Battling effort closes the 2022 season for 2 Seas Motorsport
A tough battle all weekend for 2 Seas Motorsport saw the Bahraini-British team successfully bring home both cars at the Gulf 12 Hours, signing off the 2022 race calendar. Competing in the fiercely competitive Pro-Am class, the team fought to the very end to achieve a solid result. Sh. Isa Al Khalifa, Martin Kodrić and Hunter Abbott finished 4th in class, and a top-10 finish overall against the world-class Intercontinental GT Challenge field. Teammates James Cottingham, Aaron Walker and Lewis Williamson claimed a class 9th.
As back-to-back reigning champions, the team arrived at the event with a new challenge, entering two cars into the Pro-Am class and looking to score a third successive strong result. However, the team was immediately on the backfoot when both cars were involved in incidents in the early practice sessions, limiting the amount of track time for the drivers. Despite the obstacles, the team worked to have the cars prepared. Rolling out for the practice sessions, both were pushing near the top of the timesheets ahead of a close qualifying period.
Setting the grid for the 12-hour endurance event, class qualifying put the #1 in P6 while the #51 was only slightly behind in P8. Both were inside the top-20 overall.
After an uncharacteristic rainstorm overnight, the race got underway in warm, dry conditions. Hunter and James took the start, holding their respective class positions as the field shook itself out. A punchy opening lap saw multiple position changes, and concluded as two of the leaders made a left-field strategy call by pitting. Hunter and James stuck to their race plans and continued to push, maintaining their class positions. The end of the first hour saw the #1 move into the overall top-10, while James was following close behind.
With the first round of stops, Hunter pitted from 5th in class, making way for Martin, while James ran slightly longer to make the most of the clear track. He moved the #51 Mercedes-AMG GT3 as high as 2nd before pitting to switch for Aaron. Strong stints followed, and the third hour saw the first Full Course Yellow periods as Sh. Isa and Lewis took over.
Just ahead of the 4-hour mark, routine pitstops continued, and the #1 moved into the podium positions for the first time. However, in the other garage, the #51 was forced to return to the pitlane for the first of two prolonged stops due to a suspension issue. The team worked quickly to get the car returned to the circuit, but lost valuable time, dropping down the order.
Working hard to recover the lost time, a cruel second incident would result in further delays to the #51 crew. A brake disc failure for Lewis caused front-end damage to the Mercedes-AMG GT3, including a puncture, with a slow-speed return to the pitlane for further repairs. The substantial repairs were carried out, and the team returned to the field, now well out of contention. Despite the setback, the trio continued to push to the finish-line, successfully completing the challenge in 9th place at the end of 12 hours.
The #1 Mercedes-AMG managed to stay out of trouble in the closing stages and, as the pit strategies played out, stayed firmly in the fight for the podium positions. Pace ebbed and flowed against the competition, and the battle continued in the closing stages before the final pitstop. With less than 45 minutes remaining, one final driver change was carried out, returning to the track with the challenge to close down the final podium position. At the line, Hunter successfully brought the #1 home, 4th in class and inside the overall top-10.
“It is disappointing that we couldn’t sign off the year with a stronger result, but we were in the fight until the end. It was a tough weekend, and we were really unlucky to be on the backfoot with both cars after the opening practice sessions. However, these early challenges really highlighted what this team has come to be about though, all pulling together and almost more determined. The drivers did a great job all weekend, and the team just kept pushing, no matter what was thrown at them. We have been hit with some bad luck this year, and James and Lewis seem to have had most of it, unfortunately, but we will build on the year and come back stronger next season.”
Nick Cristofaro, 2 Seas Motorsport co-owner