2 Seas McLaren Takes Dominant Victory in Bahrain

Photo: 2 Seas Motorsport

Ben Barnicoat, Isa Bin Abdulla Al-Khalifa and Martin Kodric produced a dominant display in part two of the Gulf 12 Hours to win for McLaren outfit 2 Seas Motorsport.

The drivers of the No. 33 McLaren 720S GT3 ran almost unopposed in the second six-hour bout of running, with Barnicoat ultimately taking the checkered flag one lap ahead of the second-placed Dinamic Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 R.

Barnicoat’s recovery drive to lead at the end of the first six hours set the 2 Seas McLaren on pole for the second-half getaway, along with three other cars on the lead lap.

The British driver consolidated his grid advantage while multiple Grand Prix motorcycling world champion Valentino Rossi charged from fifth to second on-track, although the Monster VR46 Kessel driver was running a lap down to three of the cars that he passed.

2 Seas then commanded the next six hours, with Kodric putting the Anglo-Bahraini team one lap clear of the field at the end of the second half’s second hour.

A trouble-free run from there ended in McLaren’s first Gulf 12 Hours victory, as well as the first endurance race win for the 2 Seas squad which made its GT debut last year.

It also made up for McLaren’s disappointment of missing out on victory in the 2018 Gulf 12 Hours held at Yas Marina Circuit, where a suspension issue prevented a 720S GT3 win on the car’s competition debut.

Second-place finishers Monaco, Roberto Pampanini and Mauro Calamia scooped Pro-Am class honors in their Dinamic Porsche, which underwent a gearbox change during the two-hour mid-race interval.

Callum MacLeod, Ian Loggie and Chris Froggatt were third in Ram Racing’s Pro-Am Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo.

The Ram car was passed by the Dinamic Porsche in the early stages of the second half, while the margin between the two cars gradually increased to cover more than a lap. 

MotoGP legend Rossi and his fellow motorcycle racer Luca Marini, along with their co-driver Alessio Salucci, finished fourth overall and third in the Pro-Am bracket.

Despite Rossi’s excellent handling of the restart, the Monster VR46 Kessel Ferrari crew couldn’t manage to fight back onto the lead lap.

Last year’s Moto2 runner-up Marini ultimately crossed the line two laps adrift of the winner and just under two minutes behind the Ram Racing entry.

Team Parker Racing completed the top-five with its Bentley Continental GT3 driven by Andy Meyrick, Derek Pierce and Euan McKay.

The Bentley started the second half in fourth, but it quickly fell away when McKay was forced to serve a penalty for a drive time violation during the first six hours.

McKay initially dropped to sixth but made up a position by out-braking Kessel Racing Ferrari driver Francesco Zollo into the Turn 1 right-hander.

Zollo, David Fumanelli, Murat Cuhadaroglu and Emanuele Maria Tabacchi remained in sixth until the end, while their teammates Nicola Cadei, Marco Frezza, Leonardo Maria Del Vecchio and Alessandro Cutrera ended up seventh.

Two McLaren entries, including the other 2 Seas Motorsport car, didn’t take part in the second half of the race after experiencing trouble during the opening phase.

The 2 Seas machine of Lewis Williamson, Dylan Pereira and former IndyCar racer Ed Jones only completed 26 laps before retiring with an engine issue, while braking problems forced Optimum Motorsport to park its Pro-Am McLaren after 75 laps.

GT4 category honors went to the drivers of the Scuderia Villorba Corse Mercedes-AMG.

Benedetto Strignano, Jean Luc D’Auria, Piero Randazzo and Michele Camarlinghi won by a margin of 16 laps over the SVC Sport Management Maserati MC GT4.

Optimum led at the halfway mark but Lars Dahmann pitted shortly after the restart with mechanical problems that persisted throughout the rest of the event.

The SVC Maserati also battled problems in the form of suspension damage stemming from contact with the tire barriers in the early stages.

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