Harold and HTP make history with Bentley
Harold Primat and Bentley Team HTP made history at the 24 Hours of Spa this weekend (July 21-26) by claiming the British manufacturer’s best ever result in Belgium’s iconic sportscar race.
The #84 Continental GT3 Primat shared with Mike Parisy and Vincent Abril finished fifth in the Blancpain Endurance Series’ Pro Cup category behind four works-run cars, and was also the first of four Bentleys entered to take the chequered flag in the 67th edition of GT racing’s greatest prize.
Primat has now finished fourth, fifth and sixth in his three appearances at the race, while today’s achievement also comes hot on the heels of recording another historic landmark for Bentley in May’s Nurburgring 24 Hours.
The Spa result was built on a largely error and problem-free performance, although a couple of circumstances did go against the crew.
Typical Spa weather ensured periods of wet and dry running mixed with fog, and it was in the rain that Parisy took the start from eighth overall on Saturday. An impressive triple stint in the worst of the conditions was unfortunately punctuated by a drive-through penalty for overtaking under yellow flags, the result of a mix-up with the trackside warning lights, which put the car out of position early on.
Harold would suffer a similar fate during one of his stints, while the vagaries of Safety Car timing ensured two laps were also lost while twice waiting at pit exit for the field to file past.
Without those issues there’s every chance the HTP crew might have found themselves on the podium such was the Bentley’s metronomic reliability throughout the race. Indeed, aside from its regular pit-stops the Continental GT3’s servicing bill only ran to a change of brake pads and oil top-up throughout the whole 24 hours.
And it was that level of fault-free running allied to Primat and co’s approach that ultimately helped them finish so strongly amongst a Pro Cup contingent packed with the world’s best GT manufacturers, teams and drivers.
“We’ve had good pace this year so it was nice to show what we can do when we don’t have bad luck,” confirmed a visibly delighted Harold afterwards. “We proved at the Nurburgring that we’re a consistent line-up, and that also played its part today. Two history-making results for Bentley in the longer endurance races is a fantastic achievement. I’m really delighted with the result.
“A lot of the credit has to go to HTP who once again proved themselves when it comes to the level of preparation required to achieve results like we did today. They’re very precise and left no stone unturned. Mike and Vincent both also drove fantastically well, especially Mike at the start in those wet conditions and at the end when he had the bit between his teeth.
“There’s only one round left so at least we can go to Germany with some confidence and a decent result in the bag. And, of course, it couldn’t have come at a better race.”
Primat and Bentley Team HTP travel to the modern Nurburgring GP circuit on September 19/20 for the fifth and final round of this season’s Blancpain Endurance Series.