Dubai (14 January, 2022) – MS7 by WRT is the fourth different overall leader in five hours in what is fast becoming a close fight for victory at the Hankook 2022 Hankook 24H DUBAI.
The MS7 by WRT Audi R8 LMS GT3 (#7, Mohammed Saud Fahad Al Saud / Axcil Jefferies / Dries Vanthoor / Christopher Mies / Thomas Neubauer) had started from pole position this afternoon, but a succession of early Code 60 caution periods and a decision to pit early for fuel, meant the Saudi Arabian- Belgian collaboration had already slipped out of the top 10 after the first 15 minutes. Deft pit stop strategy thereafter though means MS7 by WRT, a former podium finisher at the Hankook 24H DUBAI, is now back in the lead after five hours, albeit by just over 13 seconds from the sister WRT Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo (#31, Benjamin Goethe / Arnold Robin / Maxime Robin / Jean- Baptiste Simmenauer / Frédéric Vervisch).
The Al Manar Racing by HRT Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#777, Al Faisal Al Zubair / Indy Dontje / Luca Stolz / Martin Konrad) is just over 90 seconds further adrift in 3rd, aptly, where the Oman team started the race.
Behind the top three, the DINAMIC MOTORSPORT Porsche 991 GT3 R (#67, Roberto Pampanini / Mauro Calamia / Stefano Monaco / Matteo Cairoli) currently holds 4th having led outright after the first hour. Ironically, on the cusp of the fifth hour, the Italian team’s sister entry (#54, Stanislav Minsky / Marvin Dienst / Murad Sultanov / Marco Seefried / Klaus Bachler) brought out the event’s latest Code 60 moments before the fourth hour ticked by after making heavy contact with the tyre barriers at turn 16.
The CP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#85, Charles Putman / Charles Espenlaub / Philip Quaife / Shane Lewis), leader of the event outright after two hours thanks to deft pit strategy, rounds out the top five just ahead of the Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3 (#77, Adrian Amstutz / Rolf Ineichen / Mirko Bortolotti / Rik Breukers). The former is the current leader of GT3-Am, while the latter had led more laps than any other competitor bar WRT after five hours. The Abu Dhabi Racing by HRT Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo (#4, Hubert Haupt / Khaled Al Qubaisi / Raffaele Marciello / Manuel Metzger), for which three-time event winners Khaled Al Qubaisi and Hubert Haupt are competing this weekend, currently lies 7th after four hours, while the SunEnergy1 by SPS automotive performance Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#75, Kenny Habul / Mikaël Grenier / Maro Engel / Jules Gounon) is running 8th overall.
The ST Racing BMW M4 GT3 (#1, Samantha Tan / Bryson Morris / Anthony Lazzaro / Harry Gottsacker / Tyler Maxson), which leads the GT3 PRO-AM class and entered the event as the reigning Overall GT Teams’ champion sits 9th ahead of the SPS automotive performance Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#20, Valentin Pierburg / George Kurtz / John Loggie / Reema Juffali), for whom Saudi Arabia’s first female racing driver has entered her first 24-hour race. The Mercedes is also the 2nd highest placed GT3-AM runner with the PROsport Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 (#39, Maxime Dumarey / Guillaume Dumarey / Jean Glorieux / Simon Balcaen) not too far behind.
The Team Joos Sportwagentechnik Porsche 911 GT3 R (#27, Jannes Fittje / Michael Joos / Friedel Bleifuss / Steffen Görig) and the DUWO Racing by Herberth Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 R (#93, Andrey Mukovoz / Stanislav Sidoruk / Sergey Peregudov / Dylan Pereira) round out the GT3-PRO/AM top three in 11th and 14th place overall respectively.
Team GP-Elite has held a 1-2 in the 992-PRO category since the second hour, though the 992-generation Porsche GT3 Cups are split by just less than two minutes after five hours. The RABDAN Motorsport by ID Racing / Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (#977, Saif Alameri / Fahad Alzaabi / Helal Almazrouei / Salem Alketbi / Saeed Almheir), the all-Emirati team racing at the Hankook 24H
DUBAI for the first time since its launch in Abu Dhabi last month, currently holds third in-class at its home event.
Red Ant Racing (#903, Ayrton Redant / Pieter Ooms / Glenn van Parijs / Yannick Redant) holds the top spot in 991 after mechanical woes brought former leader Willi Motorsport by Ebimotors Porsche (#955, Fabrizio Broggi / Sergiu Nicolae / Sabino de Castro) to a halt at the final turn. The Romanian- Italian team’s delay means the NKPP Racing by Bas Koeten Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (#991, Gijs Bessem / Harry Hilders / Bob Herber / Daan Meijer) is now 2nd in-class.
Ironically, across in 992-AM, the sister Red Ant Racing Porsche ‘992’ GT3 Cup (#904, Philippe Wils / Kurt Hensen / Luc Vanderfeesten / Tom Boonen) is sandwiched between the HRT Performance Porsches, with the German team’s #929 entry (Henric Skoog / Patrik Skoog / Emil Persson / Gustav Bergström) two places ahead of the sister #930 Porsche (JM Littman / Holger Harmsen / Nikolai Gadetskii / Stefan Aust).
Much like the frontrunners, the lead has continued to repeatedly switch hands in the GTX class, with long-time leading Leipert Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo (#710, Gerhard Watzinger / Gregg Gorski / Erik Davis / Alban Varutti / Fidel Leib) trailing the PK Carsport Audi R8 LMS GT2 (#704, Peter Guelinckx / Bert Longin / Stienes Longin / Stijn Lowette) by a miniscule three-tenths of a second. Following a suspected suspension issue that befell Vortex V8, the razoon-more than racing KTM X-BOW GTX (#714, Andreas Höfler / Robert Schiftner / Daniel Drexel / Kevin Raith / Dominik Olbert) now holds the final spot on the provisional class rostrum.
Dubai’s Dragon Racing (#408, Roald Goethe / Oliver Goethe / Stuart Hall / Jordan Grogor) leads a Mercedes-AMG GT4 1-2 thus far in GT4 ahead of South Korea’s AtlasBX Motorsports (#403, Steven Cho / Roelof Bruins / Jong Kyum Kim / Yong Hyeok Yang), both of which have previous class wins to their name in Dubai. Further back, the Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 (#423, Gray Newell / Ian James / Roman De Angelis / Alex Riberas) has made sterling progress to climb from 8th in-class after the first hour to 3rd.
The AC Motorsport Audi RS3 LMS (#188, Stephane Perrin / Mathieu Detry / Miklas Born / Yannick Mettler) has stolen a temporary march in TCE and now leads the division outright by two laps after five hours. Victory is far from a foregone conclusion though: the BBR CUPRA TCR (#159, Kantadhee Kusiri / Kantasak Kusiri / Anusorn Asiralertsir / Tanart Sathienthirakul / Pasarit Promsombat) and the Audi RS 3 LMS of perennial series rival Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing (#116, Marcus Menden / Marlon Menden /
Peter Posavac / Rob Huff / Alex Morgan), the latter of which led the division outright during the second hour remain well in contention.
Issues though have befallen Autorama Motorsport’s sister #111 Volkswagen (Constantin Kletzer / Jasmin Preisig / Paul Sieljes / Fabian Danz) in the early going, the Golf GTI losing time in the pits to fuel pressure problems.
Despite dropping out of the division lead in the opening stages, the TCE polesitting Les Deux Arbres Ligier JS2 R (#202, Steve Zacchia / Patrick Zacchia / Jack Leconte / Antoine Lepesqueux / Christophe Bouchut) continues to hold the top spot in TCX ahead of the COGEMO/TLRT BMW M2 CS Racing (#255, Antoine Lacoste / Sebastien Morales / Philippe Thirion / André Grammatico) and the Yeeti Racing BMW M2 CS Racing (#208, Domenico Solombrino / Phil Hill / Thomas Krebs / Hanna Zellers). Suspected drivetrain issues meanwhile have caused delays for both the LAMERA GT (#222, Wilfried Merafina / Pierre Couasnon / Grégory Fargier / Franck Dezoteux), which started on the front row, and the sister LAMERA GT LUX (#223, Tommy Rollinger / Sébastien Guignard / Mattéo Mérafina / Thomas Merafina). The lightweight French sports cars are now just one lap apart and running 8th and 7th in-class respectively.
The Hankook 24H DUBAI is scheduled to run uninterrupted throughout the night at the Dubai Autodrome, with the chequered flag set to fly at 15.00 hrs local time tomorrow afternoon. Live streaming of the race in HD quality will be available on our official website and the 24H SERIES YouTube channel. Regular updates will be published on Twitter (@24HSeries), Facebook (24H Series) and Instagram (24H Series). Further information can be found at 24hseries.com.