposition to five starting BMWs in the class was a lone Porsche Cayman driven by ladies. But it last a lot of time during the first half of the race, and despite seeing the finish, it was not classified. There was also a 2-litre class recognized. It had pretty slim field of just 4 cars, one of which had retired even before the national race was ended (Honda S2000). This class was dominated by two Lotus Exiges, one of each retired from the lead, but very close to the end of the race, not to be overtaken by Renault Clio, the only true touring car in the field.

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